Ryan and I celebrated our birthdays together & with family on the 18th, and my father gave me a surprise bit of money to buy myself something with. I, of course, opted to purchase some tea! I decided to step out of my comfort zone of Dragonwell and Tieguanyin and saw someone on IG mention tasting a "brandy oolong." Their description of it was intriguing, and their praise convinced me to acquire some of my own.
Brandy oolong? What's that!? It is apparently an uncommon Taiwanese dark oolong that is heavily oxidized to the point of nearly being mistaken as a black tea. It is rolled tightly, has glossy dark brown leaves, and the aroma is malty and brisk right out of the bag. The company I purchased it from also calls it an "Imperial Pearl Oolong." Sold! I also added an Oriental Beauty cake from Mountain Tea into my cart, but that will be photographed and talked about on another day! (It is the cutest little oolong cake ever!)
My first infusion was a quick one. On the website it states that a quicker infusion will provide a sweeter flavor, and sweet it was indeed! It was a light amber in my teacup, and the flavor was something I've not quite experienced before. Spicy and light. Then at the back of the tongue an interesting woodsy taste came through. It made me think of the smell of freshly split wood sitting out to cure for the winter.
I decided that my second infusion should be stronger. The cup reddened slightly but was still a glowing amber. This time I got more of that woodsy note up front in addition to a note similar to an almost opaque dark wildflower honey flavor. Molasses-like, but gentler. The spicy note from before rounded out into the honey, and it eased the strength of the woods and transformed the cup into something hearty and quite delicious.
If you're interested in trying this tea out, head on over to Mountain Tea! In addition to their Imperial Pearl/Brandy Oolong they have an incredible selection of other Taiwanese teas. Like I said, I picked up the Oriental Beauty cake and I can't wait to try it! Their customer service is great, and they handled my panic at the post office almost losing my parcel wonderfully. They even went so far as to get in touch with USPS to clarify the situation and make sure my much anticipated birthday tea order would arrive safe and sound!