I have spoken directly (through e-mail) with the tea buyer for Intelligentsia about this tea, and his reasons for purchasing this particular crop are rather interesting. He is not a fan of the Anxi-style TGY’s, with their prominent floral notes, nor is he a fan of Taiwan’s increasing adherence to the Anxi standard. Luckily, he found a TGY in Taiwan that was processed in a more traditional way: a bit heavier oxidation, and more time roasting over the fire.
That said, this particular TGY is not typical of others of the sort. The roasty flavors really come through, and it is also very prominent in the aroma of the dry leaves. The first steepings yielded purely the flavor of the roast: hints of baked nuts, dark chocolate, and french fries. By the third steeping, the floral notes of the leaves started to come through. I found the third and fourth steepings to be by far the best. I got a total of eight steepings out of this tea, and it probably could have gone farther, if only I wasn’t all tea’d out. In the subsequent steepings the roasty flavors died out, and the floral and fruity notes became more and more prominent. I have found this to be typical of most good oolongs, even of the Dan Cong and Wuyi Shan varieties.
The look of the steeped leaves were nice and whole, almost no broken leaves in the pot. Truly the feat of a masterful tea maker!
Overall, I very much enjoy this tea. I may disagree with the Intelligentsia tea buyer (I prefer the high floral notes of Anxi oolongs), but I can still see the high quality behind this tea from pluck to cup, and I can at least appreciate that.