Alright, here is the final review from the backlog for the day. I finished a 25g pouch of this tea back around the third week of June. At the time, it was a tea I did not know much about, and unfortunately, I still know very little about it. I forgot to save or jot down production information for this tea before it went out of stock. All I know is that it was a spring 2016 tea, likely harvested in May, and most likely originating from a garden in either the Banyan or Zhengyan area. It seems that most of Wuyi Origin’s offerings come from one of those areas. I know that their 2018 Baijiguan is a Zhengyan tea, but since they source from both areas, I have no clue if the same can be said of this earlier offering. It seems likely, but I cannot be sure. Regardless, I found this to be an extremely high quality Bai Ji Guan. Like most Bai Ji Guans, I would not want to have it every day, but I could see this making a more or less dynamite special occasions kind of tea.
Predictably, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted grain, rock sugar, mushroom, honey, and raisin. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, watercress, longan, and wood. The first infusion brought out some faint dandelion and rose aromas along with a stronger mushroom aroma and hints of roasted chestnut and orange peel. In the mouth, the tea liquor opened with notes of roasted grain, mushroom, honey, and golden raisin before transitioning to showcase longan, wood, and roasted nut notes. Cream, butter, and rock sugar impressions then made themselves known on the finish. Interestingly, I failed to pick up any vegetal character. The subsequent infusions saw cream, butter, hay, and celery aromas begin to appear. Dandelion, watercress, orange peel, and rose notes belatedly appeared in the mouth alongside new mineral, coriander, hay, moss, lemon zest, popcorn hull, umami, grass, carrot, sour plum, and caramel impressions. The final infusions were soft, smooth, and subtle, offering lingering salty, brothy umami, mineral, cream, butter, roasted peanut, popcorn hull, wood, and golden raisin notes underscored by fleeting notes of coriander, mushroom, celery, lemon zest, and caramel.
I know the above description made this tea sound weird, but to be perfectly honest, Bai Ji Guan is kind of a weird tea. Fortunately, the strange combination of floral, savory, earthy, nutty, vegetal, fruity, creamy, buttery, and sugary sweet characteristics that this sort of tea typically offers works most of the time. I know that everything worked wonderfully in this tea. I would not recommend that a tea like Bai Ji Guan be one’s first Wuyi oolong, but if you just have to jump in the deep end with a tea of this type, an offering like this would be one with which to do it. Even though I swore that I would not spend any more money on tea this year, I now may have to use part of my next paycheck to acquire the 2018 Bai Ji Guan offered by Wuyi Origin. I just have to see how it compares.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Celery, Chestnut, Coriander, Cream, Dandelion, Fruity, Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Moss, Mushrooms, Orange, Peanut, Plum, Popcorn, Raisins, Rose, Sugar, Umami, Vegetal, Wood