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