|"An impressive blend, it is alternately smoky, sweet, and woody, with lots of tannins in the finish. Not your run-of-the-mill Earl Grey! "|
This particular blend is a mix of quite a few different types of teas: Keemun, Formosa Oolong, Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon are all used, along with the requisite bergamot oil. Despite their multiple origins, the leaves look fairly homogeneous. The majority are smallish, dark brown twists, with a few lighter coloured wisps here and there. They seem very well preserved: very few broken bits lie at the bottom of the bag. The sweet, almost peppery scent of bergamot oil greets me as I open my sample. In an interesting twist, this particular oil seems closer to the smell of lavender than usual. Following the instructions on the website, I heated water to 95 degrees Celsius and then steeped a generous teaspoon of leaves for 3 and a half minutes. The water turns a deep mahogany colour almost instantly. The scent is mostly biscuity, with just a hint of bergamot underneath. An impressive blend, it is alternately smoky, sweet, and woody, with lots of tannins in the finish. The biscuity notes in the foreground are particularly yummy. The leaves used for this tea base are evidently not what you find in your run-of-the-mill flavoured black tea. The bergamot flavour comes through loud and clear, especially in the lingering finish where it elegantly bleeds into the taste of the tannins. Quite stout, it can easily take the addition of milk and sweeteners but it doesn't necessarily need any. A second infusion is almost equally pleasant. Less tannic this time around, the bergamot flavour now seems more prominent and floral.
I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious tea base and would buy this blend on it's merits alone. I would recommend this product to those who would like to try an impressively blended black tea. One word of caution: the bergamot flavour seems to take a fair amount of tea in order to come through. I tried an infusion with a scant teaspoon of leaves and it wasn't quite “bergamoty” enough for me. On the whole though I was quite happy with this blend and I look forward to discover more teas from Château Rouge.
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