Bourbon Chai Blend from Vintage TeaWorks

Bourbon_ChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Description:

Inspired by the rich flavors of Kentucky Bourbon, this chai tea is blended using a beautiful Sri Lankan black tea, organic cinnamon and star anise.  We then wrap our blend in honey creating sweet and spicy treat. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yeah, I know I’ve said it quite a few times:  I’m not much of a drinker of alcohol.  I prefer tea.  (That might appear obvious!)  So, I’m not sure what it was about this Bourbon Chai from Vintage TeaWorks that prompted me to order it as soon as I could when I heard about it.  Maybe it was because I’ve tried the other blends from this company and I was very impressed with them, and so when this tea was announced, it was one that I added to my must try list immediately!

The first thing I noticed about this new blend from Vintage TeaWorks is that they’ve changed their packaging (or at least, they have different packaging for this chai).  The wine-inspired teas from this company that I’ve tried came in tubes that resembled wine bottle tubes.  This chai is packaged in a shiny gold tin that was wrapped with a removable paper label that has been wax sealed in place.  Cool!

When I opened the tin and the inner cellophane packaging, I could see that the tea was kind of wet-looking and sticky, as though the tea had been marinated with soaked in honey!  The tea smelled of bourbon and spice with a distinct sweet note.  As the tea brewed, I could smell more of the spice notes developing.  The brewed tea smells lightly of bourbon and strongly of spice.

This tastes amazing!  It tastes spicy, but not in a hot sort of way.  It’s more like a spicy-sweet kind of taste.  It tastes warm and cozy, with a strong spice note.  The spices offer a very harmonious flavor.  I don’t notice one spice attempting to compete with others.  I taste notes of each spice, but one note doesn’t attempt to overpower others.  It’s a very congruous tasting tea.

The black tea is also easy to distinguish in the sip, and it tastes rich and satisfying.  And what I like about these teas from Vintage TeaWorks is that they’re incredibly creative.  They “recreate” the flavors by which they’re inspired, rather than being an ‘alcohol’ infused tea.  Here, Vintage TeaWorks has recreated the flavor of bourbon using spice and honey, and this tastes what I’d imagine a bourbon that has been infused with a chai tea might taste like.  This is a very comforting cuppa!

As I sip … I can feel the warmth of the bourbon and the spice tickling the back of my throat.  It reminds me a bit of when I used to drink whisky (I liked Jack Daniels and Pepsi, although I usually went heavier on the Pepsi than the JD) – the warmth here reminds me of that slight “burn” that I’d feel at the back of my throat from the whisky, although this is a gentler heat than that burn ever was.  I think I like this better than the JD and Pepsi … not just because of that gentle heat but because this IS tea and I can taste the tea and spices too.

A really wonderful cup of chai!  I drank it with a half a teaspoon of turbinado sugar to accentuate the spices.  I didn’t add milk or cream though … and I think that this tastes lovely as a non-latte chai.  I think it would also be tasty as a chai, although the dairy might soften the bourbon-like flavors a bit.

White Tea Riesling from Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Description:

Inspired by 
Riesling, we blended natural ingredients to create a white tea blend
 that is light, aromatic and playful. Honeysuckle, jasmine, apricot and 
lemon combine to celebrate a few of the unique characteristics of

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m no connoisseur of wine.  I could not tell you the difference between a Riesling and a Merlot, except that I think that the Merlot is a red wine and a Riesling is a white wine.  But even that I’m not certain about!  I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had a Riesling wine … because I don’t even know if I ever have!

But I am enjoying this White Tea Riesling from Vintage TeaWorks.  It’s very light and crisp and flavorful, just as I would expect a white wine to be.  It has a very enjoyable fruity foreground note of apricot that marries very nicely with the floral background notes of honeysuckle and jasmine.

The fruit notes are complex here.  The apricot is the strongest flavor, and it’s noticed not just in the taste but also in the delightful aroma of the brewed tea (as well as the beautiful dry leaf!)  I taste notes of lemon as well as hints of crisp apple in the fruit notes, as well as the subtlest whisper of sweet grape.  As I continue to sip, my palate tingles slightly from the sweet-tart notes of the fruit in this cup.

I think I’m enjoying the fragrance of this tea as much as I’m enjoying the taste, the apricot notes remind me of a homey, comforting apricot cobbler.  But examine the bouquet even further and I notice a beautiful airy, floral background that brings out the fresh notes of the fruit in a really lovely way.

The white tea marries very well with the other flavors, and becomes almost a seamless part of the wine-like tastes.  I think that is what makes these blends by Vintage TeaWorks so inspired – the tea bases that they select to blend with the flavors work so harmoniously with the concept of the wines they’re attempting to “reinterpret” through tea.   Here, the white tea becomes part of the wine flavor … just as it seemed to happen with the Chardonnay and the Merlot varieties… and the others!

As the tea cools slightly, I begin to really taste the wine-like connection with this tea.  This is really a beautiful tea, as are the others in the Vintage TeaWorks collection.  I have truly enjoyed tasting each of these teas … I recommend them highly!

Oolong Chardonnay from Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Description:

Inspired by Chardonnay, we blended natural ingredients to create an
 oolong tea blend that is full bodied with luscious tropical hints of
 papaya, citrus, and vanilla balanced with a touch of cinnamon spice.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Every time I taste teas from Vintage TeaWorks, I am more and more impressed by them.  They have truly managed to capture the spirit and essence of wine in each of their teas.  It’s amazing to me!

Of course, I’m not saying I’m any kind of a wine expert.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I know very little about wine  … in fact, in the last six months, I’ve had maybe four sips of wine … not even a full glass!  I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to wine.  Or any alcoholic beverage for that matter.  My beverage of choice is tea … and I prefer it without the alcohol, thank you very much.

But that does not mean that I don’t enjoy a wine-inspired TEA like these from Vintage TeaWorks.  This Oolong Chardonnay is remarkable!

When I opened the canister and started measuring out the tea, I found a HUGE chunk of papaya!  Now, papaya is not a flavor that I normally associate with wine … but then, what do I know?  Re-read the second paragraph of this review if you need clarification.

It wasn’t until I started pouring the tea into my mug that the wine inspiration really started becoming apparent to me.  I could SMELL the chardonnay as vividly as if I had poured a glass of wine instead of a cup of tea.

This has a very warm and cozy kind of taste and feel.  The cozy, warm feeling is a very luxurious one, like velvet.  The smooth flavor of the Oolong emphasizes that comforting kind of luxury.  The vanilla and the cinnamon are very harmonious:  the cinnamon gives a warm flavor without coming across as too spicy, while the vanilla is soft and creamy without coming across as too cloying.

I taste the hints of tropical flavor from the papaya and citrus fruit, but what I REALLY get a taste for are the flavors as described by Vintage TeaWorks:  I taste the essence of pear and butter, of melon and of butterscotch.  It’s really quite remarkable how well Vintage TeaWorks has translated the flavor of Chardonnay into this delicious tea.

It’s great for those of us who want to be wine savvy … without having to actually drink the wine.

Pu-erh Cabernet from Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Description:

Inspired by Cabernet Sauvignon, we blended
 natural ingredients to create a Pu-erh tea blend that is full-bodied, 
 dark and decadent with hints of black cherry, clove, vanilla and spice. 
 Like Cabernet, Pu-erh is one of the few teas in the world that ages

Learn more about this Wine Inspired Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m just a little hesitant when it comes to Pu-erh.  I’m getting better, certainly, but, the hesitation is still there.  Even after I’ve brewed the tea, and it’s in my cup sitting in front of me, there’s hesitation to lift the cup to my lips and sip.

But, I’m hoping that this experience will change all that, because this is WONDERFUL!  It is deliciously full-flavored, with notes of warm cinnamon and clove, soft vanilla, sweet cherry and even a hint of cocoa in the background.  It’s so incredible!

Yes, that earthiness from the Pu-erh is there, but it exists mostly in the aroma and not so much in the flavor.  I think that with the flavor, it sort of melds with the earthiness of the spices and cocoa notes, so, it is not at all peat-y tasting.  Instead … it tastes smooth and well-rounded and oh-so-pleasant.  I’m betting even someone who has sworn themselves off of Pu-erh would enjoy this one!

It has a mellowness to it, and it’s remarkably smooth … much smoother than most wines I’ve tasted (I’ll admit that I’ve not tasted any recently though!)  It is free of bitterness, and there is very little astringency.  It is smooth from beginning to end, and it is nicely round.

Rooibos Noir from Vintage TeaWorks

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Vintage Teaworks

Tisane Description:

Inspired by Pinot Noir, we
 blended natural ingredients to create a rooibos herbal tea blend that is 
light, fruity and fun, with hints of mango, blueberry, raspberry and

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to wine.  I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay … or any other kind of wine for that matter.  But I do like to think I know a thing or two about teas and tisanes!  So with this wine-inspired line of teas from Vintage TeaWorks, I get to taste something that I’m familiar with, and still explore something that’s outside my realm of expertise.  I like that … it challenges me a little bit!

The dry leaf smells like wine.  It has a strong, fermented grape kind of aroma.  And I can see big pieces of fruit and flower petals tossed in with the needle-thin leaves of the red rooibos, creating a very stunning visual presentation.

The brewed tisane still has a bit of the wine-like scent, but, it is significantly softer as a brewed tisane.  It still smells pleasantly grape-like:  sweet and fruity.

And this translates to the flavor.  It is deliciously sweet and fruity, with well-defined notes of wine grapes, with notes of berry and a hint of mango.  I love the sweetness that the mango adds without detracting from the overall concept.  It still tastes like a wine-inspired tisane, even though when I think of wine, I don’t think of mango.  This makes me think that the minds at Vintage TeaWorks must be geniuses!  The way they find just the right flavors to meld together to create such a unique tisane that is delicious served hot or iced.

I personally find this more refreshing as an iced tea – but, it has a very soothing, relaxing quality as a hot tisane.  Something that is fun to curl up with and watch TV later in the evening.

Surprisingly, I don’t taste much hibsicus from this at all.  I even steeped this for a full 10 minutes, and I don’t taste or feel the syrupy quality of the hibiscus, nor do I taste the pungent tartness of it.  I do taste hints of tartness, sure, and these can be attributed to the hibiscus… but they accentuate the flavors of the berry, grape, and mango so well that it becomes not a disruptive flavor but instead something that works toward offering the best flavor possible.

Also surprisingly, I don’t taste much from the rooibos here.  I do taste hints of nut and wood from the rooibos, but, it isn’t that funky, sour woody taste.  And there isn’t that weird sweet aftertaste from the rooibos.

This tisane makes me very happy, indeed!  I’m so impressed with what I’ve tasted from Vintage TeaWorks so far!  I highly recommend their teas and tisanes!