This tea is a rarer version of da hong pao, and the price reflects both this fact and the exquisite quality of the tea.
The scent of the dry leaves differs subtly from Harney’s less expensive option, foretelling of a sweeter flavor when brewed. The scent itself is anything but subtle, so one should inhale the dry leaves before making a decision to purchase this tea. The olfactory characteristics are reminiscent of what a combination of a Fenghuang Shuixian oolong and da hong pao may taste like (I may try this and compare and revert).
I tend to steep my oolongs longer than what is typically suggested but for this review I went with 175 degrees for 2 minutes, which was plenty sufficient to generate a robust light rust colored brew, again with an unmistakable aroma that suggests a hint of sweetness. The taste delivers – it is more complex and refined than the less expensive version, and somewhat sweeter, and it is this ‘dark fruit’ sweetness that I believes rounds out the cup rather elegantly. Downright sophisticated and close to parfait.