Production area: Darjeeling, Western Bengal
Harvest season: June
Cultivar: Classic China
Castleton is one of the oldest gardens in Darjeeling. It is composed mainly of Chinese trees from the 1860s, which give the teas produced here a unique character and complexity. In recent years, many growers have chosen to replant old sections with hybrids that yield higher volumes. This situation has created a controversy in the tea community; in relation to the importance of preserving at least some of the ancient trees. In spite of their lower productivity and slower growth, these trees are an irreplaceable resource in the production of quality teas. Their genetic qualities are the result of centuries of improvement in China, long before they were introduced to India in the middle of the 19th century.
Tasting notes: The dark-brown uniform leaves are sprinkled with golden buds. On infusion they release rich fragrances of walnut, caramelized figs and ginger-bread. The amber liquid reveals an immediate aroma of muscat grape that is typically present in second harvests. This aroma is carried through to the finish. The mouth feel is full unfolding a harmonious succession of malt notes reminiscent of brown sugar and cocoa. It is a full tea with a delightful aromatic complexity.
Recommended infusion accessory: A large teapot.