Oaks Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling is an extremely well-made Darjeeling. It has some of the typical tangy sharpness in the front of the palate that marks most 1st Flush Darjeeling Estate teas. If you love the flavor of a classic Darjeeling tea but also like it to be balanced with a full-bodied mouthfeel, then give this Darjeeling a try.
While full-bodied and smooth, this tea has a very classic, old-fashioned Darjeeling style. The tea maker has incorporated into its flavor profile a little of the modern, European preference for fresh and lively briskness. Visually, the dry leaf has a wonderful medium length, a classic twist, and is a ‘fine pluck’ with just a little of the dark ‘green’, non-oxidized particle in its contemporary 1st Flush leaf style. There is also a significant amount of ‘tip’ that insures the desired balance of briskness to floral aromatic in the steeped cup.
Most Darjeeling enthusiasts cite the honeysuckle overtones that are prevalent in Oaks Darjeelings. The tea has a smooth, solid camphor / sandalwood aspect to its aromatic, and there is a clean, rich flavor that we normally associate with root vegetables such as carrot. There is also just a little of the classic ‘tomato stem’ in the aroma and taste, and the overall vegetal nature is present without bold pungency. The flavor does not linger but fades pleasantly, ready for another sip.
Oaks Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong North section of the Darjeeling Hills tea district. It is near the town of Sonada, which lies about halfway between Darjeeling town and Kurseong. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (also known as the Toy Train) passes through this area and there is a train station in Sonada.
Together with several other of the small, lesser-known gardens in this small section of Darjeeling, Oaks Tea Estate maintains superb gardens that are of high repute, although only devotees and connoisseurs of Darjeeling tea tend to be knowledgeable of this garden. In fact, the Darjeeling teas that we have been sourcing from Oaks Estate the last few years have become some of our favorites here at Tea Trekker!