I was lucky enough to have a sample of this tea, and it is a fantastic Darjeeling. Or it is a fantastic first flush in my opinion because it exhibits some characteristics that I’m not used to.
As much as I enjoy Darjeelings, I find myself liking summer, autumn, or second flushes the most, especially if they have some spiciness, muscatel qualities, and the allusive cocoa-chocolate notes. First flushes for me are usually very grassy, almost like a herbal spice such as basil which is why I hesitate with them. Though they exhibit floral qualities like an oolong, they are usually more drying which is why I wait for highly recommended ones to come along before I purchase them.
I took the $39 budget as an opportunity to try this one, and unlike other first flushes, this tea has more of a bready, chocolate quality along with the more herby and spicy tones. Smelling the leaves gives me the impression of basil and butter smothered bread, with a few pieces of chocolate covered raisins waiting in the background to cleanse my palette. The taste produces a similar effect, but with a buttery smooth body of a mildly sweet dark chocolate with a heavy herby and spicy aftertaste for a tea sans astringency. That profile persists, and the tea is even better when you eat a chunk of 70% dark chocolate for company. The first time I tried this I did exactly that, and then finished off my decadent experience with a Tawny Port Wine. Yes, I’m a snob and enjoy the hell out of that fact.
I’m not sure that everyone would find the chocolate qualities, but drinking this tea straight would definitely find a sweet and savory profile dried up by the herb spiced aftertaste. It’s a black tea with a black teas sweet body but a first flushes green profile. I would highly recommend a try of this tea, though I think that people newer to tea might not get the same impressions that I do, and I am not sure how a Darjeeling connoisseur would think of it.
Flavors: Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Herbs, Smooth, Spicy