Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Oolong
This week, I got a box in the mail from Canadian-based tea company, Pugs and Pigs! They included a few pouches of their limited-released tea 'White Grapes' -- a chardonnay barrel-aged Taiwanese oolong. In this experiment, Pugs and Pigs aged a cultivar blend oolong (Si Ji Chun and Ying Xiang) in a chardonnay barrel for three months.
Was this unique experiment in tea fragrancing a success, or a bust?
Let's find out!
Price: $5.00 USD for a 5g pouch
Dimensions: 5g of tea in a 75ml yixing tea pot
Temperature of Water: 200ºf
Infusions 1 - 6
To start, this tea's first infusion opened up to the faint notes of green-grass, dairy creme, and a light fruity-tart hint of green grape skin. As the tea opened up with the second and third infusion, the notes of buttery creme blossomed in the mouth with a very slick, yet subtle note of green grapes.
The tartness of the green-grape skin was more noticeable and left behind a tongue-warm sweetness -- similar to the same kind of feeling and sweetness of how a fig or date is warm.
By the sixth infusion, this oolong's gardenia-like green grape sweetness was perfectly balanced with notes of grass and butter. Despite being noticeable, the sweetness was more subtle.
Infusions 7 - 12
At the 7th infusion, there was a notable drop in the grape-skin like sweetness. Along with the grape-skin like sweetness, the creamy buttery notes began to drop off as well -- leaving behind strong grassy notes of fresh hay and spinach. As the session continued, the grape-skin sweetness became more and more faint. By the twelfth infusion, this tea began to faze out completely.
Despite fazing out, it still held a strong backbone that fought hard to stay alive.
However, I decided to end it here and let this tea session rest...
To start, one thing I liked about this tea was how aromatic this tea's wet leaf was. The first three infusions, I stuck my nose in my teapot and a strong aroma of sweet polished grapes and popcorn butter ran across my face. Not only was the aroma impressive, but it was also surprising. Another aspect about this tea I liked was how it managed to have a wide range of notes and textures that balanced well together. However, one drawback with this tea is that the notes of chardonnay were light. It's not something that was strong, but rather, light and breezy.
In conclusion, I think you'd want to adjust your expectations before trying this tea. Because of how subtle the notes are, along with the price point, I'm not sure I'd recommend this to someone who's not used to drinking delicate teas.
However, in my opinion, this is an experiment gone right. With how that more seasoned tea enthusiasts will love and appreciate, and should at least try once.
I'll certainly be looking forward to the next year's production of this tea!
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~ Blissfully Tea Drunk