[PLEASE SEE SECOND REVIEW BELOW. KEEPING THIS REVIEW UP TO SAVE INITIAL THOUGHTS AND FLAVOR NOTES]
Dry leaf (NUT, HERBAL): roasted peanut and peanut shell, dill, bitter green
Smell (SMOKE, MEDICINAL, VEGETAL): antiseptic, burnt toast, baked rolls, bitter greens; notes of buttered green beans; hint of apricot
Taste (MEDICINAL, BAKED, VEGETAL, FRUIT): burnt toast, baked rolls, cinnamon-raisin bread; pleasant bitter greens, buttery, green beans, cilantro. Aftertaste is thick and fruity – stonefruit (apricot) and tropical fruit (pineapple and mango)
Not quite sure where to place this one. The leaves are certainly “deeply baked.” By the end of the session, you have black – BLACK – leaves. The real question, I think, is does this baking improve the standard tieguanyin experience?
I’m going with no. The baked flavor is weird. It is noticeably antiseptic-like and medicinal, with some burnt-toast thrown in. I don’t mind char or smokiness when it works, but this just didn’t. It wasn’t awful or unpalatable, but just weird and sort of flat. The bake/roast/char flavors did not carry other flavors and develop complexity.
That said, there were some nice TGY flavors happening. The aftertaste, in particular, was thick and fruity. A very nice treat. So, overall, certainly not a bad tea. It was an interesting experience, but not one I’m going back to.
As a final note, I’m not ready to write off roasted/baked TGY just yet. Thinking of trying another vendor to see if different processing makes a difference. But, frankly, I’m missing the rich experience of a green TGY. A lot of the complexity, I feel, was killed or overridden by the bake.