From the Bits and Bops Basket. This is another one with a name that sort of appeals to the imagination, isn’t it? You may remember that I previously had a tea, procured in the same way, by the name of Ancient Forest which gave me a similar experience.
Apparently this is a black, which sort of surprises me becuase the leaves are unbroken. They’re large and pretty and rolled a bit and all in all look identical to a dark type oolong. A little further investigation shows that in the Steepster info from Norbu itself it says the tea has been 70% oxidised. Well, there you have it. It is in fact an oolong and Norbu doesn’t have a proper grasp of the tea types. Tut tut tut. Norbu, for the record, if it’s not a 100% oxidation, it’s not a black tea. Regardless of the colour of the leaf. Oolongs do actually come in other shades than green.
Now that we have that settled let’s move on. The aroma of this is quite surprising. I’ve come to expect cocoa notes primarily from dark type oolongs, but this doesn’t have that at all. It’s sweet and a bit malty, but also sort of broth-y somehow. It’s a small note but it’s there all the same, lurking at the bottom of the aroma profile. Odd. That’s definitely a first for me.
The flavour profile is a bit odd as well. It’s sort of weakish and strong at the same time. The different notes in it doesn’t quite seem to mesh which gives it a watery thin topnote and something darker and stronger below. Like a sauce that separates. Given a little more time to develop, everything seems to come together again and I get a fuller flavour. That’s a bit easier to work with.
It still doesn’t have any of those cocoa notes, though. It has retained the sweetness from the aroma and a touch of maltyness. It’s not entiremly impossible that there’s a touch of raisin on the aftertaste, but it isn’t really much. It’s more an association than an actual flavour note. The jury is out on whether or not it’s there or I’m just hallucinating.
Norbu says that there should be a mild, pleasant astringency in this cup, and I can sort of catch the hint of a glimmer of one. If there is astringency to be found here, then yes, it’s certainly mild. So mild, in fact, that it’s almost not there. Not quite gone, but not quite there.
I’m finding this quite different from other dark oolongs I’ve had, and I wonder if I’ve hit upon a regional difference here. This one comes from Taiwan, where all other dark oolongs I know generally comes from China. This is the oolong that makes me wonder what the result would be like if someone in the Assam region decided to make a dark oolong. Or someone in Sri Lanka, for that matter. And what would happen if those two were blended?
In conclusion, it’s not the best dark oolong I’ve ever had in my life, but it’s a fully functional one.