This was different. A first flush Darjeeling made from low grown Assamica bushes is not something you see every day. Knowing how atypical this tea was for the region, I knew I could not expect it to be exactly like many of the other Darjeelings I enjoy so much. Unfortunately, there was not really anything to which I could compare it. I guess I can only say that I found this tea enjoyable, but I think I favor the classic first flush Darjeelings over it.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, I detected aromas of grass and nuts coming from the dry leaf material. After infusion, I picked up on a mixture of grass, malt, wood, roasted nuts, herbs, and malt. In the mouth, I found notes of grass, lightly roasted almond, wood, malt, hay, cream, wintergreen, menthol, dandelion, marigold, and rose with some subtle Muscatel character in the background. The finish was nutty, malty, and for me, surprisingly dry. Beneath the lingering malt and roasted almond notes I could still find traces of wintergreen, menthol, grass, and hay.
This was not a bad first flush tea, but I do have to admit that I have had better. The fact that it diverged so much from the traits of many classic first flush Darjeelings worked both to its benefit and to its detriment. On the one hand, it was a unique tea and it was certainly memorable, but on the other, it lacked the appealing fruitiness and extremely pronounced floral character of other first flush teas from the region. For me, this tea was something for which I would have to be in the mood. It definitely would not be an everyday tea. In the end, I found this tea to be rock solid and worth a try, but unless you are the sort of person who goes looking for mostly nutty, malty, grassy, and herbal first flush Darjeelings, I kind of doubt this will be one of your favorites.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Hay, Malt, Menthol, Muscatel, Rose, Wood