This is yet another of the samples I finished back in May, probably sometime during the second half of the month. Many of the spring 2017 rolled oolongs that I tried did not impress me as much as those from years past, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It displayed a great deal of complexity both on the nose and in the mouth, and it also displayed admirable longevity for a high mountain oolong.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the rolled tea leaves produced aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, sugarcane, cinnamon, and gardenia. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of steamed milk and violet. The first infusion then brought out subtle umami and spinach hints. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of cream, butter, and steamed milk that were balanced by umami, grass, spinach, vanilla, and violet hints. Subsequent infusions saw the nose become more savory and vegetal. Some stronger sugarcane aromas were also present, and I even picked up some fruity scents here and there. Gardenia impressions and stronger umami notes came out in the mouth alongside new notes of minerals, golden apple, pear, osmanthus, apricot, custard, coriander, tangerine zest, and pineapple. There were some subtle touches of seaweed too. The final infusions retained a great deal of complexity, offering rather clear notes of minerals, cream, butter, sugarcane, and pear that were backed by subtler, more fleeting impressions of spinach, coriander, umami, seaweed, and apple.
Though I would have liked to see a little more citrusy character and some stronger vegetal tones overall, this was still a very respectable Lishan oolong. I was not expecting this tea to be as good as it was either because the 2017 high mountain oolongs were so hit or miss for me. Fans of creamier, fruitier, and more sugary oolongs probably would dig this one.
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Butter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Gardenias, Grass, Milk, Mineral, Osmanthus, Pear, Pineapple, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Violet