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Recent Tasting Notes
The first thing I have to say about this tea is whattttt thhhheee haiiiillllllll this is so goooodddd!!!! This tea is unbelievable I can’t even begin to describe it. So many complex flavors going on. The one that really stands out to me is how incredibly floral it is. On the Whispering Pines website there is a description of gardenia…. That could not be anymore accurate I seriously thought that I had accidentally poured my scented oil into my cup (oil burner sits very close to my tea cups) but I didn’t, trust me! But wait, it gets better. On the initial sip my mouth is happily greeted by a smooth mouth feel and intensely sweet honey and malty flavor. Incredible. So good that the flavor is giving me euphoria and setting off endorphins in my brain! Whispering Pines deserves a trophy for this one. Like every tea I have ever order from them is another amazingly delicious, flavorful, and high quality tea from Whispering Pines… Oh yeah, and did I mention how beautifully gold the tea is?
Flavors: Floral, Gardenias, Honey, Malt, Sweet
A little pretentious?
Sure…you don’t name something Ambrosia if you’re lacking confidence. And this tea is everything…and then some.
The look, the color, the smell, the taste, it’s all heaven. Angels signing in my cup. Mozart’s requiem. Powerful stuff.
The brew is a crimson liquid gold…Oh Dian Hong, how I love you.
The addition of handcut vanilla (side bar: did I write “handcut”? Yes I sure did! This is no vanilla flavor, it’s vanilla. Period. No extract, no essence. Vanilla. Pure. In its original form, just like in all the WP blends. This fact needs to be mentioned and appreciated. End of side bar)
So yeah, as I was saying, the addition of vanilla brings undeniable distinction and sophistication.
The first sip and I’m like “hello, maple syrup”! If like me you’ve added a tad of maple to your black tea from time to time, you’ll get what I’m saying.
It’s sweet and malty. A maltiness that makes me so happy.
It’s a bit woody, and fruity…I get some cherry notes, but it’s very subtle.
If you wonder how it compares to the other Vanilla Dream black tea blends, this is what I have to say in a nutshell:
Golden Orchid is gooey fudge, Cocoa Amore is chocolate covered cherries, Elderwood is floral vanilla and Ambrosia is maple malt. There.
B-Boy, you couldn’t have chosen a better name for it…this is tea for the Gods, it’s blended to purrrfection.
Now I need to hit the “shitload” order button again….sigh.
So. I really never thought I’d be saying this to be honest. Well, at least not this soon in my tea journey. But…guess my journey is full of surprising discoveries!
I really like this white tea. I totally would buy this white tea.
I really don’t get why some people love white teas. Like they aren’t amazing. To me, most of them taste like hay. It sure beats how most green teas taste like grass, but still, hay??? I never really got the appeal of hay flavored teas.
I was kinda just expecting this to taste like hay like the other white teas did.
While this one did have hay notes, there also was a lot of malt in it, which doesn’t seem like a white tea at all! It kinda felt like a black/white tea combo. And to make it even more weird, there were sweet melon notes in the background of every sip!
Seriously such a weird tea-I don’t even understand! XD
But it was good. I tried this yesterday and I’m STILL surprised by how much I enjoyed it! :D I think I might have to buy this one :O
So so weird. My likes/dislikes are just so out there sometimes haha!
Anyway, many many thanks to the lovely Cookies for sending me a sample of this! :D
Flavors: Hay, Malt, Melon, Smooth, Sweet
Thank you Blodeuyn again for this :) This will be the last sample.
I was saving the best for last. This tea was promoted to be the classic of the company, and this is what put them on the map. I knew it would be good!
The aroma coming from this package was amazing! These leaves carry the scent of a true vanilla. I define a true vanilla as one that is not a sugary sweet flavor that is often associated with the color white, but a bold dark taste that is a balance of sweet and malt. I brewed this dessert in my glassware western style. I didn’t wish to use gongfu on flavored teas. My glass gave off an enticing cloud. It was a floral vanilla but with an undertone of oiled fine wood. I took a sip of this delectable treat, and I now know why this is so popular. The flavor started as a smooth syrup with a honey mouthfeel. The flavor was dark mahogany with a sugarcane sweetness. This flavor continued into various others, ever changing. I could hint at dried plums, black cherries, and a slight floral. This bouquet of flavors was wrapped up in a complex blend. The finishing taste was that of the true vanilla side by side with a tone of milk chocolate. I also indulged in my shortbread cookies (website recommended) which maximized the flavor. This brew carries some amazing flavors, and it lasts well into multiple steeping.
