Okay, I’m back. That work retreat was even worse than I anticipated. It was equal parts exhausting and infuriating. I got back home Tuesday evening, and since then, I have mostly been focused on resting and clearing my head. I spent yesterday finishing a tea I started working my way through a couple days before I left. I started working on my sample of this first thing this morning.
This particular tea is a blended Darjeeling. A lot of commercial Darjeelings are blends (if you’ve ever had a bagged Darjeeling, then you’ve had a blend) and many of them are crafted from leaves picked during multiple flushes. This particular blend, however, is crafted exclusively from first flush leaf material. Basically, Vahdam sourced first flush leaf material from a number of estates and blended it to produce a pleasant and consistent set of aromas and flavors.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf mix produced an herbal, slightly grassy bouquet with a noticeable Muscatel undertone. After infusion, I picked up delicate aromas of grass, straw, Muscatel, flowers, peach, and citrus. In the mouth, I found a delicate mix of straw, grass, herbs, Muscatel, cream, malt, honey, apricot, peach, lemon, and tangerine underscored by a subtle dried flower note. The finish was smooth, offering lingering touches of apricot, peach, grass, citrus, malt, and Muscatel on the back of the throat.
This was an extremely pleasant, approachable blend. Normally, I prefer stronger, muskier aromas and flavors in Darjeelings, but this managed to hit the spot for me. To this point, I have found a lot of first flush Darjeelings to be grassy and herbal, but this blend wisely downplayed these qualities in favor of highlighting the uniquely appealing fruitiness of the best teas from the region. I could definitely see this blend making a great introduction to first flush Darjeelings. If you have had difficulty getting into this particular style of tea, I would recommend giving it a shot.
Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Cream, Flowers, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Muscatel, Peach, Straw