Time to start making a serious effort to clear my seemingly endless backlog. I drank a sample of this tea late last week. I had heard good things about it and had meant to get to it sooner, but after finally getting off my lazy butt and trying it, I realized that I should have gone out of my way to make time for this tea. I found it to be an excellent Alishan oolong.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced gentle floral, grassy aromas. After the rinse, I detected defined scents of hyacinth, honeysuckle, magnolia, violet, sweetgrass, cream, and butter. The first infusion brought out subtle scents of coriander, vanilla, custard, and parsley. In the mouth, the liquor initially offered mild notes of cream and butter which promptly gave way to notes of sweetgrass, coriander, and parsley. A subtle touch of vanilla popped up briefly on the finish. Oddly, I could not detect any real floral character in the mouth at this point. Subsequent infusions offered the notes of hyacinth, honeysuckle, magnolia, and violet that I had missed earlier. The vanilla presence grew stronger in the mouth and the custard also emerged, though it lingered in the background. New aromas and flavors of Asian pear, lilac, green apple, honeydew, cucumber, leaf lettuce, cinnamon, rice milk, watercress, minerals, and sugarcane appeared as well. The later infusions were very mild. I mostly found subtle mineral and vegetal notes balanced by faint impressions of orchard fruits, flowers, and sugarcane.
Subtle and refined, but with tremendous depth and complexity, this was the type of Alishan oolong I had been attempting to find for some time. I greatly enjoyed this tea and actively wish I had bought more when I had the resources. If I get the opportunity to pick up more of this tea, I will most likely do so. For those who are considering giving this one a shot, it really is worth it. I recommend it highly.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Milk, Mineral, Parsley, Pear, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet