The authentic Lapsang souchong comes from the Wuyi mountains of Fujian where the pine forests and heavy mist provide a perfect environment for growing the best tea. Of course, the real thing is very expensive, and hard to come by. So some varieties are of much lower quality and naturally much inferior taste. Some brands add smoky flavor artificially. But still, it's very possible to get a nice cup that's really enjoyable!
There are some great loose leaf Lapsang souchong teas. Personally, I like loose tea, but I'm often too lazy to bother so I buy tea bags - see the next section for Lapsang souchong tea bags. But with Lapsang souchong there really is an advantage in buying loose tea. Sometimes the tea is just too strongly flavored, too smoky, for some people's taste. Then, if you have the loose stuff you can mix it with a good black tea and get just a hint of the smokiness without it being overpowering. At least that's something we used to do as college students, could be it's cheaper that way too!