Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tea Review 60 - Khagorijan & Bukhial

Assam - Bukhial Estate
The Tea Smith

Assam - Khagorijan Estate STGFOP1 SPL
Upton Tea Imports

Sometimes you do get what you pay for. As I've been working my way through Assam Month, I've had the opportunity to taste about a dozen or more samples of tea from this region. I haven't always found a correlation between price and taste, as a few of the more modestly priced items turned out to be surprisingly good.

But in the case of the Khagorijan Estate there is a correlation between price and flavor. This is one of two teas from this estate that Upton offers. Of the 60 Assam varieties that they currently sell it's the sixth most expensive, just a few notches behind the Khagorijan Estate GFBOP CH SPL, the third priciest.

And it's well worth it, I should add. I'd rank this one at the top of the Assam heap - so far. I'm not too swift when it comes to devising those clever descriptions of what teas taste like, so I'll quote from Upton's clever description - "a top selection with an elegant, flowery aroma and complex flavor profile. The subtle layers of fruit and maltiness are balanced with a gentle pungency, creating a superb cup."

That works for me. A superb cup, indeed. As far as I can tell, from doing some cursory research, it's a superb cup that you won't find too readily. In fact, I didn't find any other vendors who handled it, though I didn't quite break my back looking for them either.

If you're up for another "superb cup" you should take a crack at Bukhial Estate. I obtained a sample of this one from the fine people at Nebraska's The Tea Smith. I'd rank it as only slightly less superb than the Khagorijan and roughly on a par with the Singlijan that I reviewed here.

And don't even think about spoiling the subtle flavors of these excellent teas with milk, sugar and all that rot. Or, if you absolutely have to, keep it to yourself. I don't think I could take it.

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