Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring 2003 Yong Lung Hung Shui Oolong

Cultivar: Luanze (qingxin) Oolong
Origin: Yong Lung village, Dong Ding area
Harvested by hand in spring 2003.
Process: Hungshui Oolong aged by the farmer.

This is a very interesting aged Oolong, especially since it's from the same farmer and village as the 2 Hungshui Oolongs from Yong Lung I have shown here and here recently.

The first thing that strikes us is that these Oolongs leaves are less tightly rolled than new Oolongs. As it ages, the dry leaves slowly unfurl. The color is also slightly more red and dark.
I'm testing these leaves in a porcelain gaiwan. Few leaves, long brews.

The dry leaves smell of sweet, dark, old wood. It feels slightly intoxicating, like a light brandy. The young roast scents have disappeared.
The color of the brew is like pure gold with hints of brown.
The taste feels even more pure and clean than the new harvests. The taste is rounder and more harmonious. But it still has a lot of refined energy. This tea nectar feels smooth and easy to swallow. The throat is moist and opens up for more : this is a very reliable indication that the body likes the tea!
This experience should help answer the question: why drink old Oolong?

For the simple reason that when the quality is good and the storage done right, it can taste heavenly and produce scents that can't be found in new Oolongs. Of course, everybody's tastes differ and I know several drinkers who don't like this kind of scents (yet). It's not as directly appealing as an unroasted High Mountain Oolong. But it has much more complexity and refinement, I believe. As the years pass by, I like these kinds of Oolongs more and more.
As passionate tea drinkers, we can find all kinds of reasons to keep aged Oolong. The year 2003 has a sentimental value for me, because it's the year my son was born. I already have stored a tong of my 2003 wild raw Yiwu puerh and a case of a grand cru Bordeaux wine of 2003. But so far, I didn't have any 2003 Hungshui Oolong for him and me. I think it will be a very meaningful gift when he's 18 and/or for his wedding!

A top quality tea that ages well is a great way to mark a special occasion. 
The leaves open up completely and their color is still very green. It's an Oolong that combines freshness with a first decade of natural aging scents.

We find leaves of various stages of maturity. But even the biggest leaves aren't hard. 
We also see many cute little buds among these leaves. They cause the finer scents and lighter aromas of this tea. This is very similar to how the farmer still produces Yong Lung Hungshui Oolong today. That's why we can conclude that the two 2013 versions are also very good candidates for aging. 

1 comment:

EG said...

I like the sentiment of storing tea or wine in honour of your son's birth, to be enjoyed and celebrated later. It also tells me something about the potential lifespan of a fine oolong tea.