Definitely interesting to see what kind of dark oolongs Japan produces. The flavor reminded me of Tie Luo Han Chinese oolong. Roasty and nutty, with some cocoa and fruit notes. Most noticeable, however, is that interesting pleasant sourness that TLH has (I called it “blue raspberry” in my TLH review – basically an underripe raspberry or sweet grapefruit flavor that produces a very pleasant sweet/sour flavor). Anyway, very engaging flavor profile – plenty of complexity.
However, it does lack the staying power of Tie Luo Han. After infusion #4, it started petering out. The leaves are small and give up their flavor very quickly. Keep steep times short for the first three infusions, and don’t bother rinsing it.
It would be interesting to brew this up at lower temps and longer steep times just to see what would happen. The leaves remind me of soft, delicate sencha leaves. Treating them with more finesse could yield interesting results. But, I only had 7g, so I brewed it like a hardy oolong and didn’t use kid gloves!
All that said, the price is right. Just over $5 for 50g. So, well worth purchasing, in my opinion. Certainly if you are drinking a bunch of sencha, this would be a welcome change of pace.
Dry leaf: dark cocoa, nutty, peanut shell, hints of cinnamon, red fruit, and citrus pith. In preheated vessel: strong roast nut and chocolate
Smell: Mexican chocolate, roasted peanut, dried red fruit
Taste: roasted pecan and almond, chocolate, cherry-infused milk chocolate, dried strawberries. Finish has chocolate cherry cordial, dried strawberries, underripe raspberries, and sweet grapefruit. Pleasant fruitiness and sweet/sour in aftertaste.