Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 86 ~ One Year, One Nose

Welcome to the wonderful world of tea. Nothing seems quite so aromatic and titillating as a box of exotic tea samples -- I suppose only if you are me is that statement true. You know how I adore opening a box of olfactory wonders. So tea. Lapsang Souchong to be precise, China black, organic, purchased as a sample from the Upton Tea Company (who, by the way, give generously sized samples and a huge variety should you choose to go completely tea-crazy on them). I've been drinking quite a lot of these 'sample' packets of tea from Upton lately. For example, breakfast was a wedge of plain toast and a mug of Chun Mee, China green, that was delicate and floral and sweet with nary a bitter edge, followed up by a mug (which I am currently sipping now) of Darjeeling TGBOPI (I'm not sure if that's a word or an anacronym, but just try to pronounce it) that is smooth and full-bodied and enhanced with a drizzle of local honey and a splash of cream. But I'm here today, day 86, to discuss Lapsang Souchong. My friend Tonie turned me onto Lapsang several years ago, she also pointed me in the direction of the Upton Tea Company. Lapsang Souchong is a smoked tea, and the wood used, pine, contributes to the resultant flavor profile as much as the black tea itself. This particular Lapsang Souchang is perfume note worthy. It literally smells of the wet tarry remains of a snuffed inferno. I remember my first cuppa Lapsang, how I hesitated taking that first sip, scared senseless that it would roll across my tongue like a steaming cow pie, just as it smelled brewed, and I'd have to go back to Tonie and tell her, "Ack! What the hell are you thinking drinking that stuff?!" But that didn't happen. It tasted strong, for sure, but it wasn't at all a flavor closely related to its scent. It was heady and dark with very little of the smoky tarry aspects coming through. And surprisingly, not bitter at all (unless you goofed and left the bag in the water too long). In a word, that Lapsang was smooth.

Lapsang Souchong, day 86 ~ burnt campfires, blackened barbequed beef brisket, cade, nagarmotha, choya nakh, all these things have scent profiles very similar to that of this well smoked Lapsang. There is even a strong barbecue sauce tonality to it, something honied and sweet, like burnt sugar. It's an appealing and repulsive scent at once, but I attribute that more to what the scent is coming off of rather than the scent itself. If this scent were wafting from a big hunk of barbecued tri-tip beef, it would be salivation-worthy, however coming off a packet of tea -- well, kind of boggles the brain. I opened this packet of Lapsang this morning with the intent to drink a big mug of it to give myself a bracing push to go out and meet the day, or rather, meet the J O B head-on. But when I smelled it, I thought, naw, I'm not going to drink this, I'm going to tincture it. So perhaps within the upcoming days (which could lead to months, or even years, you know how I work out my timelines) I will discuss the tincture of Lapsang Souchong, and what I put it into perfume wise.

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