REAL launches a new style for autumn. But hurry… when it’s gone, it’s gone.
It has been a long 18 months. Not only have we been locked at home in isolation, but our lives have felt as if they have been on hold, waiting for the moment that we can get back out into the world.
That has also been the case for new product launches. Back in April, 2020, we stopped producing Smoke House to make space for a couple of new products. But as COVID dragged on, so did the delay in launching these new drinks.
However, with a little more time on their hands, Head Brewer, Guillermo and our brewing team have been beavering away in the background, working hard to perfect what we have (more on that soon) and to develop a number of new styles that we will steadily be releasing over the coming months.
We are really excited to bring you a first taste of things to come in the shape of our all-new Iron Goddess. As the year descends into autumn, the nights begin to draw in and the leaves on the trees start to turn red, ochre and brown, we are all in need of something to warm the senses. A soft amber liquid with rich notes of honey, macadamias, and prunes, our latest addition is the ideal drink to lift the spirits as the sun goes down early on a chilly autumn evening.
Iron Goddess: What’s in a name?
Iron Goddess is brewed with a Tie Guan Yin oolong tea from the Fujian province in eastern China. Tie Guan Yin is named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, who is known in Japan as Kannon and in Korea as Gwan-eum. Guanyiin is an embodiment of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva.
The legend goes that Wei, a poor farmer, took it upon himself to clean and care for the rather run down temple to Guanyin that he passed traveling to his tea fields every day. One night, Guanyin appeared to him in a dream, saying that there was a treasure hidden in the cave at the back of the temple. If he were to find this treasure and share it with others, the village would prosper.
The next day, Wei discovered a small tea sapling at the back of the cave. He planted it out, nurtured it, and when ready, shared cuttings with all in the village to grow. He called his tea Tie Guan Yin, or Iron Goddess of Mercy. The tea was revered widely, the village prospered as promised, and they were able to rebuild the temple to become one of the finest in the region.
How is REAL Iron Goddess made?
Oolong teas are my absolute favourites. Sometimes thought to sit between black and green teas, oolongs actually follow a process all of their own. Produced from the same tea plant, camellia sinensis, the delicate aromatic flavour of oolongs comes from their unique wilting and oxidation process. The tea leaves are left to wilt in the sun, and are then lightly bruised to stimulate the oxidation process. This is usually carried out in large bamboo rolling baskets to control the level of oxidation.
It is the level of control of both temperature and time in oolong processing that makes this tea so special. Depending upon the amount of bruising and rolling, the leaves can be anywhere between 8-80% oxidised. The teas that we use are on the longer end of this, resulting in rich honey and nutty flavours characteristic of our Iron Goddess.
Fermentation times are long, often beyond four weeks, allowing the warm fruity aromas to emerge and settle in the liquid. Accompanying the honey notes, nuts are converted to macadamias, and touches of dried apricot and prune emerge to round out the flavours. Of course, all of these are natural to the tea leaves themselves, as well as the fermentation process. No flavourings are added to achieve this.
How do we serve Iron Goddess?
Iron Goddess is perfect to serve as an aperitif, particularly on cold autumnal evenings, when the first fires of the year are set. Serve it alongside roasted chestnuts for a comforting start to the evening. It serves beautifully with duck, particularly with a fruit sauce, with ribs, tagine or any other rich warming dishes. And what a perfect accompaniment to Christmas lunch: start the meal with a bottle of Royal Flush to celebrate, and balance the rich turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce with a warming bottle of Iron Goddess.
We are releasing our Iron Goddess as a limited edition winter special. We have only produced 1,000 bottles and when they are gone there will be no more available. So hurry down and stock up for the autumn, but keep back a few bottles with which to celebrate Christmas.