Monday, July 10, 2017

Tillerman Tea: A Trio of Taiwanese Teas, A Tea Review

Those who follow my antics on Instagram have seen my slowly growing collection of Age of Sigmar Grand Alliance Undead, with the big piece being my converted Mortis Engine/Coven Throne that I have named the Mortis Throne. I love this model, it is beautiful, but painting it is nightmarish! Makes the Ma'al Drakar the Dragon Tyrant look tame, mostly because it is fairly spindly and the points of contact between pieces is not as big or interlocking as I prefer. I am certain I am going to have the whole thing fall apart before I am done painting it, or if I breathe on it too strongly! In hindsight, I should have done a bit of pinning, though not sure how that would have worked with the floating spirits at the top.

Recently Tillerman Tea sent me three of their new teas, which I found exciting since I really have enjoyed their other teas, so without further ado, let us get into it! Starting with Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Spring 2017, it is well known how much I adore SLX, it is possibly one of my favorite mountains to get tea from. The aroma of this one is pretty amazing, combining honeysuckle, plumeria, gardenia...and an unmistakable aroma of lemon cheesecake that took me by surprise! It smells so good, like eating dessert next to a bouquet of flowers, it is heady and very sweet!

I have had a couple sessions with this tea since the sample arrived and I still feel like I cannot give it a proper description, it is one of those teas that is more an experience than a set of tasting notes. It is a subtle tea, never overwhelming with its tastes, they are balanced and delicate while being distinct. Notes of crisp vegetation, blooming summer flowers, sugar cane, and a creamy sweet sesame nuttiness. One thing that really struck me was the unique mouthfeel, like a lot of Gaoshan Oolongs it is smooth and very thick, but it also has a crispness that left my mouth very refreshed. I really enjoyed this tea, it was wonderfully sublime and definitely required my full attention.

Next up is Wen Shan Bao Zhong Spring 2017, I had the Winter 2016 and was quite enamored with it, this one is exciting because it has a slight roast to it, usually, Bao Zhongs are the greenest Oolongs you can get, so any amount of roasting sets it apart. The aroma is a blend of sage, orchid, hyacinth, lilies, and a wonderful mellow note of buttery sesame seeds. I love that tiny bit of a buttery nutty note from the roast, it adds a layer of depth I am not used to in a Boa Zhong.

I drank this one last night, expecting a normal vibrantly green BZ (having not looked at the website before drinking) and I ended up staying up til 5 am painting and chugging this tea. The combination of the oh so familiar notes of hyacinth and lily with a hint of herbaceous sage and thyme (love when BZs are more than just a flower pile) with a thick buttery sesame seed and toast finish that stole my heart. This one might be my favorite BZ, mostly because it is very obviously a BZ but has differences that make it really exciting, plus killer longevity, this tea did not want to quit!

Lastly Organic Chingjin 'Red' Oolong Autumn 2016, one of my favorite ever style teas, Hong Shui! Hong Shui (aka Red Water) is an Oolong that has been usually lightly roasted (I have had some with a higher roast) but has a higher oxidation than the greener Oolongs. I like to think of Hong Shui as being the true midpoint between Oolongs and Black teas, especially if they are only lightly roasted, they are truly delicious. The aroma of this tea is soooo good, notes of almond, oatmeal, plum pie (ok with the plum pie and oatmeal I am going to say this is officially cobbler) and an immensely sweet honey finish.

All of you should at this point be glad that you are not around when I am tasting these teas, because sometimes I get loud with my happy taste noises. This tea has one of my favorite ever tasting notes, orange blossoms! Strong notes of orange blossom dance with plum cobbler, almonds, and thick warm honey. Combine that with a very smooth and thick mouthfeel and you have a tea that borders on being a dessert. The rest of my sample is probably going to be annihilated quite quickly and I will need to get more, especially since steeping this tea grandpa style while painting is one of my favorite ways to consume it. I can't really pick a favorite out of these three, they were each unique and very delicious examples of their genre and were immensely enjoyable experiences.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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