Assam Smoked Oolong is a rare and highly unusual tea to come from Assam in India. There are hardly any estates that produce oolong tea in Assam. We only know of two: Mothola and Doomni. After some searching around for Assam oolongs, and establishing that this in particular is one amazing tea, we managed to source some of this Smoked Oolong from Mothola Tea Estate.
Mothola Tea Estate is located on the north bank of the Brahamaputra River in eastern Assam. In the past the tea estate lost of a lot of land to the river but recently land has been reclaimed and new tea plants were planted. Mothola Tea Estate produces a wide variety of teas, but they also specialise in producing more unusual teas in very small amounts, like this Assam Smoked Oolong and their Assam White tea.
For anyone who is cautious about trying a smoked tea, please do not hesitate to try this one! The level of smoke in this tea is much less than in most Lapsang Souchongs (the archetypal smoked tea) giving a flavour that is more balanced and not as strong. This is largely due to other smoked tea usually being smoked over pine or similar strong woods. This oolong however is smoked over oak instead, enriching the tea with a gentler flavour. It is still reminiscent of a camp fire and has that smoky taste but is nowhere as pungent.
The dried leaves of this second flush Smoked Assam Oolong are rather large and have a very beautiful appearance with plenty of gold colour. The liquor has a lovely amber red colour to it and a distinctive lightly smoked fragrance. This tea packs a lot of flavour and has a malty, sweet and balanced profile of smoke, tobacco and fruits. In particular there are apricot notes that are quite delightful and balance the smoke quite well. At the same time, this tea has a most intriguing flavour resemblance, which is whisky. The various tastings of this tea led us time and again to draw similarities between this Assam Smoked Oolong and a good single malt Scotch whisky. Definitely one of the more manly and intriguing teas taste-wise out there!
This tea is best brewed at 90°C for 2-3 minutes and should be brewed multiple times. Best taken without milk or sugar.