Having been enamored by Hai Lang Hao’s Lao Man E shou, I was quick to grab a cake of a YS ripe production from this village. Today, I tried it for the first time and here’s my thoughts.
I think this tea is quite distinctive, but at the moment isn’t as enjoyable overall as I was hoping for. It has the lasting quinine bitterness I learned to expect from Lao Man E, but the main problem I have with it is that it doesn’t have that much going on beyond that nice bitterness in the taste department. Other than that, it still has quite a lot of fermentation/fishy taste, which is nevertheless expected to disappear in the coming years. It is also perfectly possible that with some aging, the tea will mature into a much more interesting taste profile, that much I find hard to predict now though.
Besides the taste, both the fragrance and texture of the tea are fairly interesting, but not mind-blowing. However, the aspect that