I’ll state right up front that I am not a fan of smoky/oaky flavors in any sort of drink, be it wine, tea, liquor or just about anything. As crazy it may sound I’ve never managed to get though a full cup of Lapsang as the smell alone turns me totally off. I figured I’d take one for the team and since I had received some samples, including this personal enemy of mine, the time was right.
The initial nose from the dry leaf reminds me of chewing tobacco, Copenhagen to be exact. Having never chewed snuff (well except one attempt in high school to be cool which ended in green gills) I make this comparison based on my father who has chewed for my entire life, and mainly Copenhagen. It is to me a smoky, earthy/mossy, and strange sort of sickening tinge of sweet. Brewed, it definitely lessens in intensity but is still all of those things and maybe just in my mind but I also think of bourbin. The taste is very earthy and slightly smoky like a charred oak barrel or maybe a smoky form of a weakly brewed cooked Puerh. The repeated infusions become less smoky and more (slightly) enjoyable as I go, and the third and fourth brewings were some of my favorites.
I can say again that this Wu Yi Star tea in the little nylon sachets is comprised of quality leaf and above average overall, and while not for me I’ve managed to down a number of infusions and today go back to another brewing to finish my post. It’s still never going to be in any top lists of mine though.