Okay, I’m finally back. This schedule is killing me. Anyway, this was my most recent sipdown. I had to spend more time with this tea than I planned because I was never able to convince myself that I had the best handle on it. Normally, Mi Lan Xiang does not throw me for a loop, but this one I struggled with immensely. I’m still not entirely confident about the numerical score I’m giving it.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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 honey, peach, orange blossom, sugarcane, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and grass that were accompanied by subtler scents of geranium, spinach, and cannabis. The first infusion introduced stronger spinach and cannabis scents, though the spinach scent was the more dominant of the two. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, peach, roasted almond, orange blossom, and orchid that were underscored by hints of pomegranate, butter, grass, cream, geranium, and cannabis. The subsequent infusions quickly coaxed out aromas of violet, pomegranate, cherry, plum, butter, and lychee as well as subtle scents of earth, wintergreen, and wood. Stronger and more immediate butter, cream, geranium, grass, and pomegranate impressions appeared in the mouth alongside new notes of minerals, sour cherry, wood, plum, lemon zest, violet, lychee, caramel, and nutmeg. I also detected hints of wintergreen, watermelon, spinach, and sweet potato. As the tea faded, the liquor settled around somewhat amplified spinach notes and impressions of minerals, butter, grass, caramel, and wood that were backed by hints of honey, violet, sugarcane, roasted almond, sweet potato, pomegranate, and lychee. Bizarrely, green bean and vanilla hints appeared just before the tea liquor ceased to yield much flavor.
There was a lot for me to unpack with this tea. It yielded the expected Mi Lan Xiang aromas and flavors in spades, and though I have not mentioned it prior to this point in the review, the tea liquor displayed nice body and texture in the mouth. Unfortunately, there were some odd, predominantly vegetal aromas and flavors that were also apparent to varying degrees from the get-go that never seemed to be fully integrated into the whole and came off as distracting in a number of places. Overall, I would say the good outweighed the bad with this tea, but in my opinion, it was still something of a flawed offering. I feel there is no shortage of better Mi Lan Xiang out there.
Flavors: Almond, Almond, Butter, Butter, Cannabis, Cannabis, Caramel, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Cream, Earth, Earth, Fruity, Fruity, Geranium, Geranium, Grass, Grass, Green Beans, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Herbaceous, Honey, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Orchid, Peach, Peach, Plums, Spinach, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vanilla, Violet, Violet, Wood, Wood