Sipdown no. 132 of the year 2014. A sample. Made in the gaiwan with short steeps starting at 15 seconds after a rinse.
In the packet, the leaves are so dark they look like black tea leaves. They smell a little like wood.
After steeping, they yield a caramel colored liquor that has a brisk, fruity aroma with a toasty, almost smoky note.
The flavor is more interesting and alive than the other dark oolongs I’ve had recently . (Those were all from Adagio.) I can see what they mean by the chocolate note. It’s not as strong as the chocolate notes one finds in black teas, but it’s there. It’s not a sweet chocolate, more of a dark beany one around the edges. Very nice. The fruitiness here is more complex than in some dark oolongs where you basically feel like you’re sucking on a peach pit, and that’s the single note stonefruit flavor. This one isn’t as woody/stoney, and is more reminiscent of the pulpy fruity part of an apricot.
It doesn’t change as much from steep to steep as I’d expect, but the smoky notes come out around steep three, as does a little astringency which is interestingly coupled with a soft mouth feel.
There’s a smoky, woody aftertaste. The steeped leaves are chocolate brown and have a mild woody scent with a sharp fruity note.
If I didn’t have about a thousand other oolongs to taste, I would put this on the shopping list as I think it merits playing around with a bit more. As it is, while I like it quite a bit, it isn’t completely knocking my socks off screaming “drop everything and buy me!”