Review: Mark T. Wendell First Flush Darjeeling 2012 Castleton Estate

Black Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Mark T. Wendell, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"MTW consistently offers top notch teas. This Darjeeling is no exception, with its generous and filling fruit and toasted bread notes. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 9.3/10, Katie gave it 9.4/10
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Harvested in the spring of 2012, this black tea comes to us from the famed Castleton Estate, established in 1885 in Darjeeling's Kurseong South valley. This estate is renowned for the musky, wine-like quality of its teas, otherwise referred to as “muscatel”. First flushes traditionally feature a flavourful mix of herbaceous notes with a sweet flower and fruit finish. Looking at my sample, the leaves are small, wiry multicoloured flecks. Their aroma is very crisp and fresh. It reminds me of the smell of dried grass, green grapes and honeydew melon.

I brewed this tea using a level teaspoonful of leaves in 8 ounces of water heated to 90 degree Celsius for 3 and a half minutes. The cup displays a crystal clear pumpkin-coloured liquor. Taking a sniff, it's aroma is a delicate combination of muscatel notes, toast and berries. Initially it features savoury bread and broth tones that quickly fold themselves into a fruity muscatel, berry and honeydew melon middle. The finish is clean and brisk, with a bit of a tannic kick. The cup is rather light bodied but still very filling and flavourful in mouth. I preferred this tea very hot. As it cools it becomes a little more astringent, especially in the finish.

I tried a second infusion, steeping the leaves again for 4 and a half minutes. The cup displays heftier muscatel notes but is more astringent through and through. The delicious toasted bread and berry combination is still present but more elusive. It's a decent brew but I don't love it. It's a bit too close to being bitter for my taste.

MTW consistently offers top notch teas. This Darjeeling is no exception, with its generous and filling fruit and toasted bread notes. This is a rather pricey leaf but well worth it for first flush enthusiasts. I have strayed away from Darjeelings in the last long while. Taking a sip of this makes me wonder how I could have neglected them for so long. Highly recommended!

Visit Mark T. Wendell Teas for more information on this tea and many more from their extensive product catalogue.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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