Thursday, April 24, 2014
Verdant Tea, Dark Roast 10 Year Aged Tieguanyin
Master Zhang rarely releases such mature aged tieguanyin, but when he does, the result is intensely rewarding. His fresh tieguanyin is complex and intoxicating enough as is, so a slow subtle roasting and aging process over ten years brings this level of complexity to its extreme.
The wet leaf’s aroma is intensely nostalgic, reminiscent of the carved sandalwood beads our Buddhist tea mentors carry, along with notes of rose, cinnamon and vanilla.
The tea steeps out with strong notes of spiced rum-infused fruitcake, with its vaporous aroma and raisin-like sweetness. The texture on the palate is similar to a very clean well-aged pu’er.
Later steepings are similar to marzipan cake with an aftertaste of caramel apple and nag champa incense. We were only able to obtain ten pounds of this limited release, so if you love aged Tieguanyin, this is a great opportunity to stock up.
I have never had an oolong that was aged on purpose. Sure, I have had my share of teas that have stayed in the drawer too long but that often doesn't end well. I really have no idea what to expect.
The dark nuggets of the sample leaf have no real aroma. I used 4 g in my press with water heated to 205 F. I steeped for 40 seconds. The website calls for 30. The liquor is a dark honey color. It has a light roasted aroma along with notes of tieguanyin. The wet leaf is another story. At first while it is still steaming, the roasting is very strong. As the leaf cools a moment a magical transition happens. I have never smelled sandalwood before but this must be the aroma Verdant mentions in the description. It is spicy and reminds me of an incense I burned years ago. It is a very wonderful aroma.
I get a certain amount of side tongue tingle with the first sip. The roasted notes are much milder than I expected. I am not the biggest fan of overly dark roasted, so I am pleasantly surprised. This is a very smooth and silky cup. I did not get cinnamon and vanilla in the wet leaf, but it seems lightly present in the sip.
Much of Verdant's description is way beyond my senses to detect. Maybe it is there, maybe it is not. I leave that to you. As I stated, I am not a big fan of dark roasted oolong but this I really like. The roasting does not grab you by the throat, and the oolong notes are likewise present but gentle. The sip finishes with a honey like sweetness that yes, reminds me a bit of raisin.
If you have an opportunity to try this one - take it. A unexpected delight.
Visit Verdant Tea online.