Ducktale Spring 2016 Yashixiang Dancong Oolong

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Cherry, Cream, Floral, Grapes, Milk
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Edit tea info Last updated by Bitterleaf
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 oz / 100 ml

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  • “This is the third time I have drunk this tea and I find myself particularly excited as I pour the leaves into the hot gaiwan. The dry leaves in the hot gaiwan reveal two different sets of aroma on...” Read full tasting note

From Bitterleaf Teas

Ya shi xiang (鸭屎香), or “duck shit fragrance” is likely the dancong oolong with the best name. There are several theories regarding the origin of this tea’s name, but one tale in particular prevails.

A commonly held origin tale is that there was a farmer who had this tea bush with an especially unique fragrance. It was quite popular, and thus many outsiders wanted to steal the bush in order to grow their own. To throw the scent off, so to speak, the farmer started claiming that his ducks would spend a lot of time around this bush, doing duck things – like pooping. He then claimed the tea and soil it grows in was ruined and tainted. This clearly deterred no one, and has only since become a part of this tea’s identity.

There are other simpler theories and tales, but in the end, they’re just that – stories. The important take-away is that this varietal has a very distinct, floral fragrance. In recent years, tea associations in China have tried to clean up the image of this tea by assigning a more sanitized name: “silver flower”, albeit with little to no real success.

Our Spring 2016 Ducktale ya shi xiang dancong comes from old bushes (50+ years old) on Wudong Shan in the Fenghuang tea mountains and is grown at high altitude (1000+ meters). These environmental factors play an enormous role in producing one of the best dancongs we’ve tasted.

This light roasted tea carries its signature fragrance, without being overly perfumed. The other most noticeable feature is an exceptional mouthfeel. The liquor is very smooth and rolls in the mouth, coating down through the throat. In the end there is a milky aftertaste, which is also very noticeable when smelling your empty cup or gaiwan lid after brewing.

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1 Tasting Note

2 tasting notes

This is the third time I have drunk this tea and I find myself particularly excited as I pour the leaves into the hot gaiwan.

The dry leaves in the hot gaiwan reveal two different sets of aroma on two separate sniffs. First dark berries, second (after a little shake) milky / cream.

The leaves are big, whole and very dry. I like to chew on leaves like this. The flavour is somewhere between red grape and cherry, with a background bitterness and the faintest hint of cream. In a blind test I’d think this was a high end gongfu red tea. The lingering taste in the mouth from chewing the leaves is pleasant. The moisture has been fully removed which suggests a longer, more careful withering and drying.

The aroma of the wet leaf after the wash brew reveals something more vegetal, almost earthy. Think I awakened something.

First steep the liquor is vibrant yellow, like a white wine. Viscous and oily. Fragrance reveals the creamy notes.

The mouthfeel is thick, the flavour milky / cream and the vegetal / berry notes are hard to find. Definitely transitioned into the creamy flavours while brewing.

It’s delicious actually – I really like it – the cream flavour is not overpowering – actually the liquor is very bright and clear, it looks like it should taste vegetal, which is confusing but interesting. There’s some floral there too. Quite dominant floral on the breath after drinking actually.

Fragrance in the cup holds on to the vegetal notes and cream equally.

Nice cool huigan on the sides of the mouth and back of the throat.

As the steeps progress we shift from the obvious, creamy notes fade into more mineral, watery, subtle flavours. There’s a herbal element that creeps in to the aroma on the lid of the gaiwan. Like rosemary. The flavour profile of this tea likes to bounce around and reveal all sorts of notes that you think wouldn’t work together, but they actually do.

I’m happy to see this one through for about 7-8 steeps.

There is an underlying ‘green’ bitterness to it, which I quite like. Overall the flavour profile holds together really well. No jagged edges, nothing that sits out of place. Balanced.

Definitely recommend this tea, would like to have some around permanently. This was a medium sized sample I got three sessions from.

Note to Bitterleaf: Thank you for coming up with a duck related name and not plastering profanity all over the packaging.

Flavors: Cherry, Cream, Floral, Grapes, Milk

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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