|"The presence of oolong is apparent, but not so much so that it lives up to the grandest of possibilities of something so seemingly unique."|
The leaves of the Darjeeling Oolong look very much like a standard Darjeeling. Its aroma invites a unique blend of elements with the familiarity of Darjeeling being the most prominent. A mild earthiness accompanies the largely Darjeeling-esque structure, and an overall eclectic array of unique characteristics bolsters the tea, making for something of a distinct incorporation.
Each infusion carries with it an obvious Darjeeling flavor profile, perhaps more so than one might expect out of a Chinese variety oolong. There are, however, relatively pronounced elements akin to an aged Tieguanyin, and the brew does not hold a distinctively Darjeeling essence. Instead, the muscatel composition is a bit muted, leaving out many of the fainter components of a first flush. The reduction in the tea's "Darjeeling-ness" is not supplanted by its semi-oxidized nature, but instead is left missing without any substantial replacement. The presence of oolong is apparent, but not so much so that it lives up to the grandest of possibilities of something so seemingly unique. Whether the brew's lacking elements stem from the potentially compromising blend of the two varietals or from an overall average quality is difficult to discern, though I would be inclined to assume more of the latter.
Overall, Teayama's Darjeeling Oolong is without question a unique leaf, with an intriguing profile different than any other tea one will come across. But uniqueness on its own just doesn't quite translate to the most memorable of brews. Different isn't bad in this particular instance, but it falls short of delivering anything groundbreaking.
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