I’m having a difficult time rating this tea today. It’s…very unusual.
Earl Grey is probably the tea that drew me to tea, years ago…strange but true. Especially strange in light of the fact that I tend to have an aversion to intensely perfumey sorts of teas.
This one combines lapsang souchong and earl grey, and there is definitely no mistaking that fact: you can find both very powerful, very fragrant notes together here.
I’ve read that other people have thought ‘smoked pork’ when they smell lapsang souchong, and I’ve always been a little bit tickled by that; for me, lapsang souchong has always just smelled like a campfire, more pine-like than meat-like.
This is the first time I’ve opened a bag and thought…oh…definitely smoked pork.
The tea does not, thankfully, taste like smoked pork.
I’m sort of reminded of Samovar’s Scarlet Sable, unsurprisingly, but I think I prefer this one. The longer I sip it, the more I’m enjoying the sweet, citrus-floral component. It seems to linger on the palate just as well as the smoked lapsang does, making this tea feel lighter than your average lapsang despite the fact that I think it’s really not, in actuality. It does lack the harsh, acrid tar element that some lapsangs seem to tend toward, but since that’s my least favorite quality of lapsang souchong, I can say I’m pretty glad that it does.
This was definitely not the tea I wanted when my order from Tao of Tea came in, but I was so curious about it that I couldn’t help myself. I’m not sorry that I had some. It’s a strange combination, but it works! Citrus and floral and smoke. Gonna have to say…this tea…is a harlot in a housefire.
A little bit more in-your-face with the flavor than many teas I consider staples, but one of those blends that probably occupies a space that no other tea can wholly occupy.