Sick, stuffy and tired might not be the best time to try a new tea, but looks like that’s not going to stop me. I’ve been trying to have this tea for a few days but one thing or another comes up. But now with the massive amounts of tea I’m attempting to have today (and succeeding nicely, thanks), I can throw this one in to the mix.
The dry leaves smell surprisingly spicy. Smoky and almost a little ‘whoosh’-y menthol-y. There’s also a darker sweetness. I’m getting whiffs of the rooibos but the wood doesn’t smell sour – it blends very nicely with the other dark, spicy, earthy smells going on in this tea. All brewed up, I can smell the rooibos more distinctly but it is combined with what smells like lapsang souchong and a warm spicy smell. I’m thinking it is the pine from the tasting notes but possibly the citrus is bolstering the spicy bit of it.
And wow, the taste is surprising. There is so much lapsang souchong in the smell that I was really expecting that to be the main taste but it isn’t. Instead it is fruity sweet with a warm spicy to it followed by a bit of wood taste that must be the rooibos. But it doesn’t have the moldy wood taste that normally sticks out of flavorings like a sore thumb. Instead, it all combines nicely – the rooibos wood flavor is like the trellis and the other flavors are little vines, twisting and weaving around and through it. Bright little flowers of citrus pop through the smoky clouds occasionally and spark thoughts of an Earl Grey.
This tea is nuts. There is so much going on but it is all so effortless. It doesn’t seem forced or clunky or unwieldy, but instead like beastly-looking dancers gracefully twirling on a dark stage.
And wow, with that I think I officially need to stop. The mental exhaustion is obviously too much for my simple mind. But yeah, I don’t think I’ve tasted something like this tea before. If you don’t like lapsang souchong, I’d say you wouldn’t like this. At all. Very woodsy and smoky. But if you like smoky, dark, intense teas? This one is pretty awesome.
So much love to takgoti for sending me this. So. Much. Love.
(ETA: Second steep – more citrus, less smoky, just as much love.)