Tuesday, September 27, 2005

1960s Bao Zhong aged oolong

Tasting Notes: 1960s Bao Zhong aged oolong, sample sent by Stephane this summer. Second tasting (and the end of my sample).

Prepared gong fu style, water at a good boil (about 205 degrees). The first time I prepared this, I was too tentative. The tea needs hot water to really unlock its potential, and I’m glad to have increased the temp just a bit the second time around.

The resulting color is that reddish-brown mahogany tone that I’ve experienced with other aged oolongs. The scent in the aroma cup is of sweet cherry tobacco. At least, this is the aroma I imagined when reading descriptions of the way a grandfather’s jacket smelled of tobacco. Neither of my grandfathers were pipe-smokers, so this is pure imagination on my part. :)

Perhaps more familiar to me is the smell of roasting marshmellows around a campfire. This tea does not taste of roasted marshmallows, but there’s something similar in the way the sweetness meets with a burnt aroma, against the backdrop of the big open spaces of the wilderness. This is partly because the very light floral nature of the bao zhong comes through like a whiff of open space. The last of the aftertaste is of this greener, wilder essence, yet the scent in the aroma cup is still sweet and toasty.

So, I find this tea goes from a sweet beginning to a somewhat tart finish, which is what distinguishes it from the other two aged oolongs I've tried. The lingering green-floral-tart flavor stays at the back of the tongue. Very nice, and it makes me want to revisit those other aged oolongs -– will compare/contrast those on my personal blog soon.

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