Dry leaf – FUSTY, HAY, FRUIT: tobacco, old book, leather, some fruit and spice notes. In preheated vessel: soaked prune and date, raisin, wet hay
Smell – FRUIT, HAY, SWEET: light prune and date, stable, tobacco, hay and straw, noticeable caramel sweetness
Taste – FUSTY, HAY, FRUIT, SWEET: autumn leaves, stable, light tobacco, old book, dill. Finish and aftertaste develops fruit and sweet notes: caramel, turbinado sugar, dark dried fruit, lemongrass, hints of berries.
This is a good young, affordable raw that has some aged flavors going on. The old book, stable, “fusty” flavors are definitely there, but there is also a good deal of prune/raisin sweetness. Most surprising is a caramel note that just kept popping up. In addition, there were a few fresh notes that popped up as well – berry, lemongrass, and dill.
I have been brewing this in a young yixing pot and just dumping the contents into a thermos so I could drink it at work. I have to say that either the pot or the thermos method really limited the scope of the tea to the fusty flavors. I think my young pot still likes to steal some of the fruity and sweet flavors. I was surprised at the complexity when I brewed it in a gaiwan on the weekend.
Once again, an inexpensive daily drinker that just gets better the more time, and attention, you give it.
EDIT: Had another session with this one, and dug more into the interior of the mushroom and got more base material. Had forgotten that this has some smokiness to it until it airs out a little. Smokiness is combination of campfire and bbq/mesquite smoke, not overwhelming. Transforms in the mouth to dark/burnt caramel and toffee, with herbal (dill) and fragrant (incense). Finish and aftertaste lighten to green leaf/herbal and hints of red apple.