We have 3 *new* aged oolongs that Noah picked up on this last trip.
Heritage Tie Guanyin and Wuyi
The first two are old fashioned, old world cultivars : Wuyi and Tie Guanyin. They come from a traditional tea outfit in Taipei who still do business like the old world too, they roast with strong fire and set aside to produce ‘reserve’ teas. They each have about 10 years of age on them, and have developed rich earthy tones while most of the fiery roast has receded into sweet plummy flavors.
Both have excellent balance and luxurious mouthfeel. The Wuyi is bigger on flavor, while the Tie Guanyin is more concentrated on 'yun' 韻 a special kind of aftertaste that shows up in the back of the throat. We haven't had a good traditional Tie Guanyin for years, and although this is not exactly like the Muzha version, it is satisfying in much the same way. We love them both!
These teas taste a lot like a mainland Chinese oolong, another reason they get the title 'heritage'. The maker retained many old world techniques as well as cultivars. You have to know what you’re looking for to pick up on the Northern Taiwanese terroir. The tea garden where these leaves were harvested – in Shi-Ding A.K.A. Baozhong country – primarily maintains these heritage cultivars.
1979 Aged Beipu
The third tea is over 40 years old, produced in 1979. It was harvested in Beipu where, at that time, many gardens were producing ‘Formosa Oolong’ for export to the West. This particular base tea was solid and clean, and thanks to the magic of time (along with excellent storage) it has developed into something quite delicious. Rich, deep amber broth and full body energy.
Not everyone will like the earthy taste of aged oolong, but this tea is an excellent litmus test for what clean aged oolong should taste like. To us, it is a treasure.