1994 Tasting Notes
This is the last of the sample tins of the darjeeling sampler. Its leaves are small, almost fine, and a big contrast to the makaibari of yesterday which had huge balled leaves that looked almost like an oolong and expanded to even more huge after steeping. They smell a little nutty, and a little like sweet grapes.
The liquor is very light in color. I’d call it golden, with a peach tinge. It’s clear and also has a sweet, fruity (apples? grapes) smell. There is only the tiniest hint of sharpness.
And while there’s no sharpness in the taste, there’s a bitterness that doesn’t send me. Its mostly in the end of the sip, and leaves its mark in the aftertaste. Not very pleasant in my view. It makes me want to have this with food.
That said, it doesn’t make me feel bloated or waterlogged the way other first flush darjeelings do, which is a plus.
It’s my least favorite of the samples in the sampler, though. Rating accordingly.
Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Grapes, Nuts, Sweet
Next in line for project “lapsang sipdown.”
The dry leaves have a smoky, salted meat smell. I’m hoping for mellowness here.
Alas, I won’t know for sure about this one until next time because I over steeped. A friend signal boosted a story of mine on Twitter, which inspired me to send some work out for the first time in a long time. I put this in to steep and then promptly forgot about it while struggling to find a market for the last story on my list to send out.
Even with the over steeping, the aroma of the steeped tea isn’t nearly as scary as the dry leaf aroma. Much less salted meat, much more appealingly aromatic campfire. The tea is a dark amber and clear.
And fortunately, even with the over steeping, this isn’t too intense. It isn’t resiny, though it does have a flavor reminiscent of pine wood. And it isn’t meaty, thank goodness.
Still, it doesn’t have the sweetness in the finish that I liked in the Kusmi and the Leafspa, and it’s a bit more ashy than mellow.
I’ll reconsider when I taste it again tomorrow but for now, I’m rating it a bit lower than the Tavalon.
Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Meat, Pine, Salt, Smoke, Wood
Surprised that I seem to be the only one who has written about this? I searched under the French spelling too, and nothing came up.
In the packet there’s a juicy apricot smell that’s got a dark, sultry quality to it. The steeped version is less juicy but still apricotty, and also smells like baked bread with a touch of chocolate. The tea is a rather unique russet and clear.
The flavor is much better than the aroma — deeper and with more of the sultry quality of the dry mix. And yes I know that taste is mostly smell, which is why this is surprising to me.
The apricot is a bit sneaky. Though it is obvious from the beginning of the sip, it really blossoms in the mouth from mid-sip to aftertaste, becoming sweeter and juicier as it goes.
With the demise of ATR, I’ve been looking for a good black apricot tea, and this will certainly do.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Chocolate
I got all excited when I opened the packet because the smell reminded me of ATR Brioche!
A chewy, sweet, buttery, almond pastry like smell.
A lot of those qualities are still there, albeit in dilute form, in the aroma and flavor. It makes me wonder whether I ought to add more mix and steep a bit longer.
Because I’d sure like to find a substitute for Brioche, even if it is a de-caf substitute. But this wasn’t quite Brioche…
It was prettier though. That’s what beetroot will do for you, I guess. Fire engine red!
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Butter, Cinnamon, Pastries
I love the name — it makes me think of Puff the Magic Dragon, which was a childhood favorite song.
I know I’ve had dragonfruit, but I think I only had it once and it was a while ago. So I can’t say whether this is a good dragonfruit blend, but I can say I like it.
The dry blend has a strong, berry heavy smell, which, after steeping has an interesting depth and freshness that is watermelon-like. I expect this is the dragonfruit. The liquor is a bright, vibrant red that is quite attractive.
The flavor has a touch of bitterness at the beginning, and a touch of sourness right after, but is neutral to sweet through most of the sip. It has a leafiness to it that I’m thinking must be the blackberry leaves, but mostly I get a melon-like flavor that makes me think of my current favorite Perrier — Watermelon — but more intense.
And now I’m off to binge watch my latest discovery, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!
Flavors: Berry, Melon, Plants
Sipdown no. 49 of 2018 (no. 405 total).
I’ve been drinking this at work for the past few weeks, hoping that I would be able to bump the rating up. I’m a huge fan of jasmine green tea, and I generally expect to adore pretty much any that I have.
Alas, I think the rating on this one is just where it ought to be. It’s a good tea, but it didn’t blow me away.
I remember when I first got my Golden Moon sample basket and how much fun I had trying all the teas. They do have some excellent ones, this one just doesn’t quite make it to excellent.
The last time I made this, I was using a sample and didn’t give it the whole chai stove top treatment. I decided to do that today, once I realized that I’d made it through the entire winter without making chai once. Poor planning, that. I figured I should get in at least one before it gets too hot.
But honestly, I think I can make the rest of this into a cold brew and not feel like I’m missing much. It’s pleasant, but the chai spices are pretty subtle once steeped in milk. I honestly don’t taste cardamom at all. Mostly I taste ginger, which is, as I say, pleasant, but not all I want in a chai. Apparently I tasted black pepper last time around, but this time it’s just a slight kick on the tongue in the aftertaste.
The vanilla piece is elusive. I’m not even sure I taste it at all unless I squint and hold my head sideways (figuratively, y’all).
Bumping it down just a tad ratings-wise.