Since I put in the time and effort to finish the last of this sample before calling it quits for the day, I figured I may as well post a review/tasting note while I was at it. In truth, I had hoped to get to this tea much earlier, but I had some others that I needed to finish off first. When I finally got around to seriously giving it a shot, I found this tea was not at all what I had expected it would be. Honestly, it was quite strange and bore little in common with any other Jin Xuan I have tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of nectarine, grass, roasted almonds, and honey. The rinse brought out even stronger aromas of nectarine, honey, roasted almonds, and grass, but it also introduced scents of hay, sea salt, seaweed, butter, and peach. The first infusion introduced hints of cream and white grape, but the mouth was very mild and straight-ahead. I picked up hints of honey, grass, butter, nectarine, and roasted almonds underscored by a slightly salty, marine quality. Subsequent infusions brought out the notes of cream, seaweed, sea salt, white grape, and hay, but I also noted impressions of minerals, spinach, mango, plum, and passion fruit. The later infusions were mild, yet also quirky and deceptive. They opened with smooth butter and nectarine notes, but quickly gave way to minerals, damp grass, roasted almond, sea salt, and seaweed.
Yeah, this was one weird oolong. Part of me enjoyed it, but another part of me also fully realizes that it is hard to justify a high numerical score for a tea that I would likely be in no rush to reach for again in the near future, if at all. To say this tea would appeal to a niche market would be an understatement. Who would keep something like this around for regular consumption? I guess if I were the sort of person who regularly looks for a tea that combines the creaminess and butteriness of Jin Xuan with the fruitiness of Gui Fei and hints of sheng-like brininess, I would fall into that demographic. Unfortunately, I do not. I’m glad I tried this tea, and I think it is good for what it is, but at the same time, I’m happy to move on to something else. It’s most certainly worth trying, but just be aware that it is more than a little odd.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Honey, Mango, Marine, Mineral, Passion Fruit, Peach, Plums, Salty, Seaweed, Spinach, White Grapes