The wet leaves have a potent gardenia and lilac scent with top notes of crystallized sugar and fresh citrus, akin to key lime pie topped with meringue. Ali San has a medium body and a creamy viscosity, giving a nice coating sensation and some butteriness along with lime citrus notes and a mild vegetal undertone.
High Mountain Oolongs first emerged in the early 1980s, after the lifting of the embargo against world trade with Communist China. During the embargo, Taiwanese tea makers made a fine living selling ersatz version of the Chinese green teas to Chinese expatriates in South Asia. With the collapse of the market for their inferior version of Chinese teas, in the early 1980s, a few intrepid tea makers from the nearby Dong Ding growing area experimented in the high mountains that form Taiwan’s spine. They found that the higher altitudes led to creamier and more floral teas.
It seems likely the cooler temperatures and reduced sunshine in the misty mountains stunt the leave’s growth, concentrating their flavors. The cloud cover may also increase certain amino acids that give the tea its heavier, creamier body.