Boy…do I have a unique oolong for you today! It’s Imperial Pearl Oolong from Mountain Tea. It’s considered to be a BRANDY Oolong and is on the more rare side of oolongs you may have (or have not) tasted. If you manage to get your hands on it – I highly recommend it!
A brief overview of Brandy Oolongs are as follows…
It’s made from a special cultivar of the tea plant unique to Taiwan that is highly oxidized (85-90%) and has only recently been introduced to western tea enthusiasts. It’s also known as “Ruby-18″ which is a style of oolong initially created by crossing the Assamica tea varietal with the native tea plant to produce a tea that has become the favorite for tea enthusiasts of every age.
Before infusing I thought the dry leaf of Imperial Pearl Oolong from Mountain Tea smelled a bit like pine. Post infusion Brandy Oolong’s rich and amber brew hints of spice, cinnamon, and sweet-creamy malt notes REALLY come out to play! There is a tinge of crusty and bakey-ness to it that morphs into a sweet yet malty sip. Another thing I find interesting about this tea is when it’s fully brewed it has to be one of the darkest oolongs I have ever sampled!
Imperial Pearl Oolong from Mountain Tea was the winner of the 2012 NATC – Dark Oolong Category – Judge’s Choice Award for Exceptional Tea – as well as the winner of the 2011 NATC – Black Tea Category – 2nd Place. And I can totally understand why! Shame on me for procrastinating on the taste test and review for this one! It’s flipping fantastic and now among my favorite oolongs to date!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Mountain Tea
This rare brandy oolong (what is brandy oolong?) is a must have in your tea chest.
You will be enraptured with notes of molasses, honey and maple syrup. The dry leaf recalls the fragrance of ground red pepper, a splash of hot water and the nose transforms into something more savory and miso-like. We only picked the tenderest leaves of our prized oolong plants to create this exceptional tea; in doing so, we created a tea that is deep amber in color and pointedly sweet in flavor, sans astringency or bitterness.
Hotter water and longer steeping times will brew a more complex and spicier tea. Lower water temperature and shorter steeping times will brew a sweeter tea. Imperial Pearl is also known as Red Oolong in the East.