I know I only recently did a white tea review but when I went to Fortnum & Masons in last with my mum & sister, I accidentally bought two white teas not realising that I needed some variety to write about. But never mind, I enjoy white teas so I’m not complaining!
So the last review was on 2008 Wild Aged Bai Mu Dan, the one today is a White Peony King. The two will be fairly which is a fairly similar as White Peonys are also called Bai Mu Dan. I picked it up from the section in Fortnum & Masons where you can choose the amount you want, however frequently they don’t have the little information cards so I don’t have the full details on this blend in particular. But on the Fortnum & Masons website there is a ‘Fuding White Peony King‘ Blend which I’m assuming is going to be one of same.
This blend comes from the Tai Lao Mountain in the Fuding area of Fujian Qingchuan Bay in China which is in the south eastern coastline. The description of the blend is ‘a clean mellow taste with golden liquor that can be drunk at any time of day’ . The wonderful flavours from the Aged Bai Mu Dan makes me think that this too is a suitable drink for anytime, giving a calming but lifting energy in the morning and satisfies my sweet tooth in the afternoon.
Since I’ve already done the post on Bai Mu Dan, I won’t go into the full detail of how the white tea is made. But I will do a quick summary to say that it is the least processed of all the teas that are made which is why they look so close to leaves still on bushes. They are called white tea because they still have white almost fur on the buds which I learnt after one of my recent videos are called trichomes.
The dry leaves of this blend smell fresh, like dried flowers and hay but not a musky smell, its pleasant. There is a lingering scent of muscatel and honey. The leaves are in different sizes ranging from white downy tips to open leaves. There are some stems in there too but not many, its as if the leaves haven’t been too faffed about in, just left as they are. There is a beautiful range of colour shades from white/grey to greens and darker browns. Some of the leaves have broken up but I think that might be partially due to the bag being full and getting bashed about in travel.
I brewed the tea in 80 degree water for about 4 minutes (though I could go up to 90 degrees & for up to five minutes). The leaves have changed to softer sea grey green colour. The smell of muscatel is strong, with a hint of a forest after a short rainfall, its fresh and mild. There is the notes of floral but only subtly.
The liquor is a bright clear pale golden colour like an early rising rays of sunshine. It smells mild, slightly sweet and with a hint of floral notes. The flavour is sweet as well, not overly sickly sweet but sweet like some blueberries or raspberry just without the tanginess. White Peony is called so because its meant to have peony notes. Now I’m not sure exactly what peony tastes like but I can image its this. Its not overly floral but like a hint of it like elderflower with added muscatel, but its got a wonderfully full mouth feel. In my Tea Companions book, the White Peony is said to have hints of nuttiness which I can taste as well. Its just on the end of the tongue as you swallow the liquor, almost hazelnuts.
Its a mellow, calming flavour that I really like, something that would be really good mid afternoon (which is when I’m writing this) as the sweetness is balanced enough that I don’t feel I want to dig out a chocolate from the Christmas treats tray. Its got a wonderful lasting flavour that stays in your mouth even after you’ve finished drinking, even makes me crave another. I’m happily re-infusing my leaves several times and enjoying whilst I get back to work mindset after Christmas. But also I’m looking forward to drinking this over spring and summer where the weather is warmer and this light, delicate, sweet flavour is a perfect accompaniment a good book sat in the sun.
I really enjoy this blend, I’d need to do a cup by cup comparison to see which I prefer out of this or the 2008 Wild Aged Bai Mu Dan, but again I’ll say that it is a shame more people aren’t trying white tea! The more I try white teas, the more I fall in love with them. They are so complex, beautiful and more than just the teabags you get in most places. Its so delicious and with the suspected further health benefits, why wouldn’t you want to try it! But this is a wonderful blend I am going to keep drinking throughout the year and will definitely go on the hunt to find other delicious white teas!