1994 Tasting Notes
This tea is a bit of a mystery.
I found this unopened sample packet in my stash. Todd & Holland describes this as a “semi-black” tea, which to me means maybe darjeeling or oolong. But they seem to describe darjeelings as black tea and also have things they describe as oolongs, so maybe not? I put it in the queue for the untried flavored black tea in my weekend morning ritual.
I steeped according to the directions on the packet. There’s really nothing else to go on in terms of information — nothing on the packet itself, nothing currently on the Todd & Holland site.
The dry leaves look like darjeeling; a bit on the green side, a bit on the long side. Something that looks like orange zest is in among the leaves, which is puzzling. They smell like jasmine and earth.
The steeped tea is light gold in color and clear. It has a lovely, floral smell that doesn’t come across as sprayed on.
It tastes a bit like a jasmine oolong. And I love jasmine, so there’s that. I find this tea a puzzlement because I don’t really know what it is, but it’s pleasant. I wouldn’t say it’s distinctive, though. I’m a pretty tough grader when it comes to jasmine.
Another of my hoarded Simple Leaf packets, newly cracked open.
So this may go to show that Assams aren’t my favorite. I prefer the Amor to this one. Maybe it’s because this one is more Assam-y. Very, very malty (lives up to the name) in the dry leaf aroma, steeped aroma and flavor. It’s a stout flavor, comparable to dark beer in character but not taste. It’s the color of an amber beer and tastes of bread and leaves. :-)
There’s just the tiniest metallic tinge to the aftertaste and a small amount of bitterness. I expected a bit more depth than I got from this. It’s good at what it does, but what it does exists on a narrow plane and I was hoping for something more expansive.
I think I will try lowering the water temp next time. I didn’t read the packet instructions before steeping and the recommendation is a slightly lower temp than boiling.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Metallic
First to write a note on this? Unbelievable.
I tried to fix the picture but I couldn’t. (Why? I tried several different ways and all I can get is more images farther down the page.)
I wasn’t sure I’d like this one from the smell of the dry leaf. It has no sweetness in the dry leaf aroma and a rather ashy fragrance that usually spells dislike for me with lapsangs.
But you can’t judge a book and all that. The aroma of the steeped tea is quite different — sweet, molasses-like, leafy and tree-like, with a lot of depth and surprisingly little smoke. The smoke is really verging on not there at all, except in the aftertaste and fortunately it doesn’t add bitterness to the lingering flavor. The liquor is dark amber with a reddish tinge and clear.
The flavor has a quality that reminds me of black coffee, but not as bitter. The smoke, molasses, and tree are all there in the flavor as well in pretty much the same way they were in the aroma. Thankfully there’s no ash, no meat, and no resin (though if you like those things in a lapsang, I guess that’s not a plus).
I’m torn because I think this is great compared to others I’ve had recently, but that’s because it departs from qualities I associate with lapsang that make me view it as a once in a while thing. If this is the sort of flavor Churchill prized, I can see why he drank lapsang daily.
I haven’t had the Samovar in a long time. I rated that one 90 as well, so I think I should taste it again sometime soon and see if adjustments are warranted.
But it makes it a bit easier to decide which is the next sipdown candidate in project lapsang sipdown. It won’t be this one.
Flavors: Coffee, Molasses, Plants, Smoke
I liked this one more than I expected to from the smell of the dry leaf.
It has a strange, papery smell in the tin, but that doesn’t carry over (much) into the steeped tea, which is a reddish brown and translucent.
The flavor is rather more subtle than I would like, but it’s tasty. I get a nutty, caramel/toffee flavor from this that approaches, but doesn’t quite become brittle. There’s not enough nut, and not enough overall oomph to get it there.
I generally count lots of points off for teas that don’t live up to their names, so I feel constrained to do that here. But like the Leland Pear Caramel, the tea is better in an absolute sense than my rating suggests. It’s totally pleasant to drink, it just doesn’t taste like Cream and Nut Brittle to me.
Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Paper, Toffee
Another of my hoarded Simple Leaf teas that I just opened up. I steeped this hotter than the package directions mostly by accident. I didn’t think about looking at the package this morning. I’ll try it the other way another time.
