I missed this back when it emerged at $15 the brick. By the time I was looking at W2T the price had already escalated to a point where some cognoscenti were saying “not worth it,” and it kept getting pushed down the priority list. At the current price of $0.34/g there are other teas I’d rather buy. But when a TTB arrived with a 6g sample of this, it was the first thing I grabbed.
The sample consisted of a single chunk and about a gram of fine chop and fannings. I figured this was not too different from what you’d get breaking up the brick, as the material is itself pretty finely chopped and rather tightly compressed. I made it in a 90-ml clay pot with water at the 208F setting on my boiler. A flash rinse came out a deep greenish-gold: the initial steeps made a clear orange soup.
This is not a smooth easy-to-like tea. Some other tasters have likened it to Xiaguan, and it does have in common with that a strong terpene aroma. The first 6-8 steeps I made quickly as the small bits of leaf threatened overwhelming strength. Early steeps are punchy, with a strong feel and decent huigan. There is some astringency through the session, though I’d not call it a particularly drying tea. There is a good honey-like lengxiang in the first few steeps, though it’s not super-strong.
Looking at the notes previous tasters have written: what a collection of flavors people see here! I did not find it particularly smokey, possibly due to using clay. I do not find it particularly earthy, and detected no humid storage tastes.
Many tasters have found woody flavors in this tea, and “wet wood” is often noted. Here’s my contribution: I think that taste is well-aged cardboard box. I think this tea spent a lot of years packed in cardboard, picked up the scent, and transformed it into a woody “WTF is THAT” note over time.
I am not going to rate this tea, or give it the thumbs up/down. I’m glad I had an opportunity to try it, but I wouldn’t buy it at the current price. At $0.15/g it would be a great deal, at $0.20 a good one. But at basically $100/bing there are other teas in this age range I’d rather spend my money on. You might want to buy this tea if you want some 15-years-aged raw tea and aren’t prepared to shell out for a whole bing.