When I first started visiting Todd & Holland tea merchants, one of the very knowledgeable sales people offered me a sniff of Lapsang Souchong Fujian Smoky #1. Wow, do you add Liquid Smoke to this stuff? I asked, inching up a few degrees on the idiot-o-meter. Of course they dont, but the smokiness of some of these teas is remarkable, and that smoky scent is achieved by drying the tea on panels above pine fires. The burning pine gives the tea a tingly taste, resinous, almost anesthetizing to the gullet, and full of flavor.
It took me a while to get up the nerve to buy some of this intensely smoky stuff, and last week I got a small pouch of Lapsang Souchong Wuyi Mountain, and it has a heck of a lot of personality. The T & H catalog describes its taste as rugged, and that doesnt mean harsh or abrasive, just very much there. Although it's more subtle and smooth than many of the other Lapsang Souchongs, it's hard to imagine anyone drinking this tea for the first time and not saying Oh, whats this? It gets your attention.
This afternoon, I had a pot of Wuyi Mountain and a spinach omelet with some bacon, and I thought the flavors worked quite well together. I could also see drinking this tea with a strong flavored meat, like maybe ham or venison.
Todd & Holland
7577 Lake Street
River Forest, Illinois 60305