I’ve been drinking this alongside the TU 2007 Bang Wei, and to be honest it has been a bit disappointing. I previously rated this tea as a 92, and noted lots of fruit, but this time around I’m detecting much less fruit. I’m hoping there isn’t a problem in my pumidor.
Tasting Notes 1st steep (10s): Light nose. Rich taste has tobacco and spice, with hints of straw and stone fruit. The fruit is especially obvious in the finish. Excellent mouth feel. Fairly strong cha qi. 2nd steep(10s): Nose is much stronger, with smoke added to the tobacco. Very big, rich flavor is dominated by the smoke and tobacco, with the fruit just barely noticeable. I’m feeling the cha qi in my neck and shoulders. Makes me want to meditate. 3rd(20s): Smoky nose and taste. The best thing about this tea is the texture and the cha qi. The taste is good but not great. In later steeps the flavors became quite bitter, though the smoke reduced enough for me to see some fruit. However, the finish was strongly smoky and bitter, which made the tea less enjoyable. I still wound up rating this as an 88 because 1) it was very interesting, and 2) the nose was great throughout and the taste was very good for the first few steeps.
I’m concerned about the great difference between my notes for this tea a year ago and what I see now. I see the following possibilities: 1) My storage has somehow driven out the fruit; 2) the tea has just aged; 3) the comparison with the very fruity Bang Wei made this tea look less fruity than it really was. To be honest, my ratings for this tea have been drifting downward, probably as I detect less fruit. I’ve noticed other teas have also drifted lower in my ratings, partly I suspect because I fall in love with a fresh, fruity tea and then age it until the fruit is gone. I think I’m going to have to sip through my pumidor to see how my other teas are faring (I’ve been drinking mostly samples this year, since the sample situation has been getting out of hand, as in boxes and boxes of sample envelopes cluttering up my study.