I only bought a few Oolongs from last month’s batch purchase from Upton, but the ones I did get sounded pretty stellar.
funny bothersome thing about Shui Hsian is the multiplicity of ways it’s spelled. I’m not sure why Upton chose to spell their Hsian with an “a” as hsien is equally often transliterated with an “e”, but it might have something to do with the fact that the word is alternatively spelled “shui xian” (水仙). The name shui hsien means “narcissus” or “water sprite” and there are a great many legends regarding the origin of the tea and the name, many dating to the Qing, but translating them is beyond my linguistic reach. Today’s tea is actually the second Shui Hisan I’ve reviewed.
Shui Hsian is traditionally grown on Mount Wu Yi (that is to say, where the oldest trees are found and the cultivar taken from), and is known to convey a heavily honeyed aroma. The Zhangping (漳平) growing region is on the opposite end of the province, far to the south of Nanping, actually much closer to Taiwan than to Wu Yi. Thus, one can expect a blend of Wuyi Rock and Dan Cong attributes.
Apart from being a lightly pressed cake of loose leaf with stellar coloration, Zhang Ping Shui Hsian is fairly unassuming. Though actually the liquor itself does have quite the amazing copper gold tone to it. In scent, Zhang Ping Shui Hsian offers up a delicate bit of lilac and carmel. The spent leaves, which unfurl to an interestingly contoured twiggy full-leaf budset, only vaguely reminds me of what we think of an “oolong” smelling like (oftentimes the spent leaves of an Oolong ring with a flush of oxidized vegetal aroma). Zhang Ping Shui Hsian’s liquor however, actually holds the bulk of the toe-curling Oolong tangy scent.
When i did tempt fate and swished it, i was rather surprised to find that in addition to lilac, Zhang Ping Shui Hsian has a bit of muscatel grape flavor. It’s hard to say exactly what the texture of this tea is since i can’t swallow it, but i think it was probably on the lighter side?
- Aroma – 89
- Taste – 90
- Texture – 87
- Spunk – 93
- Price – 85
- Availability – 94
- Appearance – 90
Mean score – 90% My guess is, it’s probably a great deal better than my stilted review makes it out to be. Reviewing a beverage you can’t drink is a bit like claiming to be an aficionado on Western ballet when you grew up in Edo Japan and have never seen it performed… (except of course that I actually have drank a lot of Oolong previously).