|"Dancing with sugarplums, the fruity spice is doubly nice, like cranberry mincemeat, and heart-warming against the spearmint’s herbaceous groove and the black tea’s ballet."|
To start the party, the leaves bring on the cheer, revealing all of the ingredients which form an earthy medley. Pale slate green herb sized mint pieces waiver through the stalky winds of the ashy black tea leaf pieces and stems that are one quarter to an eighth of an inch long. But a brighter splash comes from the beautifully ruby coloured rosehip pieces which include some whole halves while the pale orange peel also adds contrast. Although the orange peel looks more like dried apple from their small nuggets of beigey yellow pith, a closer look reveals some of their light orange and burnt orange rind tops. But the visual play doesn’t end there as the brighter colours are grounded by an equal proportion of dusty clay cinnamon pieces and some of the biggest whole cloves I’ve ever seen from their plumped stems. So there’s lots of different sizes and shapes to amuse.
Once out in the open, all the shapes and colors fall in together and sing in the medium bouquet. The zesty burst of cinnamon and cloves hum across aromas of apple juice with a lighter minty finish. The cinnamon seems the most predominate which has some of the pizzazz of cinnamon hearts, followed closely by the cloves. Together, they are wonderfully balanced with a pleasing intensity while having an earthy, slightly dusty grounding, rather than being just purely sweet. Set against the fruitiness, the spices create a mulled cider or Christmas candle nostalgia. Although the bouquet does have some delightful fruitiness which creates the Christmas air, it’s not really identifiable as rosehips and orange. The rosehips pipe up with a notable tang which seems cranberry-ish, the orange is harder to notice, roundly melding into the spiciness of the bouquet with a subtle splash of warm orange juice. The mint merges better than expected into the perfume, adding a green leafy spearmint-like scent, although it maintains its distinct herbaceousess. In contrast, the black tea doesn’t seem to speak out much on its own but altogether the tea’s aroma is a sweet enticement to put all one’s ducks in a row and just brew.
And brewing is as easy as pie since Ducky Life includes the brewing instructions on the package for steeping one teaspoon of tea for three to five minutes with boiling water. After a two and a half minute steep of one heaping teaspoon, the brick-like reddish brown brew isn’t quite clear but is animated as the tea comes to life. Not too surprisingly, the fragrance and flavour of the tea shifts somewhat with each brew, depending on what divvies into the teaspoon. Regardless though, the sweet bouquet is aromatically spicy with more mint than the dry leaves. The cinnamon has the spiciness of freshly grated as the cloves chimes into its warmth, adding dimension and conjuring visions of mincemeat and pomanders. Ebbing from the spices the mint peeks out, green and herbal scented. The mint seems somewhat separate from the spices making the bouquet slightly disjointed but its sweet greeting is still inviting. There’s a faint hint of the rosehips in the tea’s aroma which makes the bouquet seem chutney like as its tartness seems to favour more of a savoury side of the spices than just their sweetness. The orange and the black tea aren’t readily discernible individually as they seem to feed into the spice which is just how well they pair with the cinnamon and cloves.
A slam duck into the cup has a bit of a different groove. Despite the spicy aroma, the flavour of the spices is milder, lightly infusing each sip with a steady balance as the cinnamon sweetness leads with a bit less of cloves’ warmth. The spices contour the light body that is punctuated with some red rosehip sour through a pod or hull-like flavour after the herbal mint flavour welcomes the sip. Without much dryness and no astringency, the flavour is full enough, although the black tea doesn’t seem to bring much impact. Yet, the light fruitiness with the spices is a lovely combination and it maintains a faithful spicy ease. The mint has lots of life too with its less sweet, cooked herbal leaf but it doesn’t seem to fit as well despite itself being tasty enough. As each sip softly finishes, there’s just a glimmer of cinnamon left in one’s breath while some orange comes through as one continues through the cup to charm.
But it doesn’t have to end there, as a second infusion of the leaves for four minutes brings an only slightly lighter dusty rose cup. The aroma remains spicy and seems sweeter as the mint recedes and the orange peel seems to surface. Still fragrant, the cinnamon’s woody cheer harmonizes with the slightly flinty cloves to enhance the bit of fruitiness with a touch of mintiness. The flavour lightens too but holds a nice mild spiciness as the mint fades faster but still brings a subtle dry leafy mintiness. The spices also carry into a brief linger of cloves while the tea still isn’t dry or astringent.
After the duck, duck, goose game of Ducky Life’s Jane’s Ducky Life’s Blend, I’m still not sure if I live a ducky life. However, the tea does bring a darling combination of mint, spice and fruitiness. Although the black tea backbone isn’t the sturdiest and the mint doesn’t paddle along quite in sync, the wonderful bouquet and heart warming flavour offers an approachable sip to end a dog day or for an ‘mmm mmm mmm’ between Mallard and Muscovy.
— To purchase Ducky Life Tea Jane’s Ducky Life Blend, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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