Another first-flush experience from Vahdam Teas. As others have noted, this one does not have a strong presence of muscatel grape to it, if any. The base of the tea is a woody, nutty body, from which there bounces some buttery, vegetal, and spice notes. The aftertaste maintains the woodiness and nuttiness, but there is substantial floral and fruity presence.
I don’t know how Darjeeling aficionados feel about the lack of the grape leaf/muscatel flavors, but frankly, I welcome it. It is nice to have an experience that is still easily identifiable as first-flush Darjeeling without being a cookie-cutter replica of the standard flavor profile.
This is the first tea I have had where the woodiness is complex, interesting, and tasty – like a good whiskey with good cask influence, or a nice oaky red wine.
A really nice, unique experience that has a great balance of savory and sweet.
Dry leaf – grapeleaf, sassafras, licorice, dried parsley, raw nut, peanut shell. In preheated vessel – roasted nut, wildflower honey, and stewed tart red fruit (red currant, raspberry)
Smell – raw nut, peanut shell, buttery vegetal (asparagus)
Taste – hardwood, raw nut, buttered green vegetables, buttered yeast roll, hints of cinnamon butter, fresh parsley, cilantro, sassafras. Aftertaste of orange flower, gummy fruit, red currant, dried date, and fruit leather.