I reached for this one this morning because I’ve seen a couple of great reviews of it recently. To be perfectly honest dark oolongs aren’t really my favorite kind of oolong; I tend to prefer the sweet, fresh taste of green oolongs over the roasted flavors. I still enjoy them ok, but they just don’t blow me away… but maybe this one will. :)
The dry leaf smells sweet and leafy; not green, but no distinct roasted aroma either. Of course, after brewing that definitely changed. The scent of the steeped tea is roasty, toasty grains like the other Da Hong Paos I’ve had. The first thing that strikes you about the sip is less the flavor than the texture, which is bright, crisp, almost metallic, or perhaps the mineral sparkle of high-end mineral water. The main flavors of the sip are what I would consider toasted, almost burnt grains. As the cup cools, a whisper of fruit plays in the aftertaste, which I definitely enjoy. Overall after my first steep I’m left with an odd, dry sensation in my mouth. The second steep is definitely less overwhelmingly roasty, even brighter and more minerally. I’m left with the feeling that this is no doubt a fantastic tea, but I really just can’t appreciate it properly. Big Red Robe Oolongs just aren’t for me! If this tea couldn’t convince me otherwise, I’m pretty sure nothing can.