March 2021 harvest, gone gongfu.
This is a very approachable oolong like most highly oxidized, or red, oolong. In character, it is much like a bug-bittern oolong mixed with a dark white tea.
The aromas and quickly developing, lingering aftertaste are really a treat. In the hard and shiny nuggets of the dry leaf, I pick up on white grape juice, muscatel and sweet, roasted notes. In addition to those, warming the leaf brings a strong aroma of honeyed, baked cherries — very natural. Rinsing brings the roasted notes more forward as roasted nuts, and they are supplemented by paper, plum, blackberry, cherry and some hints of resin; in general, sweet and tangy, roasted.
At first the aroma of the tea tends toward honeyed baked cherries. As steepings progress, the aroma turns into a dominant white grape-muscatel. With that transformation, the tea also becomes noticeably floral. Jasmine comes to mind and that fits my experience of some jasmine-scented teas of white, green and black types — many of them tend to have a strong grape note to my senses.
With the juicy, pleasing aroma also comes an array of fruit in the mouth. The main taste of the tea is rather woody with a light touch of honey, but as soon as I swallow, tangy fruit tones bloom and merge with the supple and fluid juicy tones. I pick up on apricot and cooked plantain mixed with cherry, white grape juice, muscatel, plums, blackberries. Soon after, a bright buttery-cream taste merges with the fruitiness in the aftertaste. It’s just the right accent, not overtaking the palate. Final steeps become woodier, more floral and drier as the butter-cream aftertaste persists.
The tea has a body like soft spring water and leaves an impression of being somewhat pectic and oily. Initial infusions have a clean and glassy mineral quality and a noticeable salivation effect. One thing I take issue with is the tea has a tendency to have a papery-tannic drying quality in the throat, making for a laborious swallow in the minutes after finishing a cup.
I admit I drink some snooty teas so when I do have a session with an affordable tea with easily accessible qualities, I get so excited at the idea of recommending it to newer gongfu tea drinkers. I don’t think you can go wrong with this Thai oolong, just be aware of the dry throat effect!
Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Blackberry, Brown Toast, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Juicy, Mineral, Muscatel, Oily, Paper, Plum, Resin, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Soft, Spring Water, Sweet, Tangy, Tannin, White Grapes, Woody