The Honey Orchid, also called the Magnolia Fragrance or the Milanxiang, is probably the single most popular dancong oolong cultivar in production. We have had many grades of Milanxiang from every producer we sit to drink tea with for these past six or seven years frequenting the phoenix mountains. This cultivar is probably the easiest to recognize, but the hardest to hit that qunitessential blend of powerful floral fragrances mixed with mineral sweetness. This year, the heavy roast Milanxaing from Mrs. Chen hits that mark like a bell.
The dry leaves when placed in a warm gaiwan exude a darkly alluring scent of melted butter and caramel with something more floral hiding in the background. As with most heavy roasted oolongs, this fragrance transforms into something more akin to pinesap and roasted cedar when first infused with hot water. Since this tea is so expertly heavy roasted, it will do best with a few more months of rest before the roast really melds with the leaves. That said, it is still a pleasure to drink at the moment.
The brew is a rich gold and the tea coats the tongue and soft palate beautifully. The mineral notes released by the heavy roasting are off the charts in this tea, leaving a tingling slightly sweet sensation long on the tongue. Naturally this translates to a pretty hefty huigan, and a honey-drenched aroma lingering in the empty cup. As the infusions continue, the floral bouquet of this tea rises from the mineral depths and once again takes center stage, showing the truth behind one of this teas common translations, Magnolia Flower Fragrance.