What I’m about to say I have no basis other than my own drinking experience — a mere conjecture, more than anything else.
I think Taiwanese oolong age faster than mainland ones.
To clarify, I should say that Taiwanese oolongs age more markedly than mainland ones.
What I mean is that I think there’s a larger discernable difference between an older and a younger Taiwanese oolong. The difference is not only more obvious, but more qualitative. Mainland oolongs, by comparison, age slower — they retain more of their original character despite long age. I have yet to taste an aged Taiwanese oolong that really remind me of their original taste, but with mainland oolongs (and here I mostly have tieguanyin in mind) I find that I can easily tell it was not only an original tieguanyin, but have some basic idea of how the tea was, back in the day.
I have a feeling this might have to do with processing. I currently have no idea if this is indeed true, or if it’s just my small sample size playing tricks on me. I also don’t know if it’s because of the type of tea that I have found so far leading me down this road, but things like storage condition and such have large parts to play in this process.
Anyway, food for thought. Meanwhile, I take one last sip from my aged tieguanyin (mainland) before I go to bed 🙂