The smell in the tin is fruity, like some mish mash of berries. I steeped in the gaiwan at 195F after a rinse starting at 15 seconds and increasing in 5 second increments.
The tea is golden bronze and clear after the first steep and smells like grapes — juice or wine, it has both characteristics. The flavor is very grapey as well, but mild, and not sharp.
I get the comparison to darjeeling, but darjeeling is usually not as smooth — it tends to have a sharpness that isn’t present here.
I’ve had Sri Lankan oolongs before (the LeafSpa comes to mind) but the ones I’ve had have been greener, and it has been easier to see them as oolongs because they bore some similarities to Chinese green oolongs. This is a darker oolong and unlike anything I’ve had before.
The liquor became darker on the second steep, a sort of burnt orange color — more heavy on the orange than the burnt. The flavor is fairly constant, though. Like a darjeeling lite. I sort of feel disappointed by this because I expected something else. If I wanted darjeeling, I’d have darjeeling.
Now I feel as though I’m being unfair and not very open minded. But then again, if something is going to defy expectations, it my view it better do it in a way that is so awesome that you’re glad your expectations were defied. Alas, I don’t feel that way about this tea.
If I could get past that and just enjoy this for what it is, how would I feel about it? OK, I guess. But not much more than that.
By the third steep, the liquor is a fairly vibrant orange. I don’t know whether the color has anything to do with it, but I’m also getting a flavor note that is orange-like. The tea’s astringency has become pronounced — lots of drying in the mouth.
I stopped after the fourth steep. I felt as though I had a plenty good introduction to this tea at that point and I really wanted something that fit more with my expectations of an oolong — so it was time to move on.
I love the name of this, and the idea of it. I just don’t love the tea. It isn’t bad, it’s just that it isn’t what I think of when I think of oolong and for that reason it was bound to disappoint me. It’s kind of like when you are expecting someone to give you a Labrador retriever and you get a fox terrier? Maybe not the best analogy, but the point is they are both dogs — you were just expecting the big pawed, gentle family dog and you got the little yappy, skittish one.
Flavors: Astringent, Grapes, Orange, Red Wine