I don’t have a distinct mental flavor profile of a Nilgiri even though I’ve had them before. For whatever reason, there’s not a distinctive map in my mind that identifies Nilgiris, the way I have a map of Assams, Darjeelings, Yunnans, and Keemuns. But this particular one is lovely in my book.
In the packet it smells bready. After steeping I get sweet notes of caramel, coffee, and berry. The tea is a clear, light-hued coppery golden.
It’s a mellow, mild flavored tea. Generally less sweet in flavor that aroma, but with bursts of sweetness that pop in the mouth during the sip and just a tad of smokiness. There’s an interesting softness to the mouthfeel that makes it very pleasant to drink, and a cooling sensation in the aftertaste.
It’s one of the better Nilgiri’s I’ve had. Even though I don’t have a mental map, I can remember that though I’ve liked some of those I’ve had in the past, none of them have really bowled me over.
This one comes close, which is why I’m sad it’s no longer around.
Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Coffee, Smoke
Sipdown no. 56 of 2018 (no. 412 total).
I’m disappointed in my recent sipdown count. I think I need to sip down some samples to make myself feel a bit better about it.
On the upside, the last four or so were full sized tins. So there’s that.
This is notable because it’s the third lapsang I’ve sipped down of my full sized tins since project lapsang sipdown began. I haven’t decided which one is up next. I am thinking of trying the Tea Trekker against the Golden Moon to see which I prefer first. I might also throw the Mariage Freres into that mix. Oh what the heck, maybe I’ll pull them all out and taste them against each other.
This one was good. I just don’t need more than one lapsang in my life, or two at the most.
I’ve found most of the S&V teas I’ve tried to be very solid, but not terribly distinctive. Solid, very enjoyable, but not stand outs.
This one breaks that mold. This tea does one thing, but it does that one thing extremely well.
Everything is blackberry, blackberry, blackberry — smell in the tin, smell after steeping, taste. It’s a deep, organic infusion of blackberry into the tea base, which is really not all that discernible except as a substrate. If this wasn’t as tasty, that might be a problem for me, but I find the flavor delicious — rich but not heavy, strong, but not too strong, not medicinal or artificial. The reviews on the S&V site disagree with me, finding the flavor artificial. But I’m standing by my tea.
It’s going on the wish list.
I still have a number of unopened packets of tea from the Simple Leaf, which I’m pretty sure has been defunct for a while now. I hoarded these teas because Steepster was in love with the Simple Leaf for a while and I expected I’d have a treat on my hands.
And I do. This is a great Assam — it has everything I like about Assams and none of the things I don’t like about them. Whether this has anything to do with the tea’s age is an open question, but let’s assume the vacuum sealing did its job since it’s hard to imagine a tea this flavorful that was stale.
The leaves smell sweet and bready in the packet, like those King’s Hawaiian rolls. The steeped tea is a clear, medium orange-brown. Pretty much what I’d expect.
The aroma, though, is amazing. It has so many layers, so many different notes that mix together into a really delicious whole. There’s a cocoa note, a fresh bread note, honey and even something I’d describe as gingerbread.
And these come together in the flavor as well. There’s a smoothness to the tea that makes it feel lighter than the stoutness I sometimes get with Assams, and that also makes it somewhat easier on the throat.
I’m sad there won’t be the option to get more of this in my future.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Ginger
I gave the black tea version of this an 88 a number of years ago, which makes me want to try it again because this herbal version is awesome.
I have to be in the mood for cinnamon, but I was in that mood today. The smell out of the tin is spicy, sweet, cinnamon. Very candy like.
That aspect carries through the aroma and taste of the steeped tea. It’s like drinking liquid candy, which, when one is on a portion controlled and calorie restricted diet, is rather like nirvana.
The best part is, the candy isn’t nearly as hot as red hots, but just as sweet. It’s like someone took the hottest aspect of red hots and removed it, leaving a strong cinnamon flavor that is very candy like but doesn’t hurt the membranes in your mouth.
I wish I was in the mood for cinnamon more than I am. If this was something I’m often in the mood for, such as, oh say, chocolate, and I had this same reaction, this would rate a hundred.
Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon