Oolongs aren’t usually my thing, but Formosa oolongs have greeted me with quite a surprise. This is the second Bai Hao Oolong I’ve tried, although the first one I did was actually from China. Still confused about that. Anyway, it brewed up gold with a strong fruit presence that made it an absolute pleasure to imbibe. Not usually an oolong guy, but there are exceptions to the rule.
Legend has it that Oriental Beauty was bestowed its poetic name by the Queen of England, but it is also known as Formosa White-Tipped Oolong, Bai Hao Oolong and a whole host of other names. The good news is that Oriental Beauty, by any other name, still tastes as sweet. This Taiwanese, dark oxidation (around 60 percent) oolong is comprised of large, cocoa-brown leaves spiked with feathery silver tips. It has bold aromas of stewed plums and bittersweet chocolate. Oriental Beauty’s liquor is deep copper, with aromas of bold tannins, black pepper and old-growth forest. The flavor reveals the appropriateness of its name: it is maple-sweet with hints of cinnamon, cardamom and baked walnut-stonefruit tart. The aftertaste is lingering and lightly astringent, with cardamom spiciness, and the second infusion is less astringent, earthier and more deeply spiced than the first.