This was the first of current month’s sipdowns. I wanted to start February off with something a little different, so I went through my What-Cha hoard, found this tea, decided that it had been far too long since I had reviewed an oolong from Nepal, and then immediately tore into it. I found it to be a near excellent Nepalese oolong, though I found the body and texture to be lacking at times.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, malt, chocolate, roasted almond, raisin, and prune. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, wood, brown sugar, and blackberry that were accompanied by subtle touches of tobacco and cannabis. The first infusion introduced aromas of anise, violet, candied orange, Muscatel, and honey. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented me with notes of honey, malt, roasted almond, cream, prune, raisin, and wood that were chased by hints of brown sugar, tobacco, chocolate, Muscatel, and butter. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of rose, cherry, celery, plum, orange blossom, butter, cream, and vanilla that were accompanied by some smoky accents. Hints of hay, cannabis, roasted peanut, blueberry, and anise came out in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of candied orange and violet. I also picked up some hints of smoke, black raspberry, and popcorn as well as more dominant impressions of minerals, nutmeg, rose, vanilla, orange blossom, cinnamon, cherry, plum, and celery. As the liquor faded, I primarily detected notes of minerals, malt, wood, cream, roasted almond, and vanilla as well as stronger roasted peanut and hay impressions. There were also some fleeting hints of Muscatel, tobacco, cherry, plum, black raspberry, raisin, popcorn, nutmeg, and butter lingering in the background.
This was a strong and incredibly complex Nepalese oolong with a gorgeous mix of aroma and flavor components. I just wish that the body had not struck me as being so thin and the texture of the tea liquor had not seemed so lifeless in many places. One of the greatest things about Nepalese teas is the little bit of sharpness their liquors display, but I did not get much of that with this tea, and quite frankly, I found myself missing it greatly. I, however, did not miss that characteristic enough to score this tea less than 90. It was still a fascinating tea with a tremendous amount to offer, so I could not justify abstaining from giving it a high rating. If you are looking for an incredibly complex and satisfying Nepalese oolong and do not mind a couple slight imperfections, then this would be a tea for you to try.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Cannabis, Celery, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Blossom, Peanut, Plum, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Tobacco, Vanilla, Violet, Wood