I have had the hardest time figuring this tea out!
My first expectation was that it would be similar to a phoenix oolong or another dark oolong. However, it is more like a dark green oolong, in that the liquor is a light greenish-yellow (rather than amber, red, or gold); but like a darker oolong, there is little sweetness nor floral notes present.
The leaves are rolled (mostly) lengthwise, so they are still somewhat long (not rolled up like a ball, but more like phoenix oolong). They aren’t completely black or dark either, there is a slight hunter green hint to them. And they open huge, so it is clearly a hand-picked tea.
There isn’t a strong aroma present, I find mostly the more savory notes you might find from shaded tea, like gyokuro— slightly bitter, very slight marine, and an underlying sweetness that just refuses to come out as much as I’d like. The main flavor the tea leaves in the mouth is strange and unique, like squash or gourd vegetables. Later steeps often taste a bit overcooked, unfortunately.
Like I said, I’ve had a very hard time figuring this tea out; not only what it’s supposed to be like, but how to brew it. However, the more I think of it like a sencha or gyokuro, the more I’ve enjoyed it. I think when I recognized these similarities to other Japanese teas (after drinking and experimenting with most of the ounce I bought!), the more I found redeemable and enjoyable things about it.
That being said, finding a good Japanese oolong is something I’ll still be keeping my eyes open for.