Okay, I know that I have made a point of posting a ton of backlogged reviews from 2020 and the first part of 2021 for the last several months, but I want to change tracks for a little bit and start posting some of my more recent reviews. Back in the spring of 2017, I purchased a ton of Wuyi oolongs from Yunnan Sourcing and several other vendors, and when it became obvious that I would not be able to get to most of them in a timely manner, I simply decided to hold on to them and try to age them at my house. I finally started sampling them late in 2021, and largely thrilled with the results I got, decided to prioritize posting reviews of some of these teas in the new year. This was the first of the bunch that I tried. Quite frankly, it was not the best of them, but it was still a likable tea that had held up surprisingly well in storage.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of pear, cedar, tobacco, baked bread, smoke, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of grass, black cherry, and roasted peanut. The first infusion added aromas of red grape, blueberry, roasted almond, and coffee. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of butter, coffee, blueberry, grass, cream, red grape, baked bread, and caramel that were balanced by hints of pear, tobacco, cedar, roasted almond, smoke, black cherry, and plum. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of caramel, butter, cream, plum, orange zest, and toasted grains that were supported by a subtle scent of dark chocolate. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of pear, black cherry, plum, smoke, roasted almond, and tobacco appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, fig, orange zest, roasted peanut, and toasted grains. I also found hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, dark chocolate, blackberry, green olive, and golden apple. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, butter, toasted grains, orange zest, roasted almond, baked bread, and grass that were chased by lingering hints of cedar, red grape, cream, pear, tobacco, black cherry, and blackberry.
Prior to trying this tea, I had never tried a light roast Tie Luo Han, so this tea represented a wholly new experience for me. I was a little surprised that it had retained so much of its complexity over 4+ years of storage and was delighted to discover that some of the spicy, herbal qualities typical of the Tie Luo Han cultivar were still present in this tea. That being said, this tea produced something of a thin, watery liquor and a very front-loaded experience in a gongfu session. In truth, I probably got to it at least a year later than I really should have. Still, this was a pretty good, solid tea even without its full vibrancy and longevity.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Coffee, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fig, Grain, Grapes, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Olives, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Smoke, Tobacco