This was one of my sipdowns from around the first of the month that I just didn’t get around to reviewing here until now. Looking at the scores for this one left me a bit shocked. I was a little surprised to see this tea being scored so poorly because it was a more or less excellent Dong Ding oolong in my opinion.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 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 toasted rice, roasted barley, vanilla, and baked bread that were underscored by subtle scents of orchid and roasted nuts. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of cream, sugarcane, steamed milk, cinnamon, and magnolia as well as a stronger orchid fragrance. The first infusion brought out a clearly defined roasted peanut scent and aromas of honey and grass. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of toasted rice, roasted barley, cream, butter, vanilla, grass, baked bread, orchid, sugarcane, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of bamboo, spinach, honey, and magnolia. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of spinach, banana leaf, butter, watercress, custard, roasted hazelnut, and golden raisin. Impressions of steamed milk came out in the mouth along with stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of bamboo, spinach, magnolia, and honey and hints of cinnamon. I also detected notes of banana leaf, custard, cattail shoots, minerals, golden raisin, golden apple, seaweed, watercress, roasted hazelnut, longan, roasted hazelnut, orange zest, zucchini, macadamia, and pear. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cream, steamed milk, toasted rice, butter, grass, roasted barley, and sugarcane that were balanced by a complex mix of watercress, zucchini, roasted peanut, spinach, seaweed, macadamia, cattail shoot, longan, golden raisin, banana leaf, and golden apple hints before stronger macadamia, spinach, seaweed, and cattail shoot flavors emerged on each swallow.
This was a complex oolong with a ton to offer. It produced an exceptionally aromatic and flavorful liquor with tremendous body and texture in the mouth. Nothing seemed wrong with this one to me. I am not sure what others found to be so lacking about it.
Flavors: Apple, Bamboo, Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Custard, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hazelnut, Honey, Milk, Mineral, Nuts, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pear, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal, Zucchini