Old Immortal Old Dude (老仙鶲, Lǎo Xiān Wēng, "Old Immortal Old Dude") - In the celebrated tradition of naming Phoenix Oolongs after random things, Old Immortal Old Dude is our best shot at translating a tea called Lǎo Xiān Wēng 老仙鶲. Word for word, Lǎo means "old," Xiān means "immortal" or "supernatural being," and Wēng is a term used to refer to old men who are not related to the speaker (i.e. not Grandpa, just some old guy). It's an obscure cultivar of medium-low oxidation. Contrary to its name it has a lively, envigorating Qi that could be called youthful--maybe that's how immortal old dudes feel all the time. Its profile is a balanced and sweet blend of fruity, creamy, and floral notes producing an overall effect reminiscent of saltwater taffy. There is also a sugar-sweet fragrance similar to cotton candy. A pleasing afterfragrance of toasted corn or barley on the exhale and a lingering cup fragrance of warm poundcake.
Old Lao….Old Dog….Old Immortal….Old dude…. The year is 1981. Seven year-old me has managed to procure a cheap little black cassette player for my birthday. Up to this point in life, my tender ears have only been exposed to my dad’s country, bluegrass, and old-time music; much of it played at the foot of my bed on his ‘ol Pimentel six-string as I drifted toward dreamland. With the cassette player has come contraband in non-traditional guise. Some older neighbor-boys have introduced me to rock-n-roll and heavy metal. Somehow I have convinced my parents to purchase a new tape for me: ac/dc back-n-black. They have no idea what it is. Neither do I. First impression of this dancong is gritty. Dirty. Earthy minerality. Angus Young licks rolling off those narrow-brown strips of tape from the bowels of the underworld. But wait….that’s not all. It wants to flash a characteristic dancong fruity-if-not-tang. It teases. And teases again. Old dude’s can be fickle and mysterious, much like young women….it being the year of the rabbit (the Indigenous trickster figure throughout much of the SE US)--I do indeed find this tea to be a trickster in my explorations….one minute gritty, the next fruity….Just like an Old Dude might be….