Another of the Teabox second flush Darjeeling samples I recently finished, I found this one to be rather unique. It struck me as being woodier and more vegetal than many other second flush Darjeelings I have tried. As a matter of fact, I found it difficult to rate because of how different it was.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of wood, earth, and roasted grain. After infusion, I picked up emerging scents of cream, roasted nuts, and malt. The scent of the liquor was almost totally devoid of any sort of fruitiness, which was very odd for a second flush Darjeeling. I could pick up a subtle plum-like fragrance, but otherwise, this was grainy, woody, malty, and earthy all the way. In the mouth, I picked up an interesting combination of moist earth, wood, raisin, caramel, green bean, roasted grain, grass, plum, herb, and field green notes balanced by touches of Muscatel, violet, dandelion, rose, roasted nuts (mostly black walnut with a touch of almond), and leather. The finish was subtly astringent and somewhat thin, leaving fleeting impressions of grass, caramel, green beans, malt, toast, field greens, herbs, plums, and flowers.
This was a very complex tea, but it also diverged from the classic traits of the style to the point that it was difficult for me to evaluate. Overall, it was very well made, thoughtfully processed from a high quality picking. I just kind of wished the finish had displayed greater longevity and the body had been a bit fuller in order to better support the barrage of flavors the tea offered.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cream, Dandelion, Earth, Grain, Grass, Green Beans, Herbs, Leather, Malt, Muscatel, Plum, Raisins, Rose, Vegetal, Violet, Walnut, Wood