I reviewed an earlier harvest of this tea back around the end of 2016. I think that version was either a 2015 or 2016 production. I greatly enjoyed it then, but at the time, I was not used to autumn flush Darjeeling black teas and had not reached a point where I was fully comfortable identifying subtle aroma and flavor components. Fast forward to the spring of 2018 and I ended up with a free sample pouch of the 2017 version of this tea with a What-Cha order. I then set aside some time at the end of July to try it. I found this more recent production to be more complex and challenging than the earlier version, but of course, I think a lot of that was probably due to me simply being more used to Gopaldhara teas and autumn flush Darjeeling black teas in general.
I prepared this tea in the Western fashion. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I neither rinsed the tea nor attempted any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced subtle aromas of raisin and prune that were underscored by ghostly hints of cocoa. After infusion, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, butter, malt, toast, rose, and Muscatel. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of herbs, straw, malt, butter, cream, toast, lemon zest, Muscatel, orange, rose, dandelion, black cherry, and wood that were balanced by subtler impressions of cocoa, prune, grass, and raisin. The finish was very pleasant, offering lingering impressions of orange, black cherry, Muscatel, dandelion, rose, and toast that were chased by fleeting herbal notes.
Overall, I found this 2017 production to be just as enjoyable as the earlier version of this tea. It was fruitier and more complex, but again, I likely feel that way because I have gotten much better at picking out aromas and flavors over the course of the past two years. Much like the other teas I have tried from the Gopaldhara Estate, this one had a ton to offer, though it was often subtle and hinted at specific impressions more than it actually presented them. I’m sure that experienced autumn flush Darjeeling drinkers would love this tea, though I also think that newcomers to such teas should probably start with some of the more robust and accessible autumn flush black teas. The more of these teas I try the more I concur with the general consensus that the Gopaldhara teas are probably not ideal starting points for beginners.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Dandelion, Dried Fruit, Grass, Herbs, Lemon Zest, Malt, Muscatel, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Straw, Toast, Wood