Lalani & Co ‘Supermuscatel’ 2nd flush darjeeling 2021
‘supermuscatel’ 2nd flush darjeeling 2021
Region: Darjeeling, India
Producer: Gopaldhara Garden
Season: 2nd Flush 2021
Batch: Ex25 (22kg)
Gopaldhara is one of the highest gardens in Darjeeling, sitting at 3,500 to 6,000ft in the Himalayan foothills. This exceptional producer is one of the few Darjeeling gardens to remain independent and family run, owned by Rishi Saria and his family. Lalani & Co have been working with Rishi and his team for about 10 harvests.
We’re pleased to bring you this first 22kg production from the recently planted section 5A of Gopaldhara garden. 5A was recently planted with Yabukita and Fujimidori tea plants, imported fr0m Japan. This was a huge surprise, given how well these leaves have captured the muscatel character of a fine 2nd flush Darjeeling (more on that in a moment). This batch was picked on the 14th May 2021. The leaves were outdoor withered (evaporation), rolled in a bamboo drum, and then indoor oxidised (browning). Following this, the oxidation was halted by heat, then there was a further round of rolling and drying. You may note that this is technically an oolong process, even though the tea behaves and tastes like a Darjeeling black tea.
The 2nd flush season in Darjeeling is roughly May and June. Teas from this season are characterised by a darker, richer, stronger profile compared to 1st flush teas. The particular flavour profile we’re looking for from this season is called ‘muscatel’. Many tea professionals will argue about what ‘muscatel’ actually means. I’ve had different answers from different garden owners. The explanation I’ll give you comes from the root of the name, which is the muscat grape. Darjeeling 2nd flush teas should have a grape-like character. Imagine eating a grape. The flavour starts off floral and sweet. As you drink more, the tannins begin to emerge and build on the palate, just as if you’re chewing the grape skin and seeds. Eventually you have a beautiful, well-structured, grape skin dryness on the palate. Fine examples of this muscatel profile are becoming harder and harder to find, such that we’ve had an absence of 2nd flush Darjeeling recently in our library.
This year, a 2nd flush makes a triumphant return with the Supermuscatel 2021, a fine example of a 2nd flush Darjeeling. The tea opens with honey grape and floral notes. This is followed by layers of aromatic wood (perhaps an influence of the Japanese plants), leading to a grape skin dryness in the finish which slowly builds sip by sip.
As a guide, we recommend 3g:150ml at 90°C for 3 minutes; although feel free to infuse it longer or shorter if you want more or less strength.
Storage and Ageing
While Darjeelings from the 1st flush season are best young, 2nd flushes are usually on fine form for up to 5 years. Store this tea in a cool dry place and enjoy by May 2026.