Saturday, October 25, 2014

1994 Oriental Beauty and late 90's Shui Xian

Hey everyone, so I'm going to be reviewing an aged Oriental Beauty oolong from Taiwan Tea Crafts. This one is from 1994 and is also sold by several other places, interestingly. It's expensive ($18/oz), so this better be good. Well, the only reason I have it is because my friend bought it and didn't like it, so it probably isn't that good. I had what I assume is the same tea from a different vendor a while back and it was pretty fruity (winey?).

The dry leaf looks like a normal, low grade oriental beauty and smells like a normal, low-grade oriental beauty. First sign that this isn't twenty years old. Aged oolongs have a pretty distinct aroma, as does Oriental Beauty, and this has the Oriental Beauty smell.
i forgot to take a picture of the wet leaves, but they looked like wet OB leaves

Okay, so the leaves on this one are really broken, they clogged up my pot. This tea tastes like a Yunnan black/red tea. Not a good one either. Some malty/chocolatey notes upfront, fried banana/plantain fruitiness in the finish. Not too much flavor. I regret making this in my Yixing, as it's obviously not aged. In fact, I don't know what the problem is.

Overall, this tea is not worth the money. It isn't really bad, but not worth $18/oz. When teas like the 1972 Baozhong are the same price, why bother? I also tried the 1993 oolong from the same company and didn't like it a while back, same thing with the 1982 black tea (although I might try that one again).

Now for another aged oolong  - this time an aged Yancha, a 1990's Shui Xian from none other than Origin Tea, a vendor that has gotten a lot of coverage by us (me). This time, it's a tea that was actually sold on his site, sold under the Yancha section. One of the main things I like about this tea is it's roasting level - it's HK roasted, which is the highest level of roast for Yancha. Out in Hong Kong they like it strong and dark, they like their oolongs fired to death and their pu'erh stored in those hot, humid caves. These types of oolongs/pu'erhs also tend to be cheaper than the light/medium roast or dry-storage pu'erhs. I also prefer these types of oolongs/pu'erhs, although I do enjoy the other stuff quite a bit as well.
half-assed aesthetic makeover

half-assed aesthetic makeover II

Dry leaf smells very mineral, maybe chalky or old wood, very subtle but pleasant. It's pitch black, probably due to the Hong Kong treatment it received (and some aging, of course). Wet leaf definitely smells sweeter, more like young Yancha. Taste is quite herbal, some stale smoke, some of the Yancha acidic bite/sourness. Each steep tastes less aged and tastes more like a roasted oolong (a quality roasted oolong). In the end, it left the entire room smelling like the dry leaf aka amazing. Would any of you guys/gals buy Yancha cologne/perfume? Use the contact form on the sidebar of this blog to sign up for my fragrance line DISCLAIMER: I know nothing about this type of thing.

the drinkingteas collection

Yancha - Woody, smoky, and mineral. Complex and easy to love.
Aged Baozhong - Old leather, earth, and plums. A masterful blend of aromas to create the ultimate non-conformist's fragrance.
Aged Sheng - A longtime favorite, an enveloping combination of sweet, spicy, and earthy tones.
Gaoshan - Flowery and sweet, this one is spring in a bottle.
Dancong - With fruit and honey, this premium addition is strong and sweet.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Taiwan - the home of the best and worst aged oolongs

 Sorry for the delay - have been a combination of busy, sick, and unmotivated for the past few weeks. Will be returning to normal schedule now.

First off - a couple of announcements regarding this blog.

1. I'm going to be starting to review pu'erh (ugh...another pu'erh blog) soon, as I've essentially exhausted the western market for aged oolongs.
2. I might start doing concise reviews, and reviewing more teas
3. Upcoming reviews - Teamasters oolongs, Aged Shui Xian, Aged Oriental Beauty, Wistaria Tea House 2005 Pu'erh and a Ruby Red

It's finally here...the Gukeng Township 1983 oolong is getting reviewed.

Dry leaf is curly and dark, maybe shaped like a Biluochun. Has a distinct dry-leaf smell of raisins, as does the wet leaf, which is like a wet version of the dry leaf. This tea steeps out to a golden yellow/brown color, which is very light for the age. Oolongs this old usually steep to a dark brown color. I noticed this when trying this the first time as well.

The first time I tried this one it was in my friend's Yixing pot that he uses for all oolongs (90's Zhuni Shuiping, 95ml, standard stuff, nice clay) and it was smooth and buttery. Not sure why, but it's pretty bitter and mild now. Still quite buttery, but definitely not as good. Slight notes of golden raisin? Possibly due to storage in an off-brand ziploc for 3 months.

Overall, this tea is not very good, bland and boring. Definitely not 1983, probably around 10 years old max.

Next one is a mystery, from the same shop, same price. Label says something about 1954, and I immediately call bullshit, as it's $4/oz. The dry leaves smell fine, the plummy smell with quite a bit of mineral aroma. They're small and curly, like the last one. Steeps out to a clear medium brown (think milk chocolate) color.

Mmm...tastes sublime.....................SIKE!!!!!!!! Easily one of the worst teas I've ever had, think liquid earwax. It's incredibly bitter, which is something that shouldn't happen in an aged oolong. Even with flash brews, it was unbearably bad. I can imagine the thought process behind this tea. Imagine 10 tea industry folks sitting at a conference table, talking about how they're going to play a prank on Jake by making a horrible tea. It's that bad. Guess what, you guys won. This is the worst tea ever made. I would rather drink Lipton, or maybe an herbal or flavored tea. Shit, I'd rather drink flavored coffee than this. Yeah, flavored coffee. The worst stuff known to man. Rather drink that and lose all of my coffee cred than have this tea pass through my lips again. It's that bad. I might break my jaw on purpose, getting it wired shut will make sure that I can't drink this tea again. It's that bad. I would recommend burning this tea, but the fumes aren't worthy of entering the atmosphere. I wouldn't soil the trashcan by putting this tea anywhere near it. It's that bad. If I feed the leaves to my dog he'll run away. If I feed the leaves to my cat she would scratch my eyes out (if only she would scratch my tongue out instead, I would never have to taste this tea again). It's that bad. It's THAT BAD.

If the poison doesn't kill me, I'll post again next week. If not, thanks for reading the blog.


P.S. Happy October 17th! Yep, it's 10/17. 1017 Brick Squad day. For the uninformed, 1017 Brick Squad is one of the most important collectives in Trap Music (not the EDM type, but the rap kind). Comprised of veterans and pioneers such as Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame, along with modern innovators such as Young Thug and Chief Keef, 1017 Brick Squad is one of the most well-known names in rap music. Any rap fan should know at least 5 of Flocka or Keef's ad-libs or at least 10 of Gucci Mane's unusual pronunciations of common words. Any modern rap fan should know the producers' signature taglines (Young Chop on the beat, etc.)  Check these out:


~~~and every chief keef song~~~