332 Tasting Notes
I just got these in the mail – a couple of new Dan Congs from Canton Tea. Took me about a week to finally get to them, though. I had been so entrenched in Darjeelings of late, I neglected all other forms. So, I dusted off my trusty gaiwan and gave this a go.
They weren’t kidding when they said it was a floral and buttery oolong. On a blind taste-test, I would’ve thought this was a Taiwanese varietal. It’s very Li Shan-ish in some respects, minus the sweetness. Butter and flowers (lotus blossom, maybe?) dominate the profile. Normally, I would subject each infusion to their own notes, but the flavors remained fairly consistent throughout.
It’s not as tart as aged Dan Congs (which I like), but it’s still quite exquisite.
Backlogging a bit…
On one of my all-to-regular Monday visits to Smith HQ, I had the pleasure of trying this. It was my first Darjeeling of the 2012 batch, and – boy – was it different. Where most first flushes taste like spring leaves and spices, this had an added toasty element I didn’t quite expect. With the spicy-grape and leafy underpinning, this was a more-than-pleasant intro to the new Darjeeling crop.
Like a lot of the Devotea’s teas I’ve tried, this had the same malty underpinning with a smooth – almost floral – delivery. This, more so, though. Likely to match its namesake. Not quite as robust as the 1910, but a little more refined than Finbarr’s Revenge. This one’s a sneaky mistress.
It’s been awhile since I’ve imbibed a good English Breakfast, and this certainly qualifies. The dry leaves smelled like both Assam and Keemun, but I’m not sure Keemun was used due to how light the liquor brewed. On taste, it was smoky, malty, smooth, and somewhat forest-like on the finish. Not quite Petersham excellence, but still up there.
A blogger friend of mine sent me three blends of his own devising. The first that caught my attention was (naturally) the smoky one. What was funny about the blend is that I found green oolong in the midst – highly unusual. This is a very gentle Russian Caravan variant. It was both smoky and floral with a smooth underpinning of malt and tobacco. A very manly hug of a morning cup.
This marks my second first flush of the new year. And, wow, what a cup. This had all the trappings of a Darjeeling first flush, but with the added burden of a tannic mouthfeel on the finish. It was all spices, grapes, and greenery the way through. The character was more in line with a Darjeeling oolong than a normal OP. Simply superb.
Their description was rather apt. Fans of Golden Yunnans WOULD love this. I happened to fall fairly squarely in that category. This was the second Golden Bi Luo I had ever tried, and they seem to echo the same characteristics as Yunnan Golds…only sharper. It was creamy when it had to be, malty to a point, and earthy with a dash of pepper. My only real complaint was that introduction was a little too sharp and tannic. That said, still an excellent cup.
I felt like a Sikkim this morning. Heck, I always feel like a Sikkim. Sure, it’d been awhile since I had it, but it felt like a Temi sorta day. Just like the last two times I dipped into this, it brewed amber, had a Darjeeling-ish spicy note to it, but also possessed a fruity underpinning. Great way to start the morn.
My only regret is I never got to try a Temi 2nd Flush in 2011.