Here’s another sample sipdown. I finished this one last night. As far as Alishan oolongs go, this one was light in the mouth and very vegetal. Normally, I am not a fan of that style, as I prefer my high mountain oolongs to be fruity, floral, and sweet, but this tea had tremendous depth. I ended up liking it considerably more than I thought I would.
As usual, I prepared this tea gongfu style. Still reeling from the loss of my favorite 4 ounce gaiwan and cup, I used my 5 ounce easy gaiwan and cup set for this tea. The slow pour did not really help this tea’s longevity, so if I end up ordering more of this, I am going to have to go back to a more traditional gaiwan. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 7 grams of loose tea leaves in 5 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I picked up on very light grassy, vegetal aromas from the dry leaves. There was a hint of savory character there too, maybe something like cream or butter. The rinse brought out more savory character. I definitely picked up scents of cream and butter, as well as a much more pronounced vegetal character. There were scents of grass, leaf lettuce, and kale. The first infusion brought out vanilla, baked bread, custard, and some vague floral impressions. In the mouth, I picked up on mild notes of cream, butter, grass, leaf lettuce, kale, bread, and vanilla. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas and flavors of minerals, nuts, cucumber, cilantro, spinach, orchid, daffodil, daylily, daylily shoots, green apple, honeydew, and unripened pear. On a couple of infusions, I also thought I picked up a very distant hint of seaweed. Oh yeah, and the custard showed up on the palate very briefly too. The later infusions were very mild, offering mostly mineral, cream, butter, grass, leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, and cucumber. However, I was able to detect something that reminded me of butterscotch, as well as lingering traces of vanilla and daylily shoots in the background.
Again, this was totally not what I expected from an Alishan oolong. Even though the aromas and flavors were extremely subtle and well-integrated, there was a lot to appreciate here. Once I got over the fact that there were times that this tea reminded me more of a green tea than an oolong, I fell in love with it. It was not much like any other Alishan oolong I have ever tried. Definitely pick this one up if you can.
Flavors: Bread, Butter, Butterscotch, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeydew, Kale, Lettuce, Mineral, Narcissus, Nuts, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Vanilla, Vegetal