I had my first session with this tea after I picked up a cake in one of my recent orders. It turned out to be more complex and subtle than I expected. On the other hand, it really is very thick and has a strong warming cha qi, as mentioned in the description. I definitely do not regret getting a whole cake blind.
Already the dry leaf smell is quite interesting and unique with notes such as sawdust, paper, meat, mint, juniper berries, and brown sugar. Strangely enough, wet leaves aroma reminds me of nuo mi xiang – the sticky rice fragrance herb sometimes added to shou – even though there is none here. On top of that I get scents of black currant, chicha morada, bamboo, and a light yeasty aroma.
The taste starts off woody and sweet with flavours of bread, nettle and plant stems. There is also a purple corn flavour which I noticed in the aroma already and which persists throughout the whole session. Soon enough, light bitterness appears, but I wouldn’t call this a bitter shou at all. Around steep 4, I also get a light chocolate note, but again, it is not as distinctive as you can find in other ripe pu’er teas. Rather, there is a very nice sour note developing towards the end of the session, which is quite unique. It is complemented by a medicinal character of the late steeps, which together make the session interesting all the way till the end.
In the aftertaste, some new flavours like honey, cranberry, cocoa, butter, and marjoram emerge. It gets slightly acidic late on as well. The texture is very thick, oily, and smooth from start to finish. It is very easy to drink despite being full bodied! At times, there is some interesting numbing mouthfeel, which makes the liquor seem to “disappear” in my mouth. The cha qi is mostly warming at first but slowly becomes very heady and stronger than you can find in most shou. I would describe the tea’s energy as of the creeping kind.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bamboo, Berries, Black Currant, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cocoa, Cranberry, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Herbs, Honey, Meat, Medicinal, Mint, Paper, Plant Stems, Plants, Rice, Sawdust, Sour, Sweet, Thick, Wood, Yeast