I do like this tea, the rating is more a reflection of it not being what I expected. I brewed this western style and didn't find it smoky or cigar-like at all, just a regular toasted oolong. So while it's nice, I have several cheaper roasted oolongs that taste the same to me and would rather buy those.
I've been long looking for a fine, smooth heavy roast oolong for a while. They tend to be either too harsh (burned) or too weak. This one is perfect, heavy, smooth roast that preserves the original tea quality and enhances it with depth and smoothness. Exceptionally well done.
The roast on this is superb. Making this a good daily drinker. That is saying something because my daily drinkers tend to be teas that cost over 50cents a gram. While this one is cheaper then that that means it’s a good tea. The longevity of the roast doesn’t last through the steeps be the beginning to mid steeps done gongfu style is a fairly decent cup of tea. I would recommend someone to revisit it. Drink it up fast because over time roasts get out of the tea. Once again this roast was done extremely well. It really makes this tea above average taste and fragrance.
This tea isn't what I was expecting from a "heavy roast" tea. The 2016 #20 charcoal roast oolong has a very upfront charcoal note until its spent some time resting in clay with some oxygen. Even then it takes a steep or two to bring out the real stonefruit flavors. Until well rested it can be described as scratchy in the throat.
Right out of the packet heavy roast dong ding one is delicious with clarity of flavors. You have a sweetness and a creaminess along side what I'd describe as a "roast" flavor that is some combination of leather/tobacco notes. It's very very good. I get no cigar or ashiness I was worried about in a heavily roasted tea.
The later steeps I find the flavors begin to muddle a bit and there is a noticeable almost grainy texture I have a feeling is caused by the roast. Based on experience with similar teas I think this may smooth out over time.