I was really excited to try this tea, since I’d never tried an aged oolong. Also, it’s pretty weird to drink something that’s older than I am. I guess you could say I have a bit of a “thing” about old/vintage things. There’s a kind of power/stateliness to things that have been tucked away for years, that have been held and used by people years ago.
Not that this tea is THAT old, but for a tea it certainly is. :)
Dry leaves: The dry leaves have a bold, musky aroma of roasted chestnut, hickory, and musk. The leaves are small, dark, and silky and looking; rolled into small, tight pellets with a chocolaty brown color.
Brewing: When I poured water over the leaves for the rinse, they released a strong aroma liked meat being cooked on a wood-fired smoker. This tea needs to be steeped longer than most oolongs until it turns a nice red-brown color. When wet, the leaves a dark black and slick looking. They unfurl just slightly and truly look like “black dragons.”
1st steep: The tea has an strong but smooth and elegant smokiness not quite like normal smoked teas like gunpowder/lapsang. It tastes of oak, camphor and cinnamon with an underlying coconut note. The taste is rich, stately, and slightly reminiscent of whiskey.
2nd steep: The second steep has much less smoke, but is otherwise similar to the first. This tea is very buttery. There’s no detectable amount of bitterness or astringency.
3rd steep: The third steep has a savory flavor like slow roasted meat. There are strong notes of oak, with a new piney and milk chocolate flavors. The mouthfeel is smooth and heavy like coconut oil. This steep is slightly sweet.
4th steep: The forth steep remains similar to the previous, but reveals a deep, pu’erh-like sweetness.
5th+ steeps: Later steeps remained similar and gain more and more buttery smoothness. Around the eight steep, I need to increase the brew time all the way to about two minutes, but the tea remains strong. It begins to fade around eleven.
Reminds me of: The first time I played my violin, which belonged to my great great great grandfather. Like the tea, it was something completely new to me (I had no idea how to play it), but I could feel the beauty and power of the instrument. Its exciting to hold something completely foreign to you, yet so old and beautiful.