This was the first ‘aged’ Taiwanese oolong I had ever tasted. Sixteen years old. My youngest sibling was 2 when this tea was produced. I went in with an open mind and was more than content with the experience.
This is a very complex tea that complemented my mood on this beautiful morning. From what I’ve gleaned, Green Heart is another name for the Qing Xin cultivar. I can taste the Qing Xin characteristics in a tea that I assume was low to moderately oxidized and re-roasted several times throughout the years, though the roast notes have faded away. I appreciate this because I’m generally not a fan of moderate or heavily roasted Taiwanese oolong (dark roast Wuyi oolong are a different story!).
There is a distinct herbal-sweet spice character to the dry leaf that calls to mind cardamom, which I’ve experienced once before in a wild oolong from Mountain Stream Teas. I found it strange in that tea and found it strange here but it was very welcome. I wondered how a tea so old could have such a pronounced dry leaf fragrance with other notes of floral walnut, wood, frankincense, cinnamon, sour cherry, hints of cannabis and peanut with a ribbon of raisin or prune in the undertone. The aroma of the liquor is complex and deep, pronounced yet delicate — sweet, floral and nutty.
The liquor is much the same in its flavor — floral, nutty and sweet with spice/incense of the dry leaf. Smooth and oily with no astringency, medium-bodied with a brightening mineral quality. The fruity aromas of the dry leaf come out in taste, too, though not quite cherry and raisin but leaning more toward sweet Asian pear followed by a milky finish. The aftertaste takes a minute to bloom but it does so with great length and notes of honey, pear and osmanthus. Camphor taste and feeling comes in soon after the swallow and persists into each successive infusion. It seems to dominate the sip in the following cups which then mellows into the oolong profile.
I can’t emphasize how much of a calm state this tea induced.
Really happy to have this in my collection and a great starting point for piquing my interest in aged Taiwanese oolong.
[5g, 100mL clay gaiwan, 212F, 10s rinse followed by 14 steeps starting at 10s]
Flavors: Banana, Camphor, Cannabis, Caramel, Cardamom, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Floral, Graham, Grain, Hazelnut, Honey, Incense, Milk, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peanut, Pear, Plant Stems, Plum, Raisins, Round, Spicy, Sweet, Toast, Walnut, Wood