Love it or leave it! With its robust, smoky aroma and peaty depth, it's no wonder lapsang souchong is prized by its adherents as the whisky of teas. This southern-Chinese specialty has a good smoking over wood fires to thank for its distinctive, full-bodied flavor.
The idiosyncratic flavor of smoke , earth and a hint of leather prompts Alexander McKeag to describe lapsang souchong as "a man's tea, deep and subtle and blended in some rugged place", in American author James A. Michener's historical novel Centennial. McKeag proclaims the tea to be "better even than whisky." Indeed, lapsang souchong matures well, just as fine whiskies, developing a soft, creamy flavor from extended storage. Originating from the famed Wuyi Mountains in China's coastal Fujian Province, some sources believe lapsang souchong to be one of the very first black teas. The tea leaves are smoked by exposing them to burning pinewood during production.