Review: Chateau Rouge Fikkal Ilam FTGFOP1

Black Tea, Chateau Rouge, Nepalese Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Taste-wise, it was definitely subtle. If you can call a kick to the ear by a toddler, subtle. Small but packin'."
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.9/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 7.8/10, Vanessa gave it 7.5/10, Katie gave it 7.7/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »
chateaurougefikkalThis Nepalese first flush certainly had the visual flare of a Darjeeling, many hues of greens and browns amidst the tea leaf tapestry. However, the individual leaves seemed smaller. Might've been my imagination, though. To the nose, the dry batch packed a grape-like aroma wrapped in a light, spicy cloud. It smelled like it's picking season; spring-like.

On the exhaustively/exquisitely detailed Chateau Rouge site, they recommended brewing one rounded teaspoon per cup for no more than four minutes in (at most) 98C water. I erred on the side of subtlety and went with 95C for three. I found that more characteristics come out with a lighter steep time for single estate blacks. That and less tannins are released. Of course, this is all palate subjective.

The liquor color was an off-kilter surprise. It brewed to a light gold...not brown, not amber. Lighter than even some greens. I was worried until I put my nose to the cup. The crisp, earthspice scent relieved me. Taste-wise, it was definitely subtle. If you can call a kick to the ear by a toddler, subtle. Small but packin'. The flavor profile of a Darjeeling existed, but not of a black, rather a Darjeeling white. Hardly a harsh criticism since I "loves me some Darj whites".

For the second infusion, I ignored brewing times entirely. I re-infused the leaves, went about some monotonous task, then came back to it a few minutes later. Not sure how long "a few" was - probably in the double-digits. Believe it or not, the second round didn't get much darker. It did finally break the "amber" barrier - resembling a raw puer - but not much more than that. The muscatel flavor was more apparent, but some of the initial earthy nuance had left. Diluted, mayhap.

In summary. this is a very good orange pekoe. It has all the strengths and weaknesses of a first flush and doesn't deviate much from that. It's better than "just drinkable", but falls short of "total mouthgasm!". But that's okay. Bronze medal ain't bad.

— To purchase Chateau Rouge Fikkal Ilam FTGFOP1, 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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