The dry leaf smells of smoke, dry wood and leaves, and leather. A very rustic, masculine scent. The aroma of the liquor is quite a bit softer: it is still smoky with hints of fruit and spice.
This tea is intense! It is a bold tea … just as strong, rustic and masculine to the palate as it is to the nose. It is very complex. The distinct flavor of smoke is what I notice first. Generally, I find a strong smoky flavor to be a bit off-putting, but here it is right on the money. That is to say that while it is strong, it isn’t overwhelming my palate with smoke.
Once the smoke subsides a little bit, I begin to notice the nuances that this tea has to offer. The sweetness in this tea is amazing. It tastes of molasses and dried fruit. It isn’t a strong fruit-like taste, but the sweetness is where I detect the fruit likeness. You know that somewhat sweetness that comes from biting into a date or a raisin? That’s the sweetness I’m talking about. Intense, deep sweetness.
This has a lovely spice tone in the background – peppery! It is a savory spice, and not so much a spicy-hot note, and it provides an interesting contrast to the dark cocoa flavor that sits in the distance.
Adagio Teas describes this tea as
Black Tea from the Anhui province of China. Perhaps the most famous of Chinese varieties, prized for its toasty flavor, dark chocolate or red wine notes, mineral flinty sparks and sweetly smoky aroma. This, our most prized Keemun, is a hand-made limited production. The tea brews to a fiery reddish brown color, with incense smokiness, deep brown sugar and a slight earthy fruitness. Textured and layered mouthfeel with incredible depth: sweetness of dates or lychee fruit, brightness of fresh black pepper, warm fresh biscuits and smooth earthy cocoa notes. Soft, smoky finish and intriguing lingering fragrance. A Keemun not to be missed!
I found that this set of flavors was strongest while the tea was hot. As the tea cooled, these flavors began to mute and became almost unnoticeable. (So Drink This while its hot for best flavor!) The aftertaste is sweet with a whisper of smoke that seems to dance across the palate.
This is one of the very best Keemun teas I’ve yet to taste. Pricey, yes, but I think it was definitely worth every penny!