187 Tasting Notes
Dry – Standard bittersweet ripe notes, some starch, faint earthy and sweet.
Wet – Sweet, fruity complexity (dark dried fruits), faint cocoa/chocolate hints, citrus?, thickness.
Liquor – Burgundy to a reddish-brown. mellow fragrance.
Initial steeps were all sweet and smooth with a noticeable thickness and developing some dark dried fruit notes of dates and sometimes berries? with a caramel or better yet molasses finish to it. As you continued to steep the following steeps had more bittersweet-ness to them, but maintained the character from the first steep.
Around 4-6 some changes developed and I had to adjust the steep times being a bit more conscious on the color and smell of the steep, longevity issues. The steeps here are still very smooth, but wear less thickness and the fruity notes are more active. The notes remind me of dates, molasses and perhaps a Chinese dried persimmon.
Late steeps were from the 6th to a 8th and a very forced 9th steep. The notes are still here, though they are faded and is already lacking some thickness. Still very good steeps with some camphor being detected (was there before but the thickness mellowed it a bit).
A very good and simple ripe, the longevity is a bit… inconsistent, specially considering that the description says 25 infusions…. It also depends a lot on which portion of the cake you are steeping from. The middle get just a rougher with more sticks here and there, which honestly isn’t bad I felt like the middle lacks the thickness, but it has some more bitter notes that at some points may trick you into think ‘cocoa notes’.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Sweet, Thick
I found some of this in a corner of my house, so I thought I should revisit
Dry – Smells like vine tomatoes mix with a dry wood and dried plums notes, but with more ‘malt’ than I recalled (maybe it changed with time?).
Wet – It has a lot more pungency resembling the tomato vine, acidic notes, plums and some other tart and acidic fruits, malt and a starchy sweetness. (Once again not as pungent as I remembered it).
Liquor – Red copper to a reddish brown hue. Fairly aromatic with sweet notes and a malty/syrupy note. The back has some tart notes.
The taste of the broth is very sweet and malty, but it holds an extra complexity that gradually opens as it moves in my tongue and washes down. First it feels heavy with malty notes but it is immediately followed by some tart fruit notes and acidic hints. This is then followed by an apparent tomato vine notes (tastes like the tomato vines smells lol), but then mellows into more unique fruity notes and ‘green’ character.
The notes linger for a bit and then you can feel a camphor freshness in your tongue that resemble high grade Yunnan golds with a pine-y spectrum of freshness. There’s a very faint fruity note that lingers on for a while if you allow it to develop between sips. Something about this reminded me of Chrysanthemum tea as a child.
I wish I could do a time continue defying tasting session to taste the ‘new’ tea taste and this ‘aged’ taste side by side’ :P
Flavors: Green, Malt, Pine, Sweet, Tart
Dry – Thick, refreshing (camphor), sweetness with fruity notes, a candied red fruit scent.
Wet Very sweet, candied fruit, refreshing (faded mint sensation), wood, apricots dried reduced fruits, aged wood bitterness.
Liquor – Golden
1st 3secs Smooth with a clean sweetness that develops herbaceous and fruity character that seems a bit younger than the age stated, yet very pleasant with camphor (which can be indicative of the age and good storage). refreshing and pleasant huigan.
2nd 3secs Smooth with bittersweet to bitter floral notes that transition to a bittersweet to sweet notes while maintaining a tart and bitter fruit base and developing wood notes. The wood note has hints of dried fruits, but ends up becoming herbaceous and refreshing.
3rd 4secs Smooth and increasingly bitter to bittersweet on the front with deep honeyed notes and now apparent wood character with herbaceous accentuation that linger as the notes become sweeter and fresh with the camphor that lodges in the throat.
4th 6secs Bitter and bittersweet , honeyed, fruity some floral notes with wood notes and now some astringency appears with a slight drying sensation, but remains bittersweet and sweet with a refreshing finish.
I had about 11 steeps of this one. I feel like it help up with strong notes up to the 6th steep and started collapsing, but I could easily correct the times by the color of the liquor and scent.
The overall notes are good with only some astringency which is not a bad thing if you are considering aging. What I liked about this tea is that is one of those that is still defining itself in terms of age characteristics. You can see get the traits of youth from the herbaceous and fruity/floral notes; followed by the aging characteristics of aged wood and camphor. I’m not going to score this one yet. I’m going to finish my sample piece another day and updating this note with ‘updates’ and a score.
Flavors: Camphor, Fruity, Herbaceous, Honey, Wood
Dry – Tart fruits, honeyed and faintly greenwood notes (bitterness).
Wet – Sweet (honeyed), fruity, stonefruit?, orange peel, plummy, mineral and bitter floral-fruit notes. This later evolves into a more invasive Zhu (Bamboo scented) perfumy note, maybe even sandal wood.
Liquor – Dull Gold(no clear liquor) and have a spice? scent to it.
Initial steeps 1-2 (maybe 3rd) Plenty floral honey notes with a muted sweetness that follows it. The mouth feel is thick, but in a ‘waxy’ spectrum of thickness, almost like getting chap-stick in your tongue. The middle develops a savory notes as it goes down that linger a bit into the finish, but develops a floral bitterness after it washes away. The second and third steep have more fruity notes up front with a similar finish.
Middle steeps 4-5 Initial notes are floral bittersweet and floral honey with the same muted honey sweet, but once it starts to develop the fruity notes it also develops this green wood note combined with a bamboo frangrance/sandal wood perfumy note; it is still sort of pleasant, but definitelly more invasive than the previous notes. The finish stays fairly similar with some of tha perfumy/wood note. The thickness is still in there, the savory note however is playful and only apparent sometimes since it is mostly taken over by the wood and floral notes.
Final steeps 5-6+ Although I was starting to disagree with it during the 4-5th steeps, I could still enjoy most of it, but now the Floral bitterness is most of the notes with some honey that it is immediately followed by the perfumy note that still reminds me of a young Zhu/bamboo stored Sheng that has that Sandal wood perfume/incense character to it.
This notes hold the possibility of developing into really pleasant notes 10-15 years, but I don’t think I have the dedication to wait for this one, I’d rather focus on others. I’ll keep this brick around to see if it improves, but I’ll gladly ‘lose it’ if I need more space.
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Flavors: Floral, Green Wood, Honey, Perfume
Just revisiting this mini tuo. I have a 2007 version, which I need to check if I can find again because this is getting better, I bumped the score up a bit.
I’ve had them stored in a cardboard cylinder container for +-2 years and it is doing well, the rice is pretty strong still and the tea is even smoother, specially for a mini tuo. I love the scent, it is just satisfying and almost calming to have that floral/nutty rice scent.
Flavors: Bitter, Green Wood, Honey, Nutty, Rice
Dry – Aged floral bitterness, wood with sweetness, very faint dried fruits, some medicinal notes, raisins, tamarind shell.
Wet – Aged/slightly decayed wood but with a deep sweet fruit background, rich like dried dark fruits (raisins, dates, figs), dark sweet notes (molasses, caramel — the sweetness that inherently has a bitterness to it).
Liquor – Amber to reddish amber (Aromatic of dried fruits and bittersweet notes)
1st 3secs – Bittersweet woody and fruity, some bittersweet notes that resemble a very gentle tamarind with some shell pieces up front. It feels rather thick and as it goes down it is smooth and maintains the thick and rich notes with the same bittersweet-floral and woody note from the start.
2nd 3secs – Bittersweet floral/fruity and wood front that still somewhat resembles mellow tamarind(shell) to me which transfers to a richer/thicker body and notes and a lingering mouthwatering sensation. If well slurped it is more bitter up the front in a very pleasant and huigan enhancing way.
3rd 3secs – Bittersweet floral/fruity, woody front that transitions into the rich woody sweetness that resembles dried fruits such as raisins with a slightly herbaceous sweetness appearing as it washes down. Gentle camphor present.
4th 4secs – Bitter woody that becomes bittersweet woody with floral notes and a dried fruit background. As it goes down, it is still very smooth with apparent bitterness, combined with the rich dried fruit notes and hints of molasses.
5th 6secs – Bittersweet, wood, floral notes with apparent fruit background, the fruit and wood notes still combined continue to resemble a mellow/gentle tamarind note, it is almost an acidic fruit note. As it goes down, the liquor is very smooth with only minor astringency after it has completely washed down.
6th 7secs – Very similar to most previous steeps, some more astringecy seems to chime in, but still has that thick and rich body with plenty of that bitter to bittersweet note that keeps reminding me of a gentle tamaring note. The liquor continues to be aromatic.
7th 9 secs – Bitterness and bittersweet notes, wood, floral and fruits notes reappear with more energy again. After the liquor goes down the bitterness lodged in the throat and the huigan is very pleasant.
8th 10 secs – This one was cleaner steep with a bit weaker bitterness, but still very pleasant overall, mostly sweeter.
9th 14 secs – This one appears faded again in the bitterness aspects but still wears similar notes. Time for bigger steep time adjustments.
10th 25secs – Second wind; the bitter and bittersweet notes returned with most of its previous profile, a bit more floral and juicy than the richer and filling body it had before.
11th 35secs – Richer again, bittersweet as opposed to the weaker flat bitterness with less wood and more fruit notes. A very pleasant and lasting/lingering huigan.
12th 45secs – Still holding up for the most part, you can tell this one still has a few more steeps in it.
13th 1min – Returned some of the initial notes of bittersweet, plenty of floral and fruit with some astringency present. Very smooth still, specially in the 13th steep, it has some faded rich notes.
14th 1min 30secs – Good bittersweet notes, floral, some fruit and again astringency.
Very infusable, I feel like it has a perfect balance between the wood/floral/fruit bitterness with sweetness ratio. It has plenty of aged notes together with ‘I can age more’ character. This is not a complex tea, I didn’t get changes along the steeps, maybe something being more up front at times than others. I liked it a lot but this is also the type of tea that takes me two days to get through, not only because of the how infusable it is, but because it can be a bit boring after the 6-8th steep of the same notes. I would still recommend it.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Raisins, Sweet
Dry – Old decayed wood house, musky tree, wood-bitterness, dried leafs.
Wet – Sweet, coffee like bitterness, musty decayed wet wood, molasses.
First few (1-3) steeps Have a sweet front but wear a very robust mustiness that can be either very pleasant if you like it or off putting if you don’t that develops pepper like woodiness and slight spicy astringency and woody bitterness. The final notes recover the sweetness with a refreshing camphor.
In the Middle (3-6) Here is where the real good stuff shows up with mostly the sweeter notes and maintaining most of its woody characteristics with out being unpleasantly musky or decayed wood-bitter. The sweetness has some thickness and the bitterness make it seem more like a molasses than sugary which is very nice and almost malty in some sense.
Final steeps The notes start getting weaker, but the sweetness shines more here; with most of the wood bitterness and musk notes gone the sweetness is more like a raw sugar than molasses like, it doesn’t hold much complexity but it is still satisfying.
I like this one as an every day drink, the mini bricks have an undeniable musky, sometimes almost fishy scent that at least to me require a few days out of the container and a good two rinses to get rid of and even then the first 2-3 steeps will have plenty of it.
With all of that said, it becomes more and more pleasant in the middle steeps and flat sweet in the last few ones. I would recommend using the container for other teas and moving this ripe to a box or open container to get the best out of it.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Molasses, Musty, Sweet
Thanks to Yang-Chu for this sample.
Dry – Vegetal bittersweetness that resembles still green wood adn some sweetness.
Wet – More intense vegetal- ‘green-wood’ bitterness, faint smoke and mellow tobacco appears with gentle sweet and refreshing notes.
The initial steep is very mellow/subtly sweet front that seamlessly turns into a good brothy middle with vegetal notes and a good mouth feel that hints of thickness. The huigan is mellow and pleasant.
Following steeps (2-4) are a bit more robust by comparison, but still mellow in the Sheng spectrum. There is still a subtle sweetness up front that transition into a more savory and broth like character with the middle being more decisively tobaccoey and green-wood bittersweet and a mouthfeel that transitions from thick into a more puckery astringency. The huigan still develops a mellow sweetness and a refreshing sensation.
Later steeps don’t offer much in the ways of taste though you still find some of the initial traits of tobacco, green-wood and faint smoke playing around in a ghostly way. The thickness in the middle followed by a slight astringent sensation is still enduring well. Mellow Huigan.
This one is good I liked it for a mellow session, It didn’t offer much in complexity or in presence, at least in the flavor. However, it has a very good body that even is there even after most of the notes have dissipated. If you like mellow/subtle traditional notes with focus in body this might be something to look at.
Flavors: Bitter, Green Wood, Sweet, Tobacco
Dry – Sweet, plummy, woody-vegetal(green), faint floral.
Wet – Sweet, plummy, Thick(in brothy way), savory-bitter, wood-raisins, honey, tart berries and stone fruits >> Later develops a bit of tobacco notes.
1st 4secs – Sweet, thick, vegetal with corn in butter notes, followed by melon/white peach sweetness and very mellow floral (with vegetal) with a tongue numbing thickness and mouth watering bitterness.
2nd 7secs – Sweet, thick(but meh), some vegetal notes but mostly sweet followed by a melon sweetness and a gentle bitterness that waters the mouth(very apparent, yet not aggressive, it lingers for a long time and lodges in the back of the tongue), some astringency. The aftertaste reminded me of the aftertaste of clementines.
3rd 7secs – Sweet, thick, vegetal, bitter floral followed by melon sweetness, stone fruits, the bitterness lingers and lodges, mouth watering, mineral and flroal notes and slowly becoming tobaccoey-herbal.
4th 9secs – Sweet, thick, bitter, astringency, vegetal… perhaps better balanced than previous steeps. All the notes are there but none over take the other.
5th 11secs – Mostly the same profile as before, not as balanced. The ‘brothy’ character was more up front in the beginning, but this tea is definitely in the fruity spectrum of Puerh bitterness with vegetal and floral notes (very faint tobacco).
6h 15secs – (The collapse steep) I’ve had three sessions with this tea and they agree this is the range when the tea collapses. The notes are there, but they all are weak, phantoms of what they were.
Did up to 10-11 steeps
The three sessions were experimenting with temp and time and the results where roughly the same, the 6th ended up being the subtle or not so subtle decline in notes. The mouth-feel was nice the whole time and the huigan was particular with an almost citrus note, but it lacks longevity, after the 6th it mostly delivers bitter notes and ghosts of everything else. I’ll come back to this one later.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Honey, Plums, Stonefruits
Dry – Woody bitterness with some decayed wood and hints of smoke, hidden sweetness in the back, raisins.
Wet – Woody tobacco bitterness with tart/unripe fruit bitter-sweetness, some smoke and some richer notes: raisins? and a fruity floral back.
Liquor – Amber with a good balance of sweet and bitter notes, in a very traditional way.
At first taste is straight forward Sweet up front and then immediately transitions to the bitter-decayed-wood(aged sheng) side of things. What I love about it is that withing its range of ‘harshness’ it becomes somewhat thick and smooth in a sort of oily way when it travels through your tongue and slowly develops astringency after it washes down.
In later steeps the liquor guests smoother and the thickness lingers a bit longer in the tongue and the astringency only appear a few seconds after the liquor has washed away with some herbaceous notes. The huigan continues to be sweet and obviously floral with some herbaceous/hay notes.
This is the type of tea that if you like strong traditional notes it will satisfy your craves of traditional taste, but end up in a pleasant lingering sweetness that lodges in the throat with hints of floral notes due to the very dry storage(not badly done).
This tea is very good, it has some age to it, but it also hold some edge due to the dry storage. The floral and honey notes linger in the mouth with vibrant energy even though the initial taste has some age. This is a great tea if you are looking for something that will age a lot more and retain some of the floral/honey traits and may easily become a favorite if you want those traits.
On the other hand, 1999 is an age where you expect a lot of richer and ‘darker’ notes in your tea. I was expecting to get the sweet woody-tart notes that remind me of raisins and dates and even some of those molasses/lightly-burnt sugar notes, but they are not here. So if you are looking for those traits you will most likely dislike this one. Recommend a try though.
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Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Hay, Honey, Wood