Here is a review from the backlog. I can’t remember precisely when I finished what I had of this tea. I want to say the sipdown came either during the second half of July or the first half of August. I recall liking this tea more than either of the previous reviewers. My notes indicated that I appreciated its complexity and depth but felt that it had a few noticeable rough edges.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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 roasted barley, toasted rice, vanilla, cream, butter, and baked bread as well as a subtle orchid scent. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of cinnamon, steamed milk, brown sugar, and honey that were accompanied by a subtle chocolate scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted almond, caramelized banana, bamboo, and grass. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted barley, toasted rice, honey, cream, butter, bamboo, vanilla, and orchid that were chased by hints of cinnamon, grass, baked bread, brown sugar, roasted almond, toasted sweet corn, and steamed milk. There were also lingering vegetal notes in the aftertaste that struck me as being reminiscent of cattail shoots and spinach. The subsequent infusions produced new aromas of parsley, spinach, cucumber, umami, apple, and white grape that were accompanied by a slightly stronger chocolate scent. Chocolate and caramelized banana notes appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of sweet potato, caramel, wood, minerals, daylily, daylily shoots, apple, pear, white grape, cucumber, and meaty, brothy umami. I also detected some hints of parsley and noted stronger, more forward impressions of baked bread, grass, steamed milk, and roasted almond. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, wood, baked bread, toasted rice, cattail shoots, spinach, grass, roasted barley, umami, and cream that were backed by hints of vanilla, butter, roasted almond, cucumber, and apple.
This tea had a lot to offer, but there were also times when certain notes overpowered and distracted from others. It also displayed a very dry, woody mouthfeel and was very heavy-bodied. Compared to some of the other Dong Ding oolongs I have tried, it was not the smoothest, and it was also not the most approachable or the most drinkable, but it was still a quality tea. I would not recommend that those curious about Dong Ding oolongs or those looking for a quality daily drinker go right for this one, but when something stronger and heartier is called for, this would be the oolong to choose.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Bamboo, banana, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Grass, Honey, Milk, Mineral, Orchid, Parsley, Roasted Barley, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, White Grapes, Wood