Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tasting: Oolong Happiness With Palais des Thés

Feng Huang Dan Cong tea
Oolongs can be intimidating merely for the sheer variety and range in price. When splurging, it's important to feel confident with the purchase. The best oolongs are always well worth the price, which is the case with two new oolongs from Palais des Thés, Dong Ding Jade Oolong, and Feng Huang Dan Cong (Special Phoenix Tea).

I noticed these teas are considered 'grand cru' which is a term usually used for wine. It denotes a specific high level vinyard or terroir that produces a quality product. After tasting these two beautiful teas, I can understand why they are considered grand cru.

Dong Ding Jade -- I do enjoy dong ding oolongs, and this a very fine example. This tea is grown in the mountains of Taiwan's Nantou county and the leaves are plucked and rolled by hand.

Dong Ding 
The dry leaves are buttery and sweet, with hints of caramel and a vegetal undertone. The brewed tea is also quite buttery in taste and mouth feel. It is smooth with flavors ranging from jasmine, and coconut, to lightly roasted with a bit of cooked greens. This is a peaceful, developed tea with flavors to please most oolong lovers. The leaves are enormous and vibrant green. I felt very relaxed after drinking this tea.

Dong Ding

Feng Huang Dan Cong- This phoenix oolong comes from Guandong province in China. These leaves are grown at a high altitude and are fermented briefly during processing.

The dry leaves have a woodsy toasty aroma with a bit of spice. When I closed my eyes I could see cinnamon sticks and toasted hazelnuts with a few flowers scattered in the background. The brew is rounded yet intensely deep. Flavors of toast, apples, and a surprising bit of citrus. There is a lingering spice reminding me of that cinnamon stick. The strong flavors are smooth and have a mellowing effect.

I've been drinking these two oolongs for a few days, and I cannot stop. The flavors linger for a long time, even an hour after my last sip there is a whisper left on my palate. These teas are expensive, but worthy of a splurge for an oolong lover.

A big thank you to Palais des Thés and Fraiche PR for the samples.

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