Peter Guagy is a friend of ours who has a great wine background and is excessively talented at describing his experience of tea. He works in Santa Fe at the Nuart Gallery on Canyon Road.
Iron Goddess of Mercy oolong
The leaves are dark and twisted into half-balls of oolong goodness. Light liquor with green to yellow tinge. The nose has a grassy, toasted rice quality. On the palette a toasted, oily and wood like qualities, or that of dried fruit. This tea feels full-bodied on the mouth with a heavier, feel of a pile of wet fall leaves, with darker slight-floral undertones and an elemental touch of incense. Rather than being sharp, the tannic acid is dull and yet gives the tea substantial structure and body.
Associations, a walk through the woods on a fall day, rotting tree limbs and wet leaves perfume the air. There is a feeling of being well bundled up on a brisk day. This tea is serious and does not let you take it lightly, but you will be rewarded with a rich earthy experience.
The leaves are tightly wound and appear to be almost braided. Light liquor. Nose has a bright greenish floral note with a white oily nut. On the palette it has the delicate forward tannins that give it a green apple like sharp quality. The mid-palette is rich with a fuller body than one may expect, but it still dances to music of a higher key. The finish is sweet and candied with a slight hint of coconut milk that lingers on and on.
This tea is a delight and brings a sense of joy to one’s heart. It is bright and cheerful, but like a smart child –it asks deeper questions than one would expect from one so innocent. Spend some time with h this one and it will take you to happy places.
Monkey Picked oolong
The leaves are twisted and curled into small dark green balls. Light Liquor. The tea has a lovely nose of mixed Asian spices, a perfumed cedar box and orchid undertones. The is a gentle mouth feel and a roundness on the palette. This tea is mid-toned – no bright acidity and no deep earthiness, but rather a light white asparagus on the finish. A little leafy, a little toasted and a little nutty. But, overall a very pleasant experience.
Maybe, it is the name, or perhaps the damp hints of incense, earth and flowers, that made me think of a tropical rainforest. I did not hear the monkey’s howl, but perhaps the historic name lingers on in the essence of this tea.
Pouchong Transitional oolong
Being a transitional oolong, the leaves are half-curled. Between a green tea and an oolong. The liquor has a light green to yellowish translucent tinge. On the nose this tea is aromatic with herbaceous floral notes. In the mouth, it is reserved with a toasted rice delicacy and well integrated green tea type tannins.
This is a very easy, light tea that does not demand too much attention. It just wants to be enjoyed without too much focus. A perfect accompaniment to a conversation with a friend.