This was my last sipdown of 2019, a year I am so thankful to have put behind me. I am planning on making some big changes over the course of the new year. I say that every year but have already gotten to work on a couple things. Hey, at least I’m actively trying to make some progress for once and not perpetually getting bogged down in the planning stage. I am not at a point where I feel comfortable sharing any specifics here, but more details will likely follow over the next several months. Anyway, this was an odd and interesting tea. Of all the dancong oolongs I have tried over the last two or three years, I could not compare this one to any of them.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of lemon, kumquat, tangerine, sugarcane, cream, and butter. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, geranium, and yellow gardenia. The first infusion introduced a plum aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor expressed notes of cream, butter, roasted almond, lemon, and grapefruit that were chased by hints of tangerine, geranium, sour cherry, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of grapefruit, roasted peanut, grass, violet, wood, baked bread, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediate sugarcane, geranium, tangerine, and sour cherry notes came out in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging yellow gardenia and plum impressions, Notes of minerals, violet, roasted peanut, wood, orange zest, pear, baked bread, grass, and white grapes also appeared, and I was able to pick up hints of pomegranate, coffee, and kumquat as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, orange zest, butter, grass, lemon, baked bread, and tangerine notes that were underscored by lingering hints of cream, sugarcane, sour cherry, grapefruit, pear, kumquat, yellow gardenia, and roasted almond.
As you may have noticed from the above description, this struck me as being a very citrusy tea. Fortunately, it was not particularly astringent. The way this tea’s aroma and flavor components came together was challenging and truly bizarre, yet I do not recall anything striking me as being out of whack. Everything was actually balanced really nicely. Ultimately, I think I would just classify this as one of those teas that was not quite for me. The yellow gardenia (nothing like what most people would expect) and citrus characteristics were very interesting and satisfying, but I think I tend to prefer nuttier, sweeter Dancong oolongs over the tarter, more pungent styles. Still, I will definitely be trying more Huang Zhi Xiang in the future to get a better feel for it.
Flavors: Almond, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Coffee, Cream, Fruity, Gardenias, Geranium, Grapefruit, Grass, Lemon, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Sugarcane, Violet, White Grapes, Wood