I did something today that I rarely do, I spent several hours doing nothing. Even though I am disabled and really should spend more time relaxing, I can’t, I always have to be busy doing something even if that something is studying, painting, or just keeping my mind busy…I have never been one to just sit and watch TV, I am the type person who watches TV while also doing other stuff. Lately though I have been feeling pretty icky and really didn’t want to deal with another fibro flair, so I just laid in bed and relaxed. I napped off and on, snuggled the cat, and napped some more. It was surprisingly therapeutic, my pain is not diminished, but for the first time in days I don’t feel exhausted.
And so, with it being Friday, that means it is the last day of the Floating Leaves High Mountain Oolong Sampler adventure finishing it off with the 2016 Spring ShanLinXi High Mountain Oolong, ah ShanLinXi, you guessed it, another Oolong I love. What can I say, I drink a LOT of Oolong, my stash of it and Hong Chas are the biggest in my tea collection for a reason. A lot of my experience with this wonderful tea has been the harvest later in the year, so it is good to see the contrast between spring and autumn. From the first sniff I could tell this was a ShanLinXi, it has that to me iconic crisp alpine air, that blends morning fog, cedar leaves, and mineral notes. Alongside this mountainous goodness are notes of sugar cane, blooming tulip trees, and a gentle note of hyacinth and sesame seeds. A delicious combination to make my nose happy.
Gaiwan time! I originally used this gaiwan for red teas, but decided I had enough teaware devoted to that type of tea and decided this gaiwan wanted to be used for oolongs. The aroma of the leaves after the first steep is great, I say it smells alpine but really it reminds me of the air deep in the Smoky Mountains, you can smell the trees and the misty, cloud heavy air…it is kinda fantastic. Speaking of trees there are notes of blooming tulip trees, hyacinth, lilacs, and a distant note of apples. The liquid has notes of sweet snap peas, distant fresh peaches, sugar cane, tulip tree blossoms, and apple flowers. It is sweet and light, very refreshing.
This is one smooth steep, it has a buttery thickness but instead of being oily it is more smooth, like velvet. The taste is sweet and light, notes of sugar cane and sweet snap peas start it out, then it moves to sesame custard and buttery goodness, but the finish, well that is unique! Notes of fresh pears and gentle peaches with a lingering fruity, juicy, sweetness.
On to the second steep, the aroma is mountainous and blooming trees, on the very end of the aroma is a gentle pear and peach note that I am loving. Like the first steep this one is velvety smooth and light while being quite sweet. This tea reminds me more of spring than any of the others from this sampler, with notes of blooming tulip trees (seriously tulip tree nectar is so delicious) apple blossoms, juicy pears and fresh apples. With a gentle note of growing green mountainous air and snap peas, the majority of the taste is very sweet and delicately fruity.
So where the other two steeps were light this one really blooms. By the point the leaves have unfurled and wow, the aroma is intense! Sweet fruit, blooming flowers, and a touch of fresh green vegetation. The mouthfeel is thick and buttery while being buttery smooth, it compliments the juicy fruit notes and blooming flower notes wonderfully. I went in for many steeps MANY, I lost count. It is wonderfully sweet and refreshing and is a strong contender for favorite from the sampler!