This was another of my more recent sipdowns. It was also a tea that was wholly new to me. I normally don’t think of oolongs when I think of Ceylonese tea and prefer to stick with the more familiar and readily available Ceylonese black teas while occasionally giving some time to a Ceylonese green or white tea, but when I saw this tea, I was immediately intrigued. I purchased it shortly after What-Cha listed it, but naturally, I didn’t get around to trying it until a little earlier this month. While I loved this tea’s unique and appealing presentation, it was not entirely successful otherwise, as I found the tea liquor to be a bit lacking in body, depth, and complexity.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a standard 10 second rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of the formed tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, malt, sweet potato, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of cream, butter, and sorghum molasses underscored by a subtle stewed tomato scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of sugarcane and candied orange. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, sorghum molasses, sweet potato, and honey that were balanced by subtler impressions of sugarcane, malt, brown sugar, minerals, pear, and roasted almond. The subsequent infusions revealed aromas of apricot, plum, tamarind, pear, and apple that were balanced by subtle baked bread scents. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of minerals, pear, roasted almond, sugarcane, and malt appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of apricot, tamarind, plum, apple, and lemon zest. Hints of baked bread, stewed tomato, and candied orange were also present. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, sorghum molasses, cream, malt, lemon zest, sweet potato, honey, and sugarcane that were underscored by lingering hints of apple, pear, roasted almond, butter, candied orange, and brown sugar.
This was a very interesting tea with a ton of longevity, but it was just lacking some characteristics that would have made it more appealing to me. As mentioned towards the end of this review’s introductory paragraph, the liquor was a bit thin and struck me as being slightly lacking in depth and complexity. At times, it also came off as being somewhat unbalanced, as the aroma and flavor components sometimes fought one another. This was also a very, very sweet tea. That may not be an issue for some people, but I often found the sweetness overwhelming. In the end, I am certainly glad that I took the opportunity to try this tea. I actually did enjoy it to a certain extent, though I also feel that its flaws were very noticeable and virtually impossible to overlook. Still, it was definitely not an offering to avoid.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Pear, Plum, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal