Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top Ali Shan Oolong - Spring 2012

Cultivar: Qingxin (luanze) Oolong
Handpicked on April 5, 2012
Origin: Ali Shan (Chang Shu Hu)
Elevation: 1600 meters
Process: Lightly oxidized, rolled Oolong.

Brewed in 'ivory' porcelain.

1. View.
Vivid green leaves and golden stems. The leaves are rolled very tightly and almost small.
Once brewed open, the leaves are long and thick. The stems show signs of tear (due to the harvest by hand).  
2. The dry scent is like a field of lavender in southern France in spring! Fresh, light and elegant notes of flowers from Provence! Or is it me longing for one of my favorite summer vacation spot? Oolong's fragrances can transport us through time and space. Amazing!
The scent of the brew is full of power and has hints of young, fresh papaya.
3. The taste appears light and smooth at first. But this tastes lingers in the mouth and soothes the throat. Its sweetness and fresh notes rises and recedes and rises again like a wave on my taste buds. The feeling is crystal clear.

Conclusion: This high mountain Oolong is wonderful. It's so powerful and its scents so pure, that one could mistake it with an Oolong from Da Yu Ling. This is exactly what happened to me at a blind tasting of this Ali Shan Oolong and a Da Yu Ling Oolong with tea friends. I had them mixed up, because of its longer aftertaste and bright fragrances. 
Da Yu Ling plantation
(Today, I regained confidence in my tasting skills. I received an unmarked sample from a tea farmer. He was supposed to send me a spring Oolong. However, from the color, aspect and smell of these leaves, I concluded that this sample must be a winter harvest. I called him and he confirmed that he had indeed sent me a winter Oolong.)
With such flawless tasting notes brewed in porcelain, how will it perform in a dedicated High Mountain zhuni teapot? As these pictures suggest, the change is like a ray of sun. The teapot intensifies the fragrances and the lingering aftertaste. I even find that I can get one or 2 more brews out of the leaves.

A warm day of late spring (or summer) is the perfect time to drink this High Mountain Oolong from Ali Shan. The unroasted (but slightly dried) leaves wake me up with their energy and cool me down like a cold shower.

The power of the Ali Shan Oolong character unfolds in the whole body. Pure, straight and harmonious.
I love this tea.


Rist Van de Weyer said...

This post just made me drool, mouth wide open! I tried this tea from you at Teaworld where it reminded me of a dry,oak aged white wine. It was an amazing taste experience but I'm pretty sure that with such a décor, it gives this tea a total new dimension.

Jack M said...

What a beautiful post! Reading this made me feel like I was there drinking the tea with you :)

shui xian said...

Stephane can you please tell me the tille of the beautifull song of Ester Ofarim on your video in you tube Thank you Pierre

TeaMasters said...

the name is 'Hayu laylot'.

Niraj Lama said...

I received this tea Jan 2013, and its freshness and potency is completely intact. I shared this tea at our local tea society meeting, and everyone thought they had died and gone to heaven!
After brewing in for four times. I kept it in the fridge, along with my kyusu, overnight. The next afternoon I brewed couple of more rounds and it was still exquisite! I am so surprised at the length of this tea's sweet aftertaste.
Thanks Stephane for this treasure!