A sample of this was sent to me and I was curious about it… wasn’t sure if it was a raw or ripe from the package or the smell of the dry leaf. When I brewed it up it let me know it was a ripe though.
From the first steep I knew this was old tea; thankfully I have had multiple experiences with shou that’s 10-15, 15-20, and 20+ years old. This falls in that range of being in the early 2000s, but if it was wrapped in bamboo than it would probably have a more dry’ish aspect to it. It has a dry wood taste to it with a very surprising kick of fermentation. I haven’t come across an older ripe with this kick in the mouth so that surprises me. The undertones and high notes of bark(old sun beat layer) let me know that it’s older… but I think for most people this isn’t something they want because it was 100% dry stored and by that I mean 30% humidity or something like that.
This is something I may consider buying, breaking up, and storing in a crock for later. The complex taste that comes through the viscosity with sticky stem mixed in with old bark makes this unique while not being too harsh or too weak. With some humidity and bringing to life this could be a gem. Dead serious