Friday, April 14, 2017

Yunomi: Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden: Whisky Barrel Wood Smoked Black Tea, A Tea Review

Finally, it is my turn to play Mass Effect: Andromeda! Ben has not finished with the game, but he has gotten far enough in it that me starting will not interrupt watching the story for the first time together. Not that he even cares about that anymore since he is kinda meh on the plot, and true it is not the most original thing ever but I have been enjoying it. Ok, mostly I have been enjoying the beautiful scenery and sexy aliens and dealing with the sad fact that I think the Angarans have replaced the Turians as my favorite alien race. Certainly, Jaal has replaced Garrus as my favorite 'space boyfriend' and I never thought I would say that! I want to steal Peebee's title though, so from now on I am not only a Necromancer I am also a Rogue Academic.

I have mentioned in the past that my favorite Japanese teas are not the expected ones, true I love Matcha and all the types of green, but what really gets me excited are the darker teas, I just find them so fascinating! It takes the usual notes you expect from Japanese teas and changes them into something different, blending familiar and alien all in one experience. Which brought me to Yunomi's Kaneroku Matsumoto Tea Garden: Whisky Barrel Wood Smoked Black Tea, a black tea which has been smoked using wood from whiskey barrels, and frankly that just sounded too awesome to not try. Of course, I had to try it for the first time when Ben was home because he is obsessed with smoky teas, not that his absence stopped me sniffing it! Holy crap, there are smoky teas and then there is this one. It smells like wood smoke, a bit meaty (I swear it smells like bacon and now I want bacon, ahhhhhh!!!) but with a sweet honey whiskey undertone. It is intense, Lapsang Souchong smells like standing near a fire, this tea smells like the Fire Nation just invaded!

Brewing the tea calms down the fire surprisingly well, I expected sniffing the wet leaves to be like sticking my face in a volcano. Usually, wet leaves are stronger than the dry ones, and if a note is missing it usually is in the liquid, though not always. The aroma is smoky, but mild, with strong notes of oak wood, malt, whiskey, and a sweet molasses and honey undertone. I was expecting the liquid to explode with smoke, but nope, it was also mild with wood, malt, and honey with a tiny hint of whiskey at the finish. Since I was lame and totally forgot to take pictures of the wet leaves I will just move right on into the taste. So I was surprised, this tea is wonderfully sweet, like a honey whiskey blended with a nice malty tea that you are drinking while sitting next to a big oak fire. The smoke is definitely present but not as strong as I was expecting from the dry leaves. A second steep brings out a gentle fruity note like distant grilled plums that goes really well with the other notes. I made Ben a mug of the tea western style and he ended up stealing my more gongfu (errr, technically I think this is more in the style of Senchado since it is Japanese) style cup. When brewed western style it is not as sweet or smooth, being quite brisk and way too smoky, all the other notes were drowned out, so if you do try this tea (and I seriously recommend you do, it is pretty awesome) go for a houhin over a mug and use shorter steeps.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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