This was one of my sipdowns from the second half of last month. It was also a tea that continued a troubling trend of Yunnan Sourcing Mi Lan Xiang not being consistently enjoyable for me. Much like the Classic Mi Lan Xiang from the spring of 2017 that I reviewed last year, this offering was more or less enjoyable but displayed some qualities that did not strike me as being all that appealing. It was not a bad tea, but it did have its flaws.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, orchid, peach, nectarine, cream, and lychee. After the rinse, new aromas of grass, sugarcane, roasted almond, and orange blossom appeared. The first infusion brought out subtle aromas of spinach, banana, and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of honey, grass, orchid, roasted almond, butter, and cream that were balanced by hints of lychee, vanilla, peach, orange blossom, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of coriander, basil, butter, pear, pineapple, lemon zest, and violet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of orange blossom, lychee, vanilla, sugarcane, and peach appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, coriander, spinach, tangerine, lemon zest, pineapple, pear, violet, plum, and nectarine. I also detected hints of basil (which grew stronger on each swallow) and green banana. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, sugarcane, pear, lemon zest, and tangerine that were chased by late emerging caramel accents and hints of spinach, coriander, peach, lychee, roasted almond, violet, orchid, and orange blossom.
This was an interesting oolong with some lovely flower and tropical fruit aromas and flavors, but it did not often pull all of its qualities together in such a way that I was provided with a balanced and consistent drinking experience. In particular, the way those basil notes swelled in the mouth after each swallow could be a bit much. Overall, this was not a bad tea. It displayed more good qualities than bad qualities. It just needed more integration and balance in its flavor profile.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Caramel, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plum, Spinach, Stonefruit, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet