I’m behind on a few notes, but I wanted to go ahead and write some on the big name releases that have come out. This notes is going to be a long one because this tea has a history on the site, although it’s been obscured because it’s usually a seasonal release.
Steven Smith has reblended their Ice Cream Oolong, and it’s a tea that I wish I got the chance to try. I was a year behind their original release of the oolong, and I’ve been waiting to try something like it. I almost got the Tenessee Oolong when it was out, but I didn’t get it for the simple reason of price, though I now regret it.
So, I decided to go all out to get this tea which was a whopping $24 U.S. Dollars for 15 bags, and got two boxes. Stupid, I know, but this blend is unique and not replicated by any other tea around. I’m really curious to see how this one pans out since it mixes both amaretto and chamomile with an oolong-something I’ve not seen before. The original blend had jasmine, so I was interested to see how it works with the chamomile.
Starting off reading their notes, they sell the tea as tasting/smelling like butterscotch, pina colada, and nori, which shouldn’t be off given the Jin Xuan base and the double rolled vanilla extract that is often used in butterscotch confections. Smelling the sachets, vanilla and the chamomile pretty dominant, with some florals going on in the background.
I brewed this up western, and did the suggested 3 minutes, but I’ve brewed some cups up to four minutes and essentially grandpa’d rebrews of the same bag. Thankfully, this is not an overpowering tea and is very light and sweet. The vanilla and amaretto are strong in the smell, and while the tea hot doesn’t really taste like ice cream, it’s nailed the trademarks with the strong vanilla, buttery creamy texture, and the salt and sugar combo in the aftertaste. The amaretto is present, but blends with the vanilla to give a more 3 dimensional flavor so it’s not overwhelming. Think a vaguely almond like aftertaste.
There’s some qualities in the tea that can read vaguely pineapple from the Jin Xuan’s aftertaste, but it’s very floral overall. The vanilla combo makes it read a little like plumeria or lily, but it’s not strong and I’m making a little bit of stretch since the flavor is more prominent. If I let the tea brew a little bit longer, the jin xuan is a little bit more dominant giving off the grassy nori aftertaste, but it’s easy to avoid and the tea is not grassy if you brew it under 3-4 minutes.
The chamomile was pretty noticeable, and the sarspirilla is subtle. I was worried the chamomile was going to clash with the Jin Xuan, and sometimes it was a little herby, but it thickened the teas body. It added to the ice cream quality nicely and helped the vanilla spread out so it didn’t taste fake.
So, you can tell that I really liked this blend. It’s the kind of tea that I was looking for in my first two years of college and am happy that I got to have it now. I personally would rate it between 80-90, but my big criticism is the doubled price. I think it warrants maybe $16 for the 15, $45 for 4 oz loose and $24 for 45-50 grams is too much…nevermind I got two boxes.
I’m curious to see what other people think and how it compares to the original blend. I hesitated with the chamomile mix, but I think it was a really smart decision in the end because I see the jasmine mixed in being too cloying or potentially too astringent. This was a nice easy going luxury tea, and probably my favorite Smith Blend I’ve had. I’m on my fifth bag I’ve used, after all.
Flavors: Almond, Amaretto, Butter, Chamomile, Creamy, Floral, Milk, Pineapple, Seaweed, Sugar, Sweet, Vanilla