Spring 2011 Concubine Oolong from Hsin Chu
Cultivar: Qinxin DaPang
Harvested: Spring 2011
Origin: Hsin Chu county, Taiwan
Process: medium to high oxidation and roast, rolled leaves.
The leaves are rather small and not very tightly rolled. It's not so much that they have unfurled much with time, but it's because the farmer is an Oriental Beauty maker first and foremost. He's less an expert about rolling the Oolong leaves (compared to farmers in Hsin Chu). The brew has an excellent clarity and beautiful dark orange color. The open leaves confirm that the leaves are indeed quite small and therefore concentrated with flavors. They open up well, but remain a little hard due to the strong roast.
The dry leaves have this intoxicating scent that is typical for aged Oolong. It's almost alcoholic! The brew produces a mix of dark sugar, molasses and dark chocolate. There are some heavy roast scents coming from the open leaves.
Amazingly smooth despite the concentration of flavors in the cup. It melts on the tongue, wets the throat and lasts several minutes. It has lots of sweetness.
Conclusion: Usually, a concubine Oolong is a summer Oolong from the central Nantou region that imitates Oriental Beauty for its jassid bites, but is shaped like a rolled Oolong. Here, we have the reverse imitation: the Oriental Beauty farmer imitates the shape and roast of a Dong Ding Oolong in spring. But he uses his DaPang leaves and oxidized them strongly. The jassid bites are fewer than for an OB, but this roasted Oolong tea still manages a very interesting mix of flavors, especially when it's aged.