Steep time: 5 mins
Water temp: Boiling
Brew Style: Mug/ Western
The dry leaf smells exactly like smoky bourbon, complete with an alcoholic bite. I also smell pine tar and a hint of vanilla bean. Once steeped, the liquor is a golden/ amber brownish color (looks like bourbon). The steeped liquor smells strongly of smoke, alcohol, and peat.
Surprisingly, the flavor is not as smoke-forward as the dry leaf and the ingredients list suggest. It’s smooth, slightly sweet, with notes of honey, caramel, cocoa, pine, and earth, with a very light touch on the smoke. In the aftertaste, I get the same delicate earthy vanilla bean I detected in the dry leaf.
I agree with what another reviewer said— this can’t be a pure lapsang souchong base, given how mild the smoke is in its flavor. It most likely does have another, milder black tea blended in, to take the edge off the smoke and allow the other notes some room to shine. However, I disagree with that same reviewer when he says that this tea is not well-balanced. I think H&S did an amazing job capturing the essences of both bourbon and tea (two very different worlds that often intersect at the points of relaxation and contemplation). This was indeed a relaxing and contemplative experience, with plenty of pleasant surprises to stimulate both bourbon and tea drinkers equally.
Flavors: Alcohol, Caramel, Cocoa, Earth, Honey, Peat, Pine, Smoke, Sweet, Vanilla