Been doing Upton Imports sampler thunderdomes, two teas at a time, sometimes with comparison qualities obvious (same flush or estate darjeelings, say), sometimes less so, like here where I compared Upton TB54, Sunday Tea with Vanilla East Frisian Blend, with Upton TB75, Baker Street Blend (keemun, darjeeling, and lapsang).
Love the way both of these smell dry; this one’s kind of forest-y. The vanilla comes out more while brewing. These are both dark, robust cups. Sweet, a little cake-like without becoming something only for dessert—it has a bittersweet, almost coffee-like robustness and the slightest tinge of smoke, or actually maybe that’s roastiness. I can definitely smell the vanilla in the cup initally (and my nose is stuffed up from allergies!), then it recedes a bit. You can smell it more than you can taste it. Something about this reminds me of extremely dark, bitter chocolate.
About halfway through the cup I added milk and sugar which didn’t seem to be an improvement but didn’t ruin it either.
I don’t think I’d make this a regular rotation thing but I also wouldn’t snub my nose at a refill at some point when/if i get sick of other more obvious go-to choices.