On Amazon (which is were I get offered most products for review), this is Prime-priced at $6.28/box of 50 bags. Also, if you are purchasing this, it's sold as as "add-on" item. It's also available as a loose tea in a tin. Other sellers have it for various pricing scales. If you do get this on Amazon, be sure to shop around for the best price and seller. My sponsor was good on delivery and packaging.
What's surprising is that Walmart prices are about the same or, in some cases, higher that Amazon for this tea. Wow. But that is only for this Lapsang Souchong. If you decide (or already know) that you like the Taylor brand, the Walmart prices for their other tea varieties is great.
Aroma, Taste, Packaging
As you can see, these bags are not individually wrapped. I don't like that. I have a little basket right next to my coffeepot where I keep packets of tea. I have to store these in a plastic baggy - espcially because...
The smoky smell is STRONG. When I opened the box, that campfire-like smell wafted out. I didn't really like that, but I said I would try it and so I did. (This smells much stronger than the Twinings brand from the last post, by the way. MUCH stronger, IMO.)
I brewed a cup using 1 bag. The smell remains strong, but doesn't get stronger with brewing, thank goodness. I went mostly by box instructions and let this steep for 4 of the 4-5 minutes. I don't have a thermometer to see if my water was right at the recommended 100c (or 212 Fahrenheit). To be honest, I first thought the 100c was a liquid measurement. I should have known better but I'm going to play the Sarc card here. Anyway, my teapot was screaming so I'm sure the water was adequately heated.
Usually, I use only 1 bag of Bigelow's and get a nice rich cup of tea. I was surprised that, in spite of the strong smoke smell, this tea seemed pretty weak. That's probably not a bad thing because I don't know how a stronger brew of this would taste. And the taste was not bad. Really. Shocking.
The tea has a weak black tea flavor with a sort of smooth or silky smoky feel that lingers. It's actually pleasant. Next time I brew some, I will try letting it steep a bit longer to see if I like it stronger.
I'm glad I got past the initial out-of-the-box smoke scent to give this a chance. If you are a true tea lover, this is worth a try. If you aren't kind of crazy about black tea, I would skip this. Or, I should say, I would skip this particular brand. I still have some other brands to try and I'm sure that there will be differences just like there are between the store brand black tea and the Bigelow's brand, right?
I give this one a 3.5 of 5 stars for flavor.
P.S.: I wrote these reviews over several days, as my fatigue and concentration allowed and just scheduled the posts. If I get the chance, I will be cutting open bags of tea to show photos of what the cuttings inside look like. I learned that serious tea drinkers take this into consideration which is why some of the prefer loose leaf/whole leaf tea. I will be scouting around for some freebies to review those next!