So, I finally decided to drink down my little sachet of this lovely oolong. It smelled intriguing when I opened it, a little like Christmas-cake or cloves. I was certainly expecting something a little more jade-tieguanyin, which meant it was a pleasant surprise.
The rinse was honey-gold coloured and also smelled of Christmas-cake, whilst the wet leaves had a more characteristic vegetal smell.
The first post-rinse infusion was also honey-gold (as opposed to the pale green of Master Zhang’s usual tieguanyin), and it carried the same Christmas-cake smell, but also really reminded me of something very specific: Iranians cook a side-dish with barberries called zereshk polow (pretty much "rice with barberries) that’s brought out for celebrations or special occasions. To prep the barberries, you usually quickly fry them, in butter, with a table-spoon of sugar. And then afterwards, you fold them through the rice along with some saffron-infused butter. And that’s exactly what this tea smells like. It brought a really nostalgic smile to my face.
The tea has a lovely, mellow, smooth body, and little/no astringency (as I’d expect from something related to tieguanyin). The next set of infusions were equally lovely, with the delicious zereshk polow scent and smooth, buttery, Christmas-cake essence lingering deliciously on the palette afterwards.
The little note that came with the sachet described orange blossom, mango, sticky rice, clove, and papaya leaf. Though I can’t pretend to know what papaya leaf tastes like, and I’m not sure I got orange blossom or mango, I can certainly see where they got sticky rice and clove from. And, I guess, Christmas-cake can have orange essence in it, so there’s deffo a citrus note I could pick up.
I really enjoyed this tea, and was quite surprised by how different it was to Master Zhang’s ‘standard’ Tieguanyin (which, I’m sure anyone that’s followed me for a while will know, is one of my all-time faves). I’m not sure this would ever replace it, but it was certainly a pleasant excursion.
Flavors: Cake, Citrus, Saffron