So, it’s been taking me a while to sort my thoughts on this blend. Here’s the official description:
CREATED BY: CARA MCGEE
Harsh, alarming, and frustratingly alluring with flavors that circle each other like predators. Genius.
Inspired by BBC’s Sherlock, which I am in no way affiliated with. This is created purely for my own enjoyment.
Well… first and foremost the lapsang takes charge and never relinquishes olfactory control. There is the barest sting of ginger and spices with the slightest hint of sweetness from the apple chai.
My first cup I brewed at 212 degrees and let it steep for five minutes. After I poured it into my cup, the lapsang was still the strongest scent, but the spice of the chai was far more noticeable than before. I seemed to have lost the sweetness from the apple, however.
Initial tasting was inconclusive; I could not decide right away whether or not I liked it, and that is always an interesting result. At first, I wondered if I found the lapsang too smoky; but no, I like strong flavors, so that should not have been the issue. Then I wondered if perhaps the gingery sting was not enough, or if it was too much. Was the spiced apple chai overpowered by the strength of the lapsang and ginger? I knew before I’d even finished the cup that I would have to keep trying.
The second time around I let the tea steep for four minutes. Not much of a noticeable difference there; the discordant smoke and burn of the competing flavors still defied my ability to determine if I liked this tea or not. I was definitely more aware of the ginger influence, though. I wondered if the slight sweetness of the spiced apple chai diminished the burn that ginger would normally produce. There is the slightest smoky aftertaste that haunts the mouth, but it is neither unpleasant nor immediately noticeable.
The third time around I let it steep for at least seven minutes, mostly because I forgot it was steeping as I was in another room working on something. Surprisingly, it was not noticeably more intense than before with the previous steepings. While hot, I still could not quite formulate my feelings on this blend. However, I allowed the half cup left to get cold while I worked (on this tumblr layout and reblogging posts, actually,) and discovered that I quite preferred the tea cool. I don’t know that it gave the ginger and spiced apple chai time to fully permeate the lapsang’s smokiness and rise to prominence. My empty cup still smells strongly of smoke.
Overall, after three cups, I can see that this blend will require more tastings to fully understand its complexity. Also, I have the sneaking suspicion that it might be fantastic iced.
I give it a tentative 3 out of 5 stars.
You can purchase it here.