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A Taste of Russian Nobility

January 31, 2009

Today’s tea: St. Isaac’s Blend from Upton

Adored by: goodtea

You might be well-acquainted with Earl Grey, but have you met his Russian cousin?  This cousin is a bolder and more mysterious, yet still quite charming if you take the time to get to know him.

St. Isaac’s Blend is a fine Russian-style black tea. The dry tea leaves smell like Earl Grey, but the bergamot is lightened by the scent of fresh grapefruit, so it’s not too perfume-y. There’s also the slightest hint of a smokey undertone to give it depth.

Once infused, though, the smokey aroma comes out more strongly, with the merest hint of leather. But it doesn’t completely overwhelm the citrus scent. The result is a little strange at first, but it smells like a Russian Caravan tea with a squeeze of lemon

Teas from Ceylon and China make a nice, solid base, yet the tea feels light on the tongue. The flavor isn’t as strong as a Russian Caravan, though, so it really tastes more like an Earl Grey than anything else.  Still, while the typical hint of citrus is there, there’s a richer, heavier note beneath it that makes this blend a unique take on Earl Grey.

If you like Russian Caravans and Earl Greys (like I do), then I definitely recommend giving this blend a try, though it does seem like it’s a little confused about what kind of tea it wants to be.  I think I might try blending in a bit more bergamot-heavy Earl Grey to see what happens. Probably also good if you add in some lemon, too.

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