I make it a point to obtain some freshly produced Oriental Beauty oolong every summer. This seductive tea is one of my favorite seasonal indulgences. It's quite easy to fall in love with it. The best example that I ever tried made me swoon in adoration as she sang all the low, mid and high notes in symphony.
I think the mark of a superior Oriental Beauty oolong is the presence of acidic nose / taste (the high notes -- fruity, sweet and sour) that is the signature of summer, insect-bitten teas. At the other end of the scale, the high degree of oxidation should lend the tea its mid and lower notes (honey, floral, caramel). When all is well, the effect can be euphoric.
This 2008 summer harvest is among my recent purchases from Houde. I seemed to have underestimated the leaves' density in dry form, and as a result may have used too much leaves this morning. To compensate, I employed flash steepings in the beginning and add mere seconds to later infusions.
Floral and honey notes are more prevalent here, with only a hint of the high sweet-sour notes, which I was craving after. There is a slight bitter undertones, too. I still need to "play around" with it. For now, it lacks the higher notes. Next time I will use less leaves and longer steeping time to, hopefully, coax out its fruitier personality.