Today I am looking at a First Flush Darjeeling from one of my favorite tea estates; Gopaldhara Tea Estate! Their Queens Delicacy was harvested in March of 2016 in typical First Flush style, making it only mildly oxidized when compared to later flushes. The aroma of the leaves is surprisingly green, there are the classic notes of golden grapes, honey, and nasturtiums that I associate with First Flush, but with a strong lettuce and celery note that reminds me more of a crisp green. There are also light notes of pollen and a touch of juicy lychee sweetness, this tea has a fascinating balance of sweet and green that I do not run into very often in First Flush Darjeelings.
I decided to dust off my poor neglected First Flush Yixing for this tea, even though it has a less than typical aroma. After steeping the leaves, the aroma is still quite green, now with notes of cooked celery and lettuce with a hint of bok choy and cabbage, but with an undertone of lychee, apples, and golden grapes with a hint of peppery nasturtium flowers. The liquid is light and sweet, with notes of lettuce and grapes, and undertones of honey and celery. Again the theme is mixing crisp savory notes and sweet ones.
Usually, I have a hard time properly categorizing First Flush Darjeelings, I see them put into the black tea category, but I never really feel like that fits, and this one is probably the most unlike a black tea I have run into. It starts with a subtle sweetness of fresh grapes, and that is pretty much all the sweetness I got from this tea, the rest is savory and green. Notes of cooked celery and sage blend with peppery nasturtium and lettuce, towards the end notes of broken hay and bell peppers pop up as well. The mouthfeel is smooth and a tiny bit crisp at the finish, much like biting into lettuce, it is both juicy and refreshing. This tea was definitely a break from the norm and I like how it was not a typical Darjeeling.
This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.