Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Mi Lan Xiang, literally “Honey Orchid Fragrance” is a real understatement for this tea. The aroma is absolutely heady and enveloping, like walking into a temple burning sandalwood incense with lotus flowers strewn about, and a faint whiff of pine sap and honeydew melon.
Learn more about this tea here.
I don’t know why I am sitting here in utter amazement. You’d think that by now, I’d come to expect an exceptional tea from Verdant, and really, I do expect just that, so I guess what I’m trying to say is that such an expectation would render me not so surprised when the tea is indeed exceptional.
But here I sit, astonished and really, quite bowled over at how good this tea is.
The aroma of the dry leaf should have tipped me off. It smells incredible, and is quite like it’s described in the above “Tea Description.” I smell notes of burning incense, flowers and melon. I also smell something not mentioned in the aforementioned tea description: freshly baked goods. My mouth began watering as I stood there, in a daze by the smell of such a delectable fragrance.
I steeped this the way I would normally steep a quality Oolong tea – in my gaiwan, using short steeps following a quick rinse, combining the results of two infusions in one cup and savoring the mixture.
The first cup offered notes of spice and wood. In my first couple of sips, I did not taste a “lotus” like flavor, but as I continued to sip, the lotus flavor developed. I found this first cup to be more savory with hints of a honey-esque sweetness underneath, rather than the other way around. Many times, with Oolong tea it tends to be quite sweet with notes of savory to contrast the sweetness, here it’s the other way around with more savory tones and the occasional sweet note to contrast the savory qualities. The sip finishes dry with a mineral-y kind of taste, and the aftertaste starts out clean, with more of a melon-like sweetness developing in the aftertaste as I continue to sip.
The second cup is smoother, with more fruit tones. Citrus-y, with a tangy astringency at the tail. The description on the website suggests a grapefruit-like taste and I’d agree with that assessment. I am experiencing less mineral at the finish this time, and the finish is less dry … in fact, I’d describe it as almost juicy. The sweetness is less like honey this time, with the sweetness focused more on the fruit notes. I am finding the woody tones developing, and the floral notes becoming softer in this cup.
With my third and final cup, I noticed the flavors becoming a bit softer and smoother, and yet … somehow richer. The fruit notes are well-pronounced now, and the spice tones have become more significant. The floral notes are not completely gone, but I find that I notice them primarily at the finish and in the aftertaste, and not so much during the sip, which seems to have become mostly about the fruit notes, a hint of wood and earth, and a lovely set of spices.
A lovely, complex cup. Definitely a tea I’d recommend to all who enjoy a good cup of Oolong. It is worth the effort to infuse it multiple times, as each cup produced becomes an adventure.