I slowly make my way into oolongs. They often come to me as being to sweet and "loud’, and as not having enough of malty backbone that I typically like in Chinese red teas. So, outside of Tie Guan Yin I was rather shy about blissfully swimming in the sea of oolongs. However, this Ben Shan considerably softened my guardedness.
It has a rich smell of tropical fruit, lilac and gardenia. I had it both Western and gongfu and it carried itself well in both. Creamy, sweet, mouth-enveloping, with a pronounced aftertaste. The taste itself keeps evolving with the subsequent steepings. Lots of fruitiness, spinach and butter, some spice and some vegetal notes. A pleasant pale liquor. There really wasn’t any area where this tea was appreciably lacking.
I know that Ben Shan oolongs are often considered to be less complex and exciting then, say, Tie Guan Yin and other more famous brethrens but it did not came out that way to me. And, as new and inexperienced I am to the world of oolongs, I can say with a certainty that this particular tea would not disappoint another relative novice like myself. Especially given its very accessible price.
It’s very possible that several months later, after trying a few other oolongs I will have to come back and lower the rating I am about to give to this Anxi Ben Shan but for now, based on the amount of pleasure I derived from it compared to the other teas I had tried up to this point I have no choice but put it in my personal 90s.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Gardenias, Melon, Molasses, Spicy, Spinach