This was one of two sample pouch sipdowns from earlier in the week. Even though Ya Shi Xiang can often be incredibly hit or miss for me, I have a huge soft spot for the “King of Duck Shit” offerings Yunnan Sourcing seems to offer year after year. This one was yet another big winner for me. I found it to be an excellent offering overall.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, vanilla, honey, and orange blossom that were accompanied by vague fruity and nutty scents. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, butter, and grass. The first infusion brought out aromas of rose, apple, tangerine, violet, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of cream, butter, baked bread, roasted almond, grass, and orange blossom that were chased by apple, longan, cherry, and coriander hints. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of marshmallow, steamed milk, rye, caraway, coconut, green bell pepper, coriander, banana leaf, strawberry, candied orange, and cherry. Tangerine, honey, and violet notes came out in the mouth as did fleeting hints of rose. I also picked up some stronger and more immediate notes of coriander, apple, and cherry. Impressions of cattail shoots, minerals, earth, coconut, banana leaf, candied orange, steamed milk, strawberry, green bell pepper, marshmallow, caraway, and rye also appeared. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering impressions of minerals, grass, earth, cattail shoots, green bell pepper, cream, candied orange, roasted almond, and vanilla that were chased by hints of apple, coconut, cherry, rye, and caraway.
Honestly, this tea was just so impressive. Yunnan Sourcing rarely if ever misses on these “King of Duck Shit” offerings, but this one really hit me hard. I loved the spring 2016 version of this tea, but this one was slightly better. I was left in awe of how well its eclectic aroma and flavor components worked together. I should also note that in terms of body and texture, there was absolutely nothing to complain about with this tea. The tea liquor had just enough heft and firmness to it, and its texture was crisp and never slick or soapy. Had the tea liquor displayed just a tad more longevity, this tea’s score would be much closer to 100. All nitpicking aside, this tea was a standout. Definitely consider trying it if you have yet to do so.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Marshmallow, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Rose, Rye, Strawberry, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet