This was the second of my sipdowns for the current month and a tea that I had been meaning to get around to reviewing for some time. I’ve long been interested in some of the more experimental teas coming out of India and Nepal, and I was really curious about what this tea had to offer. I expected it to be at least somewhat different from the other Darjeeling oolongs I had tried, but what I did not count on was just how unique it would turn out to be. I also found myself enjoying it way more than I expected I would.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose leaf and bud mix in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud mix produced aromas of autumn leaves, pine, malt, almond, and smoke. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of peanut, grass, hay, and rose as well as something along the lines of turnip greens. The first infusion brought out aromas of cream, butter, spinach, and green bell pepper. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of autumn leaves, pine, malt, rose, hay, grass, almond, butter, and pear that were backed by hints of smoke, peanut, green bell pepper, cream, and white grape. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of apple, pear, dandelion, orange zest, and apricot. Stronger and more immediate notes of green bell pepper and cream appeared in the mouth along with hints of spinach, dandelion greens, and turnip greens. I also picked up notes of minerals, dandelion, walnut, apricot, apple, peach, orange zest, and marigold. I noticed the liquor turned more astringent too, especially on each swallow. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, apple, pear, almond, grass, autumn leaves, green bell pepper, and dandelion that were backed by hints of cream, apricot, peach, rose, and malt.
An odd and interesting Darjeeling oolong that capably balanced vegetal, nutty, and woody characteristics and warmer, more welcoming floral and fruity characteristics, I could see fans of very balanced yet quirky teas being into this offering. It was a challenging and unpredictable tea, but it was never inaccessible. That’s a hard balance to pull off, especially with a more experimental offering. This one is definitely worth a shot if you are into some of the oolongs coming out of India these days.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Rose, Smoke, Spinach, Vegetal, Walnut, White Grapes