Qilan, or the Wonderful Orchid, is one of the more aromatic Wuyi Yancha's produced in this rocky realm of North-Eastern Fujian. Usually less roasted than other common varietals such as Rougui or Big Red Robe, it is the bright frangarances of the Wonderful Orchid that producers seek to draw forth and accentuate. If you like the fragrance-forward Dancong oolongs, but want a richer roast, then this is the tea for you.
The warmed leaves give off the aroma of butter toffy and baked cake, once brewed the floral fragrances come to fore, giving the unmistakable wild orchid aroma along with a thicker more pollen laden iris fragrance. As the brews continue, the roast and leaves meld into something distinctly spicy, like freshly grated cinnamon or nutmeg, or baked gingerbread. After half a dozen infusions, the tea becomes very soft with notes of sweet cream comparable to even the butteriest Duck Shit Fragrance Dancong Oolong.
The brew is a rich gold, and the tea itself is slightly more roasted than many other Qilan we have come across, yet the roast suits the leaves very well, ever balancing between the toasted notes and the rich floral vegetation. The roast does a lot of the mouthfeel of the tea, creating a soft silky texture on the tongue, while the aroma lifts to light up the soft palate.