I have been holding off on reviewing this tea for some time now. I mainly did this because there were other teas I wanted to review first, but I also wanted to make sure my first impression of this tea was accurate. The first time I tried this, I was floored by how creamy it was. I loved it. I, however, did not want to post a review until the honeymoon period was over. Now that I have spent more time with this tea and tinkered with my brewing methods a bit, I can safely say that my first impression was more or less accurate.
I brewed this tea gongfu style. In order to keep my oolong brewing methods somewhat consistent across reviews, I opted to follow Verdant Tea’s guidelines for brewing oolongs since I have had great success with that method. The only thing I really changed was the water temperature. Following a quick rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of tea leaves in 190 F water for 10 seconds. I followed the first infusion with 11 additional infusions, increasing the steep time by two seconds per infusion (10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 seconds). At a later date, I did two shorter gongfu sessions with this tea. I raised the water temperature to 195 F for the first session and performed 5 total infusions of 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 seconds. The other session was conducted using 190 F water and comprised eight total infusions of 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 seconds. Note that I will only be referring to the first session in this review.
Prior to infusion the wet leaves presented lovely aromas of cream, butter, custard, sticky rice, and coconut underscored by honey and floral scents. The early infusions emphasized savory, creamy, buttery aromas underscored by traces of honey, flowers, and sweetgrass. In the mouth, I detected robust notes of cream, custard, sticky rice, butter, coconut, and honey balanced by delicate floral notes resembling a blend of honeysuckle, osmanthus, gardenia, orchid, and chrysanthemum. I also detected very subtle vegetal notes. The middle infusions were more balanced with a blend of savory and floral aromas and flavors. In the mouth, the honey, floral, and vegetal notes became more pronounced and more refined. A hint of minerality also began to emerge. The later infusions emphasized a mix of cream, sweetgrass, and leaf lettuce on the nose. The mouth presented a mixture of delicate cream, butter, and faint floral notes underpinning leafy vegetal and fairly sweet grassy notes, as well as minerality.
I really like this oolong, but I simply could not move myself to assign it a numerical score higher than 90. I just cannot see myself reaching for this one all that often. Though the aromas and flavors are lovely, I found this to be something of a heavy tea. It was very filling for me and I’m not sure I really want that out of an oolong, especially a greener one such as this. Still, this is a very nice tea. I would not hesitate to recommend it to any curious drinker.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus