In this question about tarragon lookalikes on the gardening stackexchange, I asked about whether I have grown a tarragon lookalike or whether tarragon can be tasteless if grown improperly. I added an update to that question today and I am hoping for a herb gardeners perspective in that community, but I also want to ask a different flavor (pun intended) of that same question but from a culinary perspective.
I have grown tarragon in the past, some 15-ish years ago and it tasted great. Last year I wanted to grow some and bought some seed, and have since learned it was Russian tarragon and not flavorful at all. So this spring I decided to plant some tarragon from those fresh cuttings you can buy at many supermarkets in those plastic clamshells or tubes. Great, no issue there except this: the tarragon I bought that was sold as a culinary herb, it also seems rather flavorless.
In doing more research I discover I may have been growing what's called Mexican tarragon which is in the marigold family, but considered a good substitute in areas that don't grow French tarragon very well. It's also called winter tarragon by some, I guess because it's available from the south during winter months.
So that's the background leading up to my question.
What flavor should I expect from each of these varieties? Is French tarragon really tasteless in comparison to this marigold substitute? Are my expectations for nice anise flavor too high for this supposedly noble herb? From a purist standpoint, I am incredulous and on the edge of outrage over this.