Master Lin’s Song Zhong Zhi Lan Xiang 宋种芝兰香 (Song Variety Orchid Fragrance) 2015
An aged Phoenix oolong handmade by Master Lin from a tree of the Zhi Lan Xiang (Orchid Fragrance) cultivar grown on Mount Wu Dong – the Phoenix Mountains’ most celebrated peak. The cultivar is often simply known as Song Zhong, or Song Zhong Zhi Lan, due to its mother tree being identified during the Song Dynasty. It was harvested in 2015 and has been aged in situ by Master Lin for the last four years.
Phoenix oolongs are often called dancong 单丛 and are famous for their outstanding fragrances that mimic aromas often found in nature. Due to the small amounts of tea one tree can produce, most dancong are produced in large quantities by using many trees of the same cultivar. However all our teas made by Master Lin are made solely using the harvests of single, old trees resulting in teas which are completely unique in flavour and aroma.
This is a mid-oxidised and mid-roast dancong, and the four years since harvest are only just starting to push the tea into an aged direction, though it still has the vibrancy expected of a young tea. The tea is intensely floral and sharp, with a stem ginger spiciness and a orchid perfume that blooms in the mouth and throat. The persistency of the aftertaste in the throat is almost like that of a alcoholic spirit.
We have limited quantities of this tea.
Master Lin Wudong Mountain (1150m altitude), Guangdong province, China
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Single tree. Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Zhi Lan Xiang cultivar. Medium charcoal roast. Harvested April 2015.
95°C, 6g per 150mls. Wash briefly, 10+ infusions.
Mount Wudong road is like one of those insane mountain roads one sees in the Tour de France, always bending and always upwards to an unseen misty peak. For those that make the pilgrimage, it is a revelation to see some of the oldest tea trees outside of Yunnan. Some are majestic, some windswept, some with the local villagers growing beneath them, and some in groups like small orchards. Master Lin, a self taught tea maker, has made teas from many of the iconic ancient trees although doesn’t own any land himself, preferring to rent single trees and process their leaf by hand.
Master Lin’s family were not tea makers so his success and passion are all the more extraordinary. A tea maker for over 30 years, he made a point of travelling all over the Phoenix mountains to learn both from the terrain and other tea makers. Once he was confident in his own tea making skills, from 2002 he started to compete at tea competitions where his skills both as a tea maker and as a national level tea taster have helped him win many awards including the Top Gold Medal for Dan Cong at the International Tea Expo at Guangzhou in 2007. Master Lin attributes his success in competitions to his preparation and willingness to consult his fellow master tea makers.