Monday, February 20, 2017

Tillerman Tea: Wenshan Bao Zhong Winter 2016, A Tea Review

You know, if someone magically had the power to shoehorn me into eating one type of cuisine for the rest of my life, and that cuisine was Middle Eastern, I would be perfectly happy. That whole region has some of the best food...and this is from the person who eats a ton of other cuisines and considers myself a traveler of the world's food. Once a month I treat myself to a feast of this cuisine, luckily Kansas City has a lot of restaurants in this style, from a spectacular Persian restaurant, an award winning Greek, and a wonderful hole-in-the-wall Shawarma place right down the road (and a bunch more I have not tried yet) which has an amazing Shawarma over seasoned rice dish I am fond of. Of course, this has sparked a bit of debate, since Ben loves the Greek restaurant's Tzatziki and I am more partial to the local Shawarma place's, the big difference is they use more dill and a bit of mint which I think compliments the meat.

Today I am taking a look at an Oolong, that to me, is the epitome of spring time, in celebration of all the crocuses in the yard, a Wenshan Bao Zhong, this one from Tillerman Tea, their Winter 216. The aroma of the emerald twisty leaves is very sweet, notes of hyacinth, honeysuckles, and orchids, with undertones of buttery toast, lettuce, celery, and a surprising (but very welcomed) note of almond at the finish. I love the floral aspects of Bao Zhong, but my favorite is definitely when it has a touch of crisp green along with the flowers, it adds a bit of depth and makes the aroma more like a garden rather than just a pile of blossoms. That almond note though, that is fantastic and I really like it, nutty notes make me happy, but doubly so when mixed with spring flowers.

Into my yixing the leaves go and wow, the flowers are intense! Strong notes of honeysuckle and orchid blend with lilacs and hyacinth with a tiny touch of lily flowers. Underneath all those flowers is a bit of buttery cooked lettuce and cooked celery, adding a touch of green. The aroma of the liquid is sweet, notes of lilac and hyacinth with a touch of lettuce and a bit of fresh green sage to add an herbaceous note I love.

Ooh it starts quite smooth, no gentle build up, it starts strong with a buttery mouthfeel and full spring flower taste. Notes of hyacinth and lilies is how the first steep begins, then it moves to sage and celery with a touch of orchids. The finish is a wonderfully sweet honeysuckle and slightly herbaceous sage with a lingering aftertaste of butter and hyacinth.

On to the next steep, as I fight a battle with staying inside the house and not frolicking out in the first spring drizzle. This might be the lily-est Bao Zhong I have had, usually I find they go really heavy in the hyacinth and lilac note and only hints (if at all) but this one tastes and smells like a bouquet of my much loved Asiatic spicy lilies. Also, I note hints if peony flowers with strong buttery lettuce notes at the finish. The aftertaste is a clean celery and hyacinth note and it lasts a while, with several minutes later the spicy lily taste returns. I love the lilies so much. I was able to get several more flowery sweet and crisp green steeps out of this tea!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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