Sipdown no. 181. Another Life In Teacup oolong sample.
This one is pretty special. Unfortunately I’m not seeing it on the Life In Teacup site now. The dry leaves are dark brown and delicate looking, and they smell like your basic roasty highly oxidized oolong, including the sharp darjeeling-y note.
Steeped, they produce a clear, amber colored liquor, with a roasty, nutty (mostly hazelnut, I think, but also suggesting almond), stonefruit (peach, maybe?) aroma.
The flavor is, however, pleasantly unexpected. It’s not the usual roasty dark oolong flavor. It’s remarkably smooth and soft tasting, with an unusual sweetness to it, but not overly sweet.
I am not sure have had a Bai Hao before, but I am now a fan. This is one of the better, if not the best, Taiwan dark oolongs I’ve had.
I steeped this in the gaiwan at 195F for short steeps after rinsing, starting at 15 seconds and adding 5 second increments.
The first two steeps had the lovely sweet, rounded softness to them.
The third and fourth were a bit less sweet and more hazel-nutty tasting but still very smooth.
By the fifth, the softness was still there but there was also a little sharpening around the edges beginning, which I think heralded the leaves being about to reach their limit.
I went ahead and did one more steep after that, by which this was still flavorful but starting to taste more ordinary, for lack of a better word.
Still probably the best Taiwan oolong I’ve tasted to this point, as its rating reflects.
Flavors: Almond, Hazelnut, Smooth, Stonefruit