I put off trying this one for a long time. I had to immediately transfer it to a holding vessel upon receiving it due to its sealed pouch getting punctured in transit. Luckily, the damage was at the top of the pouch, it was fairly minimal, and I noticed it almost immediately. I was fortunate enough to lose none of the tea, and after finally opening this up and working my way through it, realized that it came through all of this unscathed. Prior to trying this particular tea, I was not familiar with Jin Mudan at all. This one, however, made me want to try a few more.
Jin Mudan is not a classic Wuyi cultivar. As a matter of fact, it is fairly young, having only been in existence for about 40-50 years. According to the information provided by Yunnan Sourcing, it was originally produced as a hybrid of Tieguanyin and Huang Jin Gui, though it differs somewhat from other cultivars descended directly from these two. It is noted primarily for its broad, thick leaves and unique floral and fruity qualities.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I caught aromas of char, dark wood, dark chocolate, elderberry, blackberry, and flowers from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I began to detect scents of violet, dried blueberry, raisin, roasted almond, cream, elderflower, and prune. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet, though I did note the emergence of vanilla bean, coffee, cannabis, and damp grass. With such complexity on the nose, I knew I was going to like this tea even at this point. In the mouth, I detected mild, soothing notes of cream, dried blueberry, raisin, elderberry, roasted almond, elderflower, violet, char, dark wood, dark chocolate, blackberry, and prune balanced by touches of damp grass, vanilla bean, coffee, and cannabis. Subsequent infusions brought out ginger, fig, black raspberry, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, hibiscus, minerals, tea flower, rock sugar, and a touch of actual peony to compliment the increasingly prevalent notes of cannabis, coffee, cream, vanilla bean, damp grass, dark wood, dark chocolate, and dark fruits. I also began to catch something of a cooling, herbal quality reminiscent of menthol. The final infusions were surprisingly smooth for a Wuyi oolong. I detected mostly savory notes of cream, butter, and vanilla bean balanced by subtle mineral, menthol, raisin, prune, dark wood, rock sugar, damp grass, dark chocolate, and vague, indistinct floral notes.
This was a surprisingly great Wuyi oolong. I found tons of complexity and depth, which oolongs of this sort do not always deliver consistently. All of the aroma and flavor components also worked well together, which again, does not always happen. I also have to note that this tea packed a tremendous punch. The energy it provided was invigorating, cleansing, and thoroughly restorative. I finished this session over an hour prior to starting this review and I can still feel the tea’s cooling, herbal, menthol-like presence in my mouth and throat. This one is definitely a keeper, and I will probably be getting more in the very near future. Its roast should allow it to age like a champ. Definitely make a point of trying this if Wuyi oolongs are your thing.
Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cannabis, Char, Cinnamon, Coffee, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Fig, Floral, Fruity, Ginger, Grass, Hibiscus, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Raisins, Raspberry, Sugar, Sugar, Vanilla, Violet