I recently discovered a cache of Verdant samples about which I had totally forgotten. It seems that I have been so focused on sipping down some of the 2016-17 Yunnan Sourcing teas I acquired that I entirely forgot about the sample pile. After going through them and sorting them by date, I figured this would be one to throw out since it was a 2016 harvest tea and my experience with scented teas suggested they do not age well. I opened it anyway just to be sure, and to my delight, was greeted by a lovely jasmine aroma. Knowing that the sample was likely still viable, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of the jasmine and loose leaf blend in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry blend emitted a strong aroma of jasmine underscored by hints of vanilla. After the rinse, I detected emerging aromas of cocoa and cinnamon. The first proper infusion brought out scents of brown toast and malt. In the mouth, the liquor presented a delicately floral, jasmine-laced entry that soon made way for subtle notes of malt, cream, brown toast, and vanilla chased by a sweet potato note. Subsequent infusions brought out the scent of sweet potatoes as well as a stronger sweet potato presence in the mouth. The impressions of cocoa and cinnamon that had previously been missing on the palate began to make their mark in the mouth. I also began to detect new notes of caramel, honey, baked bread, graham cracker, and minerals. Interestingly, there were some alternately herbal, vegetal impressions that reminded me of both celery and fennel that were most noticeable on the finish. I recalled finding such notes in Verdant’s Golden Fleece as well. The later infusions were primarily dominated by notes of minerals and malt balanced by fleeting impressions of jasmine, brown toast, fennel, and sweet potato.
Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much from this given the age of the sample, but I found that it had managed to hold up exceptionally well. Much like Verdant’s Yunnan White Jasmine, the jasmine presence was noticeable without being overbearing, allowing the tea with which it was blended equal time to shine. The jasmine integrated well with the base tea, producing a very mellow, balanced, nuanced blend. Overall, if one were looking for a blend with an exceptionally heavy jasmine presence, one might want to look elsewhere, but if one were looking for a sophisticated, balanced jasmine black tea, this would very likely fit the bill.
Flavors: Bread, Brown Toast, Caramel, Celery, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Fennel, Graham Cracker, Honey, Jasmine, Malt, Mineral, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla