Seller description: "For the 'extreme' Earl Grey lover, we've added more Bergamot oil to our famous Earl Grey to make Earl Grey Extra. This blend was originally formulated by Mr. Vail for his many Eastern European customers."
Directions: Brew tea at 212º - steep for 3 minutes.
Teaware: 16oz tetsubin with depression glass cup
Measured dry: 1 tablespoon
Water temperature: Boiling
Steeping time: 4 minutes
Additives: 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw, a dash of milk later
This is the fourth of seven samples from Simpson & Vail. I've really enjoyed their teas - especially the fruity ones - but this comes closer than any of the others to meeting the criteria for my ideal Earl Grey.
Dry, this tea nearly shouts "Bergamot!' and it smells so wonderful I'm having a difficult time keeping my nose out of it. In fact, the citrus smell is so pervasive that it's difficult to even smell the black tea base.
When steeped, the bergamot aroma translates into a very citrusy cup, with a nice deep color. The black tea does come out in the flavor, but there's no missing the extra bergamot which does an excellent job of taking their straight Earl Grey blend and kicking it up a notch. This does a much better job of holding my interest and allowing this one to stand out above the crowd.
The extra bergamot does make it a little astringent, but not as much as some of the other teas I've tried. It leaves me with a slight dry mouth, but adding a dash of milk definitely helped to balance it out.
All that said, this will be moving on to the next round in the Battle of the Earl Greys! It will be interesting to see how it compares with other teas side-by-side.
Prominent notes: Black tea and bergamot
Aftertaste: Citrus and a slight hint of floral
Overall: This is going to take its place in the first elimination round