It looks like I am the first to get to this one. This lapsang souchong is the only Taiwanese black tea offered by Simpson & Vail at this time. The folks at Simpson & Vail bill this as being heartier than their Chinese lapsang, and I must say that they really aren’t kidding about that.

I brewed this tea using a simple one step Western infusion. Again, I normally do not resteep black teas unless it is specifically suggested by the vendor. To prepare this tea, I steeped one teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 3 minutes. I also tried 4 and 5 minute steepings of this tea, but the aromas and flavors were consistent across the board despite a slight increase in strength and astringency, so I will just stick to presenting the results of the initial 3 minute steeping for this review.

After infusion, the resulting liquor was a dark amber. Strong aromas of woodsmoke, pine, nuts, leather, molasses, and sea salt were present on the nose. I could also detect subtle scents of tobacco and toast. In the mouth, strong notes of woodsmoke, pine, cedar, black walnut, hickory, leather, molasses, tobacco, and sea salt were underscored by subtler flavors of caramel, dark chocolate, and brown toast. The finish was full of smoke and wood flavors with more than a bit of astringency.

Overall, I quite like this lapsang. It really lives up to the description of a hearty black tea provided by the vendor. Honestly, Simpson & Vail’s Chinese lapsang souchong does not even really compare to this one. This lapsang is just so much richer, stronger, and smokier. Still, I don’t expect the many people who are unexcited by any lapsang souchong or really heavy black tea to take to this one at all, but as someone who tends to enjoy lapsang souchong, I cannot say that I would have a problem recommending this tea fairly highly to fellow lapsang aficionados.

Flavors: Astringent, Brown Toast, Caramel, Cedar, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Marine, Molasses, Pine, Smoke, Walnut

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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