Friday, July 5, 2013

Victorian Earl Grey by Simpson & Vail

Victorian Earl Grey by Simpson & Vail

Seller Description: "Take a step back into the past with this floral blend. This tea is a sensational mixture of Rose Congou black tea, rose petals, lavender, rosemary and high quality bergamot oil. A top seller, Victorian Earl Grey tea brews to an amber cup that has a sweet, floral taste that is adored by old and young alike. The aroma of the brewed tea is slightly earthy and woody from the rosemary and lavender, and while the brewed tea has this taste as well, it is rounded out with the citrus taste of bergamot and the sweet rose petals."
Ingredients: Rose Congou black tea, lavender petals, rose petals, rosemary and bergamot oil.
Directions: Brew tea at 212º - steep for 3 minutes.
Cost: $6.80/4oz

Teaware: ForLife NewLeaf 16oz infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 1-1/2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw

This was the fifth of seven samples provided by Simpson & Vail for the Battle of the Earl Greys. For those of you who've been following my costuming blog, I've been doing a lot of Victorian research and costuming over the last year. I can't help but dance back into that frame of mind when I smell this tea. Visions of lace and embroidery, stays and petticoats just dance through my mind.

The dry smell is primarily floral, with very prominent rose, rosemary, and lavender notes. It manages to completely avoid smelling too much like artificial perfume and instead smells fresh and vibrant - like you've stuck your nose into a bouquet or you're sitting in an actual garden. I can't smell the citrus or black tea blend that's the traditional Earl Grey flavor profile, but it just smells too good for me to worry about it too much at this point!

The jolting shriek of my modern timer helped me detach my nose from the rest of the dry sample, and attend to the fresh liquor.

Steeped, the color of the liquor falls between baltic and cherry amber. It's more pink than I remember seeing from other Earl Grey blends, which just helps it stand out that much more. The aroma is just as richly floral as the dry tea, but now the black tea is beginning to assert its presence.

The infused leaves smell nearly identical to the aroma of the steeped tea, with only a little less of the floral signature.

At first, I wasn't sure if the bergamot was going to be strong enough to create the traditional flavor profile of an Earl Grey. At first sip all those worries are assuaged. It's not the most prominent note - that honor goes jointly to the rosemary and rose - but it is definitely making itself known.

I just can't stop drinking this! There is little to no astringency, and each sip is smooth and sweet - beyond even the Sugar in the Raw that I routinely add. This isn't quite the straightforward Earl Grey that I'm looking for in the Battle of the Earl Greys project, so it won't be moving on into the bracket, but it's wonderful and unique enough to forge it's own place in our cupboard. I'm looking forward to making up a cup of this while I work on my next petticoat!

Prominent Notes: Lavender, rosemary, and black tea blend
Aftertaste: Rose and bergamot
Overall: Absolutely wonderful!

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