1994 Tasting Notes
I’ve had this for ages and just now cracked it open.
I had forgotten this had rooibos in it. I thought for a moment after I opened it that it was all rooibos because I didn’t see anything I could identify as black tea, but honestly I didn’t look all that hard and a check on the packaging was good enough to convince me.
This is chocolate and oranges all the way, but the orange is more separable than the chocolate except in the aftertaste. The orange has a sweetness to it that comes out in the aroma. The chocolate adds depth to the aroma. It’s a nice, full chocolate smell, not a shadowy baking chocolate smell. I smell vanilla as a separable smell, but I think it also adds some depth to the chocolate.
It steeps to a medium brown-orange that is surprisingly clear given the chocolate bits. Usually those make a blend murky after steeping.
It tastes pretty much like it smells. I really like the flavor — but it’s one of those that if I didn’t have it in my cupboard, I don’t know how often I’d miss it.
Flavors: Chocolate, Orange
In the tin this smells a little more like what I expect from a second flush darjeeling than the Jungpana of yesterday. It doesn’t have a strong winey sharpness, but it’s there. There’s a woody smell, but it’s more cedar than oak, and some earthiness as well.
The tea is a light amber color and clear. It smells similar to its dry leaves, except with a sweetness to it. I’m reminded of brown sugar.
The flavor isn’t as sharp as the aroma, and carries through the sweetness of the aroma. There’s a nuttiness that reminds me a bit of almonds.
It’s quite lovely.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Muscatel, White Wine
When I look back on it, I wonder what possessed me to buy this. It’s an odd choice for me. I don’t typically love savory teas, and lemon basil is a flavor I associate with roast chicken.
The first time I tried this a few weeks ago, I tried it in the gaiwan through multiple steeps but I didn’t take notes because I was (a) rushed and (b) I honestly didn’t know what to say about it. There was virtually no change from steep to steep. All I could think about was how odd the flavor was.
So I’ve pretty much decided that it’s not worth the trouble of multiple steeps. I’ll be drinking the rest of this Western style, steeped in the Breville.
In the packet, the smell is more lemon than basil. In fact the basil isn’t something I would have identified as basil if I hadn’t known it was there. After steeping, there’s much more basil in the aroma than lemon. The liquor is peach colored and clear.
The flavor is more subtle than the aroma. The basil is pretty dominant, the lemon less so. And yet it isn’t what I would have expected — it’s not like the run off from a roast chicken dinner. It’s not bad. It’s just not what I am looking for in an oolong experience.
To be honest, I’m not big on a lot of flavored oolongs, which is too bad because I seem to have a ridiculous number of them that I haven’t even tried yet.
If I was into experimental cooking, though, I might use this as a rub or a stuffing (to be removed before eating) for a roast chicken and see how that works.
As it is, I’m putting this in the sipdown-sooner-rather-than-later rotation.
Flavors: Herbs, Lemon
I wanted to try this by comparison now that I’ve had another violet black tea (Simpson & Vail). I’m bumping it up. I’m also bumping up the Simpson & Vail, but by a lesser amount.
If I’m going to have a violet tea in my stash, I think this will be the one unless something comes along that’s better. I prefer it to the Simpson & Vail for two main reasons.
First, while the Simpson & Vail has a stronger violet flavor (and pretty leaves with violets strewn among them whereas the Kusmi has no actual violets in it), there’s a lotiony quality to it that makes it feel oily and heavy in my stomach in a way that the Kusmi doesn’t.
Second, the base. The Simpson & Vail base is stronger, heavier, and more full bodied, but it’s also just not as smooth, tasty, and well integrated with the violet flavor.
So this was a successful experiment.
This tea is fascinating in the best possible way.
I’ve never had a tea from this estate before. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this estate before. I’m baffled as to why because if all of its harvests are like this one, I’d think it would have tons of fans.
In the tin, it looks and smells different than other second flush Darjeelings. It doesn’t have that very sharp, high note, that I associate with second flush Darjeelings. It’s smoother than others. The same is true of the steeped tea’s aroma. No sharp notes, a smooth, mouth watering smell. It does have some grapey-winey notes but with the edges filed off. There is also a touch of honey, and wood bark.
The flavor is very much like the aroma. The tea is pretty astringent, and leaves a fresh, soft feel in the mouth.
It strikes me as more like a first flush in its smoothness, but without the water logged feeling I sometimes get after drinking first flush Darjeelings.
I’m not a Darjeeling connoisseur but for me, this is really the best of all worlds.
Flavors: Bark, Grapes, Honey, White Wine, Wood
I was out of town last weekend. My childhood best friend’s husband died and I went to the memorial service. I’m glad I went to be there with her. But that’s why I didn’t do my usual tasting notes last weekend.
Looking forward to getting some new teas tasted and logged this weekend.
I may have gone overboard with the peach fruit blends. I seem to have a ton of them now, as well as a ton of orange ones. But vive la difference! It’s fun to have a number of teas in the same general flavor profile to explore the differences. Which is why my goal of clearing out my cupboard is unlikely to be completely realistic. While I don’t think I need 10 peach herbals, I do think having only one would be boring. Maybe 3 is the right number. Maybe 1 is the right number for other things, like lapsangs and five is the right number for jasmine greens, since I love them so much. Anyway, something to ponder.
Very solid peach smell coming from the packet. The mix looks a bit like Grapenuts to me. I haven’t thought about those in a long time.
The aroma of the steeped blend is pure peach, down to the stony pit note. The color is the color of the inside of a ripe peach — a strong, dark yellow, that’s somewhat cloudy but not completely opaque.
The flavor is sweet with a touch of tart as well. I haven’t had the fuzzy peach candy others have compared this to, but I don’t find this artificial tasting as some have said. The touch of tart keeps it from that for me — without the tart, I’d find this candy-like and it’s hard to imagine a peach candy that wouldn’t taste artificial. As it is, I quite like this.
Flavors: Peach, Stonefruit
Orange! Very, very very orangey orange orange. It’s an amazing smell from the dry mix, with just an undercurrent of something other than orange but that balances the tart citrus with something a bit sweeter.
The tartness smooths out after steeping. There’s just a hint of baby aspirin orangeyness, and a passion fruit undercurrent that has a berry-like quality as well. The color is a deep, dark, purplish red. Very wine-like.
It’s quite tasty, but I’m not sure it’s better than the other Harney orange or the Todd & Holland. Rating it the same for now, but one day I’ll have to do a side by side comparison.
Flavors: Berry, Orange, Passion Fruit
Wow, are those big things gooseberries? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like them before. They look like Corn Pops.
The fragrance of the dry mix, the steeped aroma and the flavor are all quite similar. The main flavor I get is grapefruit - weird, because there’s no grapefruit in the ingredients.
But this is fine with me since I’m on a bit of a grapefruit kick. Grapefruit flavored Perrier is a current favorite, as is the watermelon. Actually, the watermelon is to die for. But I digress.
The liquor is a murky, pinkish yellow that reminds me of grapefruit juice as well.
Vive le pamplemousse!
Flavors: Grapefruit, Mint