The adventure is a big part of tea for me too. That's why I'm going to order some Strong Assam from Tea Source!
Myself, I've been looking for the super-Assam (super malty, that is) for a couple of weeks and have so far tried 24 samples, without a winner, though it has been a LOT OF fun. I've found 2 (maybe 3) that may be contenders. Warning: my palate has the refinement of a floor rug so the super-malt I'm looking for has to have the subtlety of a jackhammer.
Upton's Borbam Estate CTC BOP (TA21) is cheap and pretty malty. I've found that almost doubling the tea and brewing for 45 sec at a bit below boiling controls the astringency/bitterness and you can get a second steep from the same leaves. I was also pretty happy with their Nahorhabi Estate FTGFOP1 SPL CL (TA 93). "Tea Guy Speaks" liked this and another Upton offering a lot
I wasn't that impressed with his #1 rating, Hattialli, which he cites as Upton's most expensive Assam. Upton does now have a Duflating Estate which is even more expensive, which I tried and liked OK but would never buy more than a sample at over $130 a pound.
I also liked TheSimpleLeaf's Mountain Malt which I tried after reading Tess's review at
http://teadonism.wordpress.com/2006/09/ ... mple-leaf/
While it was clearly not my super-Malt, it had such a nice balance of other flavors alongside the malt that I may order it again if I ever finish drinking the enormous amount of Assam that that I have on hand now!
I've also found generally that a good malty flavor often seems to bring with it a bitterness/astringency that is too much for my taste. Of course, adding a little milk takes off this edge and gives a pleasant cocoa sort of effect, but I usually prefer drinking tea without milk. Another way to reduce the bite of even the cheapest CTC from the local Indian grocery store is to increase the amount of tea leaves, reduce the steep time, and maybe reduce the water temp a tad.
Also, if you haven't tried them yet, China Blacks, like Adagio's Yunnan Gold, can be wonderful adventure with malty, peppery, cocoa, and red winey flavors and usually with very minimal bitterness.