According to Chinese lore, the mountains of Hunan province are one of the few places in China believed to have been home to the Fenghuang, mythical birds that ruled over all other winged animals. The Fenghuang’s legendary status was highlighted by the belief that the bird’s physical form was actually a conglomerate of the various body features of other birds. According to the Erya, an ancient Chinese dictionary dating from the 3rd century, the Fenghuang inhabited the craggy peaks of the Kunlun Mountains. The birds had the beak of a rooster, a swallow’s face, a chicken’s forehead, the neck of a snake, the back of a tortoise, breast of a goose, hindquarters of a deer and the tail of a fish. (It was quite an animal.) So, how does the Fenghuang fit in with Red Hunan Oolong? Well, on one of our purchasing trips to Hunan tea country, we were told that the Fenghuang played a role in Red Hunan’s creation story. The tale went something like this:According to the grandmother of one of the growers we met, many, many years ago, there was only green tea, white tea and regular oolong tea, which was sometimes referred to as blue tea. One day, a royal decree came from a regional warlord that in a month’s time, he would be coming through the village for a visit and as such, demanded a tribute. What’s more, he demanded a tribute the likes of which had never seen before anywhere in China. Failing to impress the warlord would mean certain death. The village council was distraught.A week before the warlord was set to return the villagers still had nothing. The next morning, as if by some miracle, the village woke to the mournful cries of a wounded Fenghuang that had been shot down by the warlord’s archers and landed beside the village well. The villagers nursed the great bird back to health and in return, the bird told them a secret recipe for developing a new type of tea that would appease the warlord. The new tea, as you can imagine, was Red Hunan Oolong. Do we believe the tale? We definitely believe that Red Hunan is some of the finest oolong we’d ever tasted out of Hunan. Try and you’ll agree. The cup opens with spectacular notes of toast and full-bodied character leading to a light smooth finish. A fabulous tea worthy of any myth imaginable..