931 Tasting Notes
I’m a sucker for hints of cedar in my less oxidized teas, especially when vanilla is in the mix. It’s the reason I bite the bullet and buy blends like Bellocq’s overpriced White Wolf. It’s also why I decided to order from Whispering Pines again, one month later. I’ve been meaning to try this tea for years. Also, no one told me WP carries Taiwanese Assam and Wild Mountain. Hello again, long lost friends.
It’s been a while since I read or watched LotR, but isn’t Rivendell essentially a spa retreat hidden away in the middle of misty mountain wilderness (with elves)? That’s this tea to a “T” (although, possibly minus the pretty elves). This cup and hot springs are meant for each other.
Main flavour notes are vanilla, cedar, fruity pear, vegetal somethings, floral fruit blossoms, cedar, citrus, frankincense (sort of like eucalyptus/mint but sweeter/muskier and with more tree resin). Floral berry aftertaste like cherry and/or pear blossoms and chocolate.
I oversteeped the second steep just a tad and now it smells a little like banana runts. Still good though.
Steep Count: 3
Flavors: Cedar, Cherry Blossom, Chocolate, Citrus, Eucalyptus, Floral, Mint, Pear, Pine, Resin, Vanilla, Vegetal
This is a fine oolong and I wanted to have a proper reflective sitting with it, but life often doesn’t go as planned, eh? I tried drinking it at the office (nasty water and not worth bringing nice teas there), at home, and now here. I’ve stretched this last serving over the course of three days, hoping I’d have time to savour it (nope).
First steep: grassy, orange blossoms, citrus, silky, almost creamy. Honey-fruit notes to finish that become more apparent as tea cools. (I got to here).
I guess I’ll just have to order more. Life’s tough.
Steep Count: 4-5, usually
Flavors: Berry, Citrus, Cream, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nuts, Orange Blossom, Stonefruits, Sugarcane
This sample was generously provided by Whispering PinesEverything about this tea tastes like delicious stout. The cereal. The chocolate. The sweet, almost syrupy, rich malt. Stout… I swear it has some carbonated fizz too. Beer vibes all around.
I don’t drink alcohol that often because even small amounts make me feel like crap, but I miss my old staple stout Dark Matter (Hoyne’s Brewery, Victoria, BC). It’s such a local favourite that I’ve see a few food businesses incorporate it into their products- the most noteworthy (to me) being Cold Comfort’s ice cream. I miss Victoria sometimes. (thank you for taking me to that happy place, tea).
Steep Count: 2
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Roasted Barley, Spices, Sweet Potatoes
I initially thought two things when I first tried this tea: 1) Holy Bergamot, and 2) Sil would not like this at all.
The Bergamot is strong but not enough to curdle milk. I wouldn’t normally add milk to a Dian Hong but this scented tea takes it well- Like a freshly baked citrus loaf, with sweet potato and butterscotch notes. Someone else mentioned taro root and that is spot on. I also get a marmalade finish, which sours into a red wine aftertaste (and man, is that noticeable after cooking with our old syrah tonight).
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Honey, Red Wine, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Taro Root
Something about this tea is too aritificial. Not sure if it’s the white chocolate, added sugar, or dairy (would’ve preferred this to be Vegan) but this coconut pie is more sour and cloying than I would like it. While it makes a passable latte, I don’t think it offers up much competition or innovation to the other coconut oolong blends already out there.
Flavors: Artificial, Coconut, Grass, Milk, Sour, Vanilla, White Chocolate
Omg, I was hoping to finish this off today but the rest of my packet went missing at work. BOOOOO. Because this was actually pretty for a flavoured oolong from David’s Tea; second steep was like a lemon meringue pie.
Wish I had picked up a little more (and taken it home). Why do I learn to like a David’s Tea offering just as they are discontinuing it?
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Tangy
Sample Generously Provided by Whispering Pines Tea Company
I’ve had this one before but this time around it’s hitting a sweet spot. Maybe this harvest is more to my taste than the one in the past. Maybe I haven’t had a Chinese black tea in my cupboard for a long time and now I’m latching on to the first one I try. Who knows.
One of my cups had delicious spicy-fruity aroma that reminds me of Verdant’s old Vanilla Citrus Spice blend (the batches that didn’t taste like dirt; orange, ginger, and cinnamon notes apparent). The taste throughout the various sessions were often starchy-sweet (banana, sweet potato), meaty-starch nut (chestnut), syrupy or jam-sweet (plum, marmalade, molasses.. possibly caramel? I didn’t get that much caramel except maybe to finish). Aftertaste is partially salty, partially sweet musky tobacco.
All in all, this is a pretty filling cup, with a lot happening! I’m glad I had the opportunity to give this tea a second chance.
Steep Count: 2
(2018 Spring Harvest)
Flavors: Anise, banana, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Ginger, Licorice, Malt, Molasses, Nuts, Orange, Plums, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Toasty, Tobacco, Yams
Sample generously provided by Mandala Tea
(I think this is the Golden Daylily although my sample was only marked as “Jin Xuan”, so apologies if it’s another variant).
I was baad about mindfully drinking this sample; I meant to savour and make note of it properly but it turns out this Jin Xuan is an easy drinker (aka- totally chugged it. Sorry).
I do recall that it was juicy, silky and somewhat buttery, although not to the extent of the scented Milk Oolong, which knows no equals in its richness and creaminess. There was one particularly noteworthy cup where this Jin Xuan transformed into an extremely happy mango pudding; that was one fine cup.
Steep Count: 6
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Mango, Smooth
Sample generously provided by Mandala Tea
This vibrantly green oolong is like drinking a silky bouquet of spring flowers. During various sessions I picked up notes of honeysuckle, clover honey, lilac, citrus blossoms, and… licorice to finish once? (the latter is probably the result of a White Wolf anise contamination but it was still lovely).
The enthusiastic garden display reminded me a tad of this ridiculously floral Gewürztraminer I once had. Like aforementioned wine, this turned out to be a happy pairing with Palak Paneer, Dahl Makhani and some garlic naan. Maybe I should try more floral-sweet tea with spicy food pairings in the future.
Steep Count: 5
There was always a long break between the first steep and second steep because I could never get into the first cup, even with a rinse. Consecutive cups were almost always better and more complex
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Smooth