大红袍 is a national treasure for the Chinese. If it's true, the story is spectacular . . . 4 tea bushes, dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Annual yield of less than a kilogram, with the government locking away a portion. Nixon receiving 50g in 1972 at the conclusion of his great visit to China, and the beginning of Sino-American bilateral relations. Its cult status as the greatest Oolong tea produced, with a stratospheric price to match.
The question is, what exactly am I drinking here? We've never bought tea - my family knows people. Tea-producing people in Fujian province that ship all kinds of stuff over for us. And included in this latest package was a tiny bag labelled 大红袍. I'd like to think that what I'm drinking is the real thing, but we're not that well connected. Definitely from Wuyi Mountain in Fujian, arguably the finest tea terroir in the world. In any case, the leaves show correct colour, and unravel beautifully, fermented whole. Complex, great depth, and develops a fabulous sweetness on the palate. Citrus peel and all that fragrance. Great texture and length.
I think I still have enough for maybe 2 more good brews. These oxidized teas can sometimes be boring and overdone, but occasionally they send over a few really delicate ones.