I received this as a freebie in my order from Taiwan Tea Crafts last year. How generous to send a competition tea, thank you :)
I’ve only had a few Dong Ding oolong. Each time, I came away with the impression that this style of tea was not for me. I could never pinpoint why but I suspected it might be the roast, lending the teas a heavy roasted nut flavor. In the case of this tea, the roasting seems like it was heavy but performed so well that it was merely a factor contributing to the balanced nature of the tea.
One thing that really stood out to me about this tea was the scent of the rinsed leaf. It had a pungency and savoriness that evoked an impression of a specific wood used to fire the tea but I absolutely can’t place it. It was very resinous and sappy, though. After a few minutes of rest following the rinse, the nuggets already began unfurling.
With the first pour, the tea had a deep and sweet nutty and floral aroma. An instantaneous, light-bodied caramel-nutty sweetness hit the tongue and transitioned to a lightly tangy mineral taste with mellow florals emerging. Good structure between floral/sweet highs and nutty/leathery lows. Very light complementary resinous bitterness and nut skin astringency. The tea was very clean and easy to sip, leaving the crisp sense of an empty palate after the swallow. The empty cup retained the sweet aroma of the brew. The aftertaste seemed to come out of nowhere, and like the liquor, was very clean with a balance of flavors difficult to describe, something like a mix of lotus leaf, floral lychee and very mellow peach and pine. I also experienced a lingering sweetness in the back of the mouth and a sense of camphor in my chest.
While this Dong Ding was fantastic and balanced, I don’t think I’ll explore this style of tea anytime soon since I feel a little spoiled after having this one; I don’t want to invest the time or money to find one of similar caliber. (This tea, as far as I know, hasn’t been made available on TTC’s website.)
Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Floral, Hazelnut, Leather, Lychee, Nutty, Peach, Pine, Plants, Resin, Sweet, Tangy, Violet, Walnut