I am never a person for flavored teas, especially when they are sweetened. I think they taste too artificial, or the flavors masks the actual tea. This blend I believe was done right, exceptionally right. I guess I should never say never :)
Flavors: Dark Wood, Plums, Vanilla
Thank you blodeuyn for this beautiful tea!
This is a strange (in a good way) brew for me. I saw these gorgeous curls on the website and knew I wanted them. I love Yunnan Blacks! I especially love the golden ones. I was lucky to have been given this, so I brewed with anticipation.
I opened the package to take in the scent of these snails. I was hit with a whiff of an anise sugar cookie, or an italian cookie for those that know what I’m talking about. It reminded me of the ones my nannie used to make when I was younger. I used my mini gaiwan for these little guys. I washed the leaves and then brewed in 15, 30 alternating second intervals (5,15,30,60,75…). The aroma of these critters was amazing! I was surrounded by sweet maple and malt syrup. I poured out my cups and drank it in. The initial sip was surprising. I expected a Yunnan malt and with a background of sugarcane sweetness. Instead, I was greeted with a crystallized honey mouthfeel and slight undertone of maplewood. This brew was incredibly light and fluffy. I expected the malt to come out in later brews, or I thought even the baked bread flavor would show. I never experienced these classic Yunnan flavors. I loved the atmosphere this tea created. This is why this brew was strange to me. I am in no way complaining haha. I actually added more leaves in my gaiwan in mid brew. I thought I might have underscored it the first time. I guess thats just how this brew is. The wet leaves gave me my dose of malt that I needed. The malt and bold flavors must of been trapped in the steam; because my tea room had a heavy mood. I love this tea, and I think it would be a perfect crowd pleaser. I’ll have to break this out at the next gathering :)
Flavors: Maple, Winter Honey
Included as a sample in my last order. Thanks Brenden. (:
This tea opens with notes of wildflower, fruit, and mild chocolate. The chocolate notes intensify mid-sip, joined by cream, malt, and a light grain flavor. There is fruit again in the finish—apricot or golden raisins, maybe—along with notes of wood. The mouthfeel is silky and clean with no astringency. It doesn’t feel heavy in the mouth. It’s light, mellow, and “fresh” feeling. It’s perfect for this time of day, because I think something heavier would unsettle my stomach. The second steep brought out some thick honey notes that reminded me a bit of WPT’s Golden Snail. I think I prefer Golden Snail, to be honest. It’s a bit thicker tastes more like buttery bread. This is certainly a good tea, and very high quality—just not my favorite from WPT!
First steep: 3min
Second steep: 5min
Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Cream, Flowers, Grain, Honey, Malt, Nectar, Smooth, Stonefruits, Wood
This is new. Thank you Tea Hobbit for letting me try it.
I know it’s a mission at Whispering Pines to search for the finest teas, the best among the best.
This tea represents just that. Mission acccomplised.
First sip and I’m in awe.
So sweet, it reminds me of barley sugar candies.
It’s a malty cup, creamy smooth with no astringency. It tastes a little bit like wheat to me.
It’s woody but not smokey at all wich I appriciate a lot.
It’s slightly fruity, I get stone fruit at the end of the sip.
It feels powdery and syrupy in the mouth, nice body.
It’s so good, I need to buy a shitload of it. Yes…more. Please and thank you.
Don’t be afraid to get this one dear tea lovers :-)
On a side note, a friend brought me to this amazing Chinese gift shop today and I found the most beautiful statue to decorate my tea table…she blessed my tea session today I think.
Thank you Bloeduyn for this spectacular blend!
I received this by accident actually, hahah. This blend was confused with Elderwood, which I will hopefully stumble across someday. Upon tasting, this was a wondrous mistake and I’m very glad that it happened!
I brewed this in my glassware and prepared for what I assumed to be a chai. I gave the dry leaves a light whiff and was surprised by a dark fruit chai. I could hint a currant tone. The boiling spring water hit this leaves with a light sizzle. My cup released vapors of a autumn walk in the woods at dusk. I could scent a sweet caramel and sap aroma. I took a testing sip and analyzed my senses. I thought of an early morning breakfast in the forest. I could taste the buckwheat pancakes stacked high as the sun rose. The hot syrup poured over these caked wafted in the air. This sweet maple tone then turned into a slight spice. It was a hearty clove and brisk cinnamon. The finish was the currant I had noted earlier. It was a ripe berry rush that surrounded the aftertaste. It has a deep undertone of root and moss. The second steeping had the flavors swapped. I tasted spice dominant with undertones of the sweetness. I enjoyed this brew and the places it took me.
I think I have a new favorite company. So far, I have vocalised a “wow” sensation every steeping of each blend. I had a feeling that this company had some choice tea, but I didn’t quite know until I experienced them. I am fascinated with their creativity and description. I love the work that goes into these and the thought that follows.
I like it :)
Flavors: Black Currant, Caramel, Maple, Maple Syrup
Continuing on with my chocolate heavy black tea day…
This is another sample I received from Dexter ( Thank you!).
Deep chocolate and so smooth… oh, this is good.
I did this one western style just like the other black today, since I haven’t had the time to sit down with my gaiwan. It’s so weird to not be using it, but at the same time, it’s really nice to have a full mug of something.
Yeah, this tea is definitely something I love… and, I do get that graham note that’s mentioned… it’s delicious. :D
Thanks so much for such a generous sample of this, Dexter! :D
This tea is earthy and malty, while being fruity and bright at the same time, which makes for a really fun sip. I’m really enjoying everything that is going on in this cup. I brewed this one up western style, but I’m thinking I’m going to use my gaiwan next time, thinking all these flavours would be really interesting that way.
Thank you Blodeuyn for this!
Oh frabjous day, finally a blend I can brew Gong Fu! Once I heard of this blend I knew that I had to try it. I am a sucker for creativity, and I love it when companies come up with these amazing titles. I like to sit, sip, and escape in my mind to wonder about the inspiration. I believe it adds to the tea experience.Anyways, I open this long anticipated package to the aroma of muscatel, sweet plums, and stone fruit. I sat and took in this complex scent. The long tendrils were a deep purple and blood red. They wore a small crystalline coating. I brewed these knots in my mini travel gaiwan. I washed the leaves once to allow them to breathe. I then brewed under the parameters of 10,20,15,25,30,50… second intervals. My spring water touched these leaves and released an enticing atmosphere. I breathed in the steam, inhaling the scent of dark cherry, black chocolate, and buckwheat honey. This tea was bold, yet it had a smooth composure. I drank in the complexity of this treat. The initial sip was a hearty sweet potato alongside a silk chocolate. This taste progressed into a slightly darker fruit tone. The aftertaste concluded as a sheng mouthfeel. I could feel my head rising with this brew. I actually did “wow” aloud. Upon finishing my first steeping I inhaled the wet leaves to explore their aroma. They had a deep malt scent with a slight tinge of spice.
This truly is another well rounded blend by this company. I am very impressed. I enjoy most from this brew the fact that the flavor does not simply stay as one solid flavor. This flavor develops by each second. I can distinctly feel the complex tones change and progress. I am very excited to continue exploring this tea and others by this company.
Flavors: Malt, Muscatel, Plums, Sweet Potatoes
Thank you Blodeuyn so very much for this!
I have been stalking this company for quite some time. It saddened me at the fact that most of their teas were sold out. Luckily, a tea friend came to the rescue!
I opened this small package and gave a slight inhale. I experience an enticement of wild berries, waterfalls, long luscious forests, and smooth river stones. I am immediately caught in its spell. I revealed the small variety of pebbles. This one is an emerald, this one a ruby, this one a smooth clay chip. I placed my discovery into my basket and brewed. The aroma that arose from my glass transported me back to that waterfall. The steam rises with the scent of a forest in full spring. The peridot colored liquor dances in front of me as I enjoy this treat. I may not be the largest lord of the rings fan, but I know magic when I taste it. The initial sip was a complex massage. A sweet tree sap engulfed my senses, then followed by the succulent water side berries. This complex tone developed more and more. It carried me through the lush forests and down the springwater. The aftertaste was an intoxicating sensation. It is placed as an exotic vanilla with such depth. The flavor continued and lasted well over the brew. The unfurled leaves created an atmosphere of tranquility. This name is truly fitting of this blend.
I am not a blend/flavored tea drinker. I have rarely enjoyed anything that isn’t straight natural tea. This brew has definitely changed my mind. My only complaint is that the leaves; however beautiful that they are, do not match those pictured. I am okay with this and can understand marketing enough, hahah. I’m grateful to have acquired it. I needed a little magic in my day.
Flavors: Berries, Cedar, Rainforest, Sweet
I decided to brew this one gongfu style, following Brenden’s instructions online.
It opens with notes of cream, soybean, and oat. The first few steeps are lighter on the tongue and as I continue steeping it gains thickness in body. It becomes more buttery and vegetal, developing some light butterscotch-caramel tones. The finish is clean and a little grassy. Unfortunately, with each infusion I can’t help but notice the bite of astringency. It only seems to intensify. Those who read my tasting notes know that I’m not overly fond of green teas. I’m not particularly fond of astringency or bitterness, either, though sometimes I can ignore it. This is a case where it becomes impossible to ignore and it kind of ruins in the experience for me. I’m really sensitive to bitterness. It’s a shame, because I like the flavors I’m finding in this tea. I’m just finding it very hard to get past the bite. Maybe I should pass this one on to someone who likes greens more than I do. To me, it tastes very similar to Laoshan Green, though perhaps a bit lighter.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cream, Grass, Oats, Soybean, Vanilla, Vegetal
Prepared this gongfu-style with a ceramic cupping set. I followed the online brewing instructions with a 10 second rinse beforehand. Because I don’t have a scale, I measured out around 1.5 tablespoons of tea to 4oz of water. The measurements aren’t exact.
Oh my word, this is a good tea. It has notes of brown sugar, cocoa, raisins, nuts, caramel, wood, and wet earth. I didn’t notice a drastic difference in flavor from cup to cup. Nearly every flavor mentioned was present, just in varying intensities. The liquid is rich and full, silky, thick. It is decadent and sweet. There are some slight vanilla and cream undertones, though they’re not immediately apparent. The first few steeps are more earthy than the later steeps which are pure sweet, nutty, dessert-like goodness. Excellent qi in this one. I’m floaty and tea drunk on a lovely Sunday evening. Not a care in the world…
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Nuts, Raisins, Vanilla, Wet Earth, Wood
From the Sheng and Shou TTB.
Prepared gongfu-style with a ceramic gaiwan. I followed Whispering Pines’ instrucitons: one five-second rinse, then steeping times at 30, 15, 30, 45, 120, 300.
I experienced the aroma the way Whispering Pines recommended. Earthy notes fill the hot bowl, after letting the dry leaf sit in the moisture for some time. Following the rinse, the wet aroma gives off loam, sugarcane, and a bit of mushroom. The sessions finishes with freshly baked raisin bread, and then finally raisins and plums.
The liquor is dark amber early on. Longer steeps yield a more coffee-like color. Right of the bat, this shou is thick and creamy, full-bodied, and incredibly rich. Because I had to rush the session, thereby drinking all six cups within a span of two hours, it made me feel sluggish, and my stomach felt really full. Not just because I’d want to savor it, but the next I drink I need to space out each cup so that I don’t feel like I’ve eaten a huge chunk of triple-layered chocolate mousse cake in fewer than five minutes. Wowee!
The first infusion is very sweet, tasting of pure sugarcane and a little earth, with a chocolatey finish. The second is more earthy, and mushrooms first appear in the third, where I envision toadstools, covered with some dirt, in the middle of a damp rainforest. Sweetness returns in the fourth and fifth infusions – maple syrups, caramel and cocoa. The session would have great to end there on those notes, since I’m a dessert last kind of person, so I was caught off guard when the mushrooms again make their appearance in the sixth and last infusion. I loooove cooked mushrooms. These ones at first were sauteed, and then were those from cream of mushroom soup.
The descriptions I read in the past are not a lie. The cake is genuine. And speaking of cake, when this shou going to be sold again, I’m grabbing one.
This is the tea I was most looking forward to trying. The expense put me off for a while…then it was the difficulty of placing an order before it was all snagged. Well, time to splurge, I say. I regret nothing. (Except for not buying more.)
The dry leaf smells like creamy, chocolatey gelato. It’s like chocolate infused whipped cream: smooth and sweet with the scent of custard and vanilla. I followed the instructions for western brewing. The taste is very close to the aroma. It’s silky smooth and soft like a rabbit’s fur. There are notes of dark chocolate, custard, and stone fruit underscored by the gentle suggestion of oak wood and mushroom. The finish is sweet with ringing vanilla overtones and cherry-fudge undertones. The sweetness and malt lingers long afterwards: a reminder of whipped cream, cocoa, and flavors of pine. Not any single flavor is overbearing; they all work in harmonious balance. The second steep is equally rich and decadent. Cocoa, wood, and cherry dominate with notes of heavy cream, caramel, and mushroom in the background. It’s thick like pudding and incredibly smooth. It gets even creamier as it cools.
Wow, this tea is absolutely heavenly. It could give GO a run for its money, but I know I can’t justify buying this one in large quantities. Shame!
Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Custard, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Malt, Mushrooms, Oak wood, Pine, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla
My Whispering Pines order came in yesterday! It was a happy day. The past few weeks, I’ve been sipping down some of my favorites in anticipation of this order coming in. I was at work all day and I didn’t get home until late, so unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try any of my new teas last night. But today! Today is a good day for tasting. Let’s do this.
In the bag, the dry leaf smells intense and sweet like maple candies. The sweetness is offset by the deep, resounding aroma of mushroom, earth, bread, and wood—much like a shu. This makes me think it might do really well blended with a shu puerh. Followed the western brewing instructions, though I would like to gong fu this later. This tea tastes like maple syrup, brown sugar, mushrooms, wet wood, and cocoa. There’s a bready note that makes me think of sourdough rolls or pancakes. It’s also slightly tart, like stone fruits—plums, raisins, cherries. The finish is oaky and a little drying. It leaves a malty coating on my tongue along with the taste of maple. I didn’t find the blend overly sweet. The maple flavors are balanced nicely with earthy, woodsy qualities that keep it grounded. The base tea notes come through MUCH more strongly in the second steep. Maple is ever present in the background, but at the forefront you have grain, malt, dark chocolate, and cherries. The natural sweetness of the tea makes itself known. It’s clearly identifiable as the base tea for GO. It’s almost like fudge, and it’s so delicious. The finish here is juicy and sweet. Still slightly drying, with a taste like wood, but it’s drying in a way that makes your mouth water.
Gosh. I’m so glad I was able to pick some of this up. I don’t think it’s something I could drink all day, but it’s definitely good. Like many of Brenden’s teas it makes me want to take it hiking.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cherry, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grain, Malt, Maple Syrup, Oak wood, Stonefruits, Wet Wood
I should preface my review by saying that I have a nostalgia and a soft spot for Golden Snails (Bi Luo). A hero of mine introduced me to the tea and sourced a particularly delicious batch. I drank it all summer during my first year of becoming a teacher.
That being said Whispering Pines’ offering here is delicious. The batch is aromatic and flavorful and stacks up well against other Yunnan Blacks of similar varieties and production. It’s hearty and well balanced without being too strong. I was quite comfortable with the price, knowing the freshness and quality that I could expect from WP and Brenden. I’ve paid $.50 more an ounce for comparable Yunnans that were not as fresh or whose taste was less dramatic.
I’m finally trying out my sample (from Lindsay, I think?), and wow am I glad I did. This is such a unique tea.
The dry leaf smells strongly of sweet, fruity alcohol. I’m thinking brandy, a tawny port or some kind of liqueur.
Steeped, the tea soup has the same strong, alcohol fragrance to it, which carries through to the palate. In addition, there are also notes of Chinese medicine, dates, prunes, and lou han gou fruit.
This is definitely a rich and luxurious cup of tea. The ingredients combine in such an interesting way, that I don’t actually identify any of them in the flavour.
I don’t think I’d drink this often, but for a special treat, this is amazing.
Flavors: Alcohol, Brandy, Dates, Herbaceous, Plums, Red Wine, Sweet