Here’s a tea that everyone into ripe pu’er should try imo. It is unlike any other one I’ve had. But it’s not just unique, it has a lot of qualities I look for in tea, which make it one of the best shou I’ve encountered. For starters, the complexity is almost unparalleled, even if we include other types of tea in the comparison. The full-bodied, voluminous, and coating liquor is very pleasing to drink. Also, it is a perfect tea for relaxed sessions with its strong cha qi that is mind clearing without inducing drowsiness.
And if that wasn’t enough, it has a beautiful colour too, something I don’t often pay that much attention to. The rinse has a bright orange colour that’s a bit more like an aged sheng than shou. Later on in the session, the liquor takes on an elegant crimson red, which coupled with extreme clarity, make this a visually very appealing tea.
Dry leaves smell quite unusual – main notes resemble candle wax, currants, and sawdust – indeed a weird sounding combination. The aroma gets more complex after the rinse, but it’s ever more strange. There are hints of yeast, vinyl, juniper, window cleaning liquid, nutmeg, coffee, milk. In spite of all of those associations, however, it is a kind of “sweet” scent.
There is considerable complexity in the taste from the get go as well. First infusion is nutty, sweet, mineral and mildly sour with a savoury finish as well as light woody bitterness. Flavours of walnut, gin and dry wood are among the most prominent ones here. Second steep brings new notes of fish meat, cocoa, cumin seed, brown sugar, and truffles. I lost track of all the associations, but it is quite a mineral and smooth affair throughout, with a noticeable red wine flavour in the middle of the session.
The aftertaste is a little astringent and acidic. There is a persistent woody bitterness which is very nice, as well as some floral notes. As for novel flavours, I noticed raisins, cinnamon, honeycu and blackberry leaves. Mouthfeel is among the highlights too, it is smooth, oily and quite mouth-watering.
All things considered, I greatly enjoyed every session I’ve had with this tea and will be saving it for special occasions. It’s a shame it is not pressed into cakes, because I don’t have the capacity to buy loose tea in bulk at present.
Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Berries, Bitter, Black Currant, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Coffee, Floral, Honey, Marine, Meat, Milk, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nuts, Nutty, Plants, Raisins, Red Wine, Sawdust, Smooth, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Walnut, Wood, Yeast