After having several sessions with this, I feel more confident about my impressions of this tea. It’s one of the most complex teas I’ve tried (just barely a notch below the Colbert Holland – my favorite W2T pressing). Certainly something to savor slowly and quietly. These brewed leaves are gorgeous. I must thank Paul or who ever thoughtfully took apart this cake so that the leaves in my sample could remain intact. They exude a green-ish floral and dried fruit fragrance after rinsed.
Very powerful, rich, deeply penetrating, soothing, calming, and highly energizing. I drank the rinse on this one. Good clarity here. Nice density combined with a penetrating and lasting mouthfeel and huigan from the rinse onwards. This tea quickly fills the mouth moving throughout and down into the throat. It then lingers in the cheeks for a long time.
I’m actually not a fan of the flavor in its early steeps. Too much sugary dried fruit and clove – reminding me of a Christmas fruitcake which I just love to hate. Fortunately, by steep 4, my tolerance is rewarded with more intense mouthfeel and enveloping qi that is felt in at first cerebral and then moves to the chest and spine. My eyes are wide open; posture corrected. I am all Here.
Early sweet medicinal flavors are replaced with the notes of honeysuckle, tamarind, cherries, peaches (farmers market-fresh), and aged rum. I get an interesting mingling of bitterness/tartness (green apple), spiciness (juniper berries), and hardwood/mineral base that reminds me of cherrywood.
Later steeps much fruitier, especially in the prolonged aftertaste – honeycrisp apples, red plums, and yellow peaches, to be exact. It’s less thick and dense, yet still strong in terms of mouthfeel and body-feel.
Afterthoughts: This be the good stuff, and I know it is because I questioned it for some time. I thought my first 3 sessions were only somewhat memorable, but not enough to demand >$100 for a 200g xiao bing. I’m now reconsidering that value per gram assessment.