Classic tea. Bouquet of Flowers No. 108, created in 1880 by Pavel Kousmishoff in St. Petersburg, Russia to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth, is Kusmi Tea’s oldest blend. It was the favorite tea of Tsar Nicholas II. Fast forward 136 years later and 7000 miles west to a Russian tea lover in Richmond, Virginia, USA. It is a sunny springtime Sunday afternoon and I am feeling a bit nostalgic today. April in Virginia is glorious! Drinking Bouquet of Flowers just seems right as I gaze thankfully into the garden at my flowers that survived last night’s frost – Hopefully our last! I think that the odd spring cold snap must have put me in the mood for something Russian.
I love all things floral and I especially love floral teas. A brazen, unapologetic floral fiend I am! That said, I honestly think that many folks with floral fears in regard to tea might just find this tea to be quite acceptable.
The dry leaf smells mostly of lavender, and there is a hauntingly pleasant woody scent that calls to my mind the smell of an old antiques shop or, perhaps, the library of an old English country estate. That kind of woody scent. There is a bit of spicey sweetness in the fragrance that lingered into the three minute steep.
Flavor wise, the tea base of Ceylonese, Chinese and Indian tea creates a very smooth base, with a pleasant bit of bread and malt, along with the woody note. The main floral note is lavender, but it is not overwhelming or perfumey. I also detected a hint of sweet violet. The citrus components from the bergamot, mandarin, lemon and lime work very well to keep the floral components in check.
This is a tea of masterful synchronicity. Everything comes together just right to produce the classic cup of Imperial Russian tea. It makes a fabulous afternoon tea – Great with sweets! The fact that Bouquet of Flowers No. 108 has been around for over 130 years says something. I am surprised that this tea is not more highly rated. As far as I’m concerned, if it was good enough for Tsar Nicholas II it is certainly good enough for little old me.
Flavors: Bergamot, Bread, Citrus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Malt, Sweet, Violet, Wood