|"A strong "Muscatel" Darjeeling that actually exemplifies Muscatel."|
That probably seemed not at all related to a review of this tea, and thats fair, but I'd say that, as with wine tasting, tea tasting requires a broad palate. You can't drink tea or wine and say its "muscatel" without refining your understanding thereof by consuming Muscatel wines. These leaves are rife with the rich, malty, grape-ey flavors of Muscatel wines, but due to the devaluation of the term Muscatel by pretty much every Darjeeling on the market I doubt this particular Puttabong Darjeeling will get the credit it deserves. This is a shame because, if this batch is any representation of their craft, the men and women of the Puttabong estate know their muscatel. Its got that sweet-malty flavor that seems to straddle the taste buds between really rich chocolate and grapes or raisins. Its not bitter (but follow the three minute instructions on the label as it can easily become bitter) but it is strong enough that your more casual black tea drinker will most likely find it best cut with milk or sugar. I was able to get three or four steeps from a single pot of leaves, so
Now to tackle the letters, which expand to "Super Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1", and somehow they get Clonal from Q, of all that only Tippy, Orange Pekoe, and Clonal matter, the rest is just a sort of product-identity and advertising. By the last bit I just mean that all the other words in the description are based on unstandardized ratings that can vary widely in meaning, definition, and legal status from country to country and estate to estate. Orange Pekoe refers to the sieve size that the leaves were sorted with, there are a procession of sieves, they work from the widest to the smallest and anything that doesn't fall through gets the grade of the sieve. Tippy just means that its tips, which needs to be said as the smaller bits would appear to be mis-graded if you didn't know this. Clonal boarders on meaningless, because practically all teas, that are not harvested from wild genetically recombinant trees, are clones. Cloning is not a bad thing, its fun, get yourself some plants and try it out.
So to summarize this is an excellent Darjeeling, one of the few marked as Muscatel while actually tasting of Muscatel. I'd recommend it most strongly to people, who like myself, enjoy a good strong black tea, or to people who prefer more, ahem, British tea traditions.
» Read more about this reviewer on Troy's profile page.
» Find a list of recent posts by Troy.