Ilam estate has a Darjeeling-like character with good muscatel flavor. Some may ask: ‘What is the muscatel flavor?' When you taste this tea you will experience an almost perfume-like character that some tea drinkers call ‘Chanel-like'; others call the Darjeeling character ‘slightly over-fired' or oaky. The muscatel flavor is the natural taste of the tea - becoming more pronounced during April (light tasting with astringency and intense flavor) and June (intense flavor with more body). The flavor occurs because of the altitude of the tea estate, the soil conditions in the Himalayas, the weather patterns, temperature, the originating species of the bush (Chinese genus as opposed to the Indian genus), and fermenting techniques. It has nothing to do with the tea being over-fired (over-fired is a description of poor manufacturing techniques). The leaf appearance is very typical of a well-produced high mountain grown Nepalese tea. It appears mottled with brownish and greenish leaf - almost camouflage-like. This appearance is caused the myriad of different mother bushes, the older age of the bushes and the subsequent fact that the leaves ferment differently.
The area where Ilam is produced is high in the Himalayan Mountains. The slopes are extremely steep, which makes it very difficult for the tea pluckers to go about their work. At Ilam, one is surrounded by the high, snow-covered peaks of the world's highest mountains. It is truly a very scenic area. The quality of this tea befits the tremendous efforts undertaken to produce the tea and the beautiful surroundings.