Li Xiangxi in Wuyi is making some of the best oolongs in the world. Her whole family- brothers, cousins, sisters, aunts and uncles – all pitch in to work their incredible Wuyi river valley plot, tending both wild tea trees and specific varietals, all mature root stock from 40-100 years ago. Her family is unique in their careful restraint in not over-roasting their tea. They let the natural perfumed florals and deep rocky minerality come through in every oolong they make.
This lovely light-roast Qilan is a beautiful example of Ms Li’s craft. When we taste Qilan, we look for deep luxurious florals, perfumed exotic wood and a long, drawn out aftertaste. This harvest delivers with elegance.
The aroma reminds us of marzipan cake with cream and elderberry jam. The first sips are subtle and complex- they remind us of our time in the alchemical lab of Intelligent Nutrients where they distill oils from fresh flowers and create beautiful perfumes. We get the aftertaste of concentrated rose, cardamom, and lemongrass with a crisp texture like White Peony tea.
As the Qilan opens up, it becomes buoyant and powerful like a fine dry sherry with contrasting buckwheat undertones and jasmine high notes. The aftertaste is that of cinnamon and rosewood ,accentuated by the big structured minerality that we have come to love in all of Ms. Li’s offerings.
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