This tea is big, and burly, and it does not mess around. It penetrated deep into my gut, and left a flavor behind that lasted for minutes. The dry leaf had a very distinct aroma of cocoa and coffee; the flavor changed intriguingly throughout the session as notes of cocoa, wood, nuts, sweetness, and grain came to the forefront, subsumed, and recombined into many varying combinations. The tea was incredibly thick, both in the mouthfeel and all the way down, leading to a feeling of fullness I haven’t really experienced from a tea before. Jethro Tull would liken it unto a brick, methinks.
I actually took two mid-session breaks with this tea, because I was satiated, and wished no more. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it thoroughly, but it reached a point if I drank too quickly where by body was thoroughly suffused with tea. This tea was definitely a stout, to use a beer analogy, as it was thick, rich, and not a chugging candidate, but very complex and satisfying to my palate. I think it stood up well to any aged oolong I’ve experienced. While not quite matching the initial taste grandeur of BTTC’s 1998 SLX, it was better in pretty much every other category, excepting price. In particular, the flavor post-swallow would burst forth, like a phoenix, and delight the senses with a final hurrah during the middle steeps. All in all, a wonderful experience shared with some wonderful folks via a series of tubes.