Leaf Type: Oolong
This tea was grown high in the famed Ali Shan mountain range of Taiwan. Teas from high elevations grow slower, concentrating the flavor into the leaves and making for a rich, sophisticated brew: some of the finest Oolong available.
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There are very few teas that I regard higher than an Ali Shan Oolong. The only tea that immediately comes to mind is a yellow tea, and really, I think that my adoration for Ali Shan is right up there with a yellow tea.
As I was brewing this High Mountain Ali Shan Oolong from Tearroir, the thought that popped into my head is this: What’s better than an Ali Shan Oolong? A freshly harvested Ali Shan Oolong! And that’s exactly what I have before me! A first flush Ali Shan Oolong from 2014!
I steeped this – not surprisingly! – in my gaiwan and then I filled my Yixing mug with the first five infusions. The fragrance of the brewed liquid reminds me of springtime at my gramma’s house when I was young. One of the rear corners of the house was covered with a vine of honeysuckle, and when the windows were open near this vine, the breezes would pick up the scent and whisk it into the house and the house would smell faintly of honeysuckle. To this day, it is still one of my favorite aromas ever.
The flavor is sweet and buttery/creamy. It’s not a full-on butter flavor, nor is it entirely a milky/creamy flavor, but somewhere in between. The texture is lighter than a “creamy” or “milky” Oolong, it’s more like a soft, velvety texture without the heavy thickness. It doesn’t coat the palate heavily the way some Oolong teas can.
There are notes of flower and a very faint vegetal note that falls somewhere between the freshest, earliest buds of new spring grass and lightly steamed, mild veggies. It’s a very mellow vegetative tone.
Although the aroma suggests a honeysuckle note might be experienced in the sip, I am not picking up on that in the flavor. There is a floral tone, but it isn’t honeysuckle-esque. It’s such a faint floral note that it’s difficult to discern the flavor. On Steepster, it’s suggested that it’s a gardenia, but I don’t know that is quite it either.
I have to admit that I am really liking the faintness of the floral tone here. Ordinarily, a green Oolong like this one has a very heavy floral essence to it and that’s not a bad thing, I find those floral notes enchanting! But, it is nice to taste something a little different now and then, and I like the surprises that this Ali Shan is delivering.
This is a really special Ali Shan, and I’m so happy that I got to experience it! Steepster Select does it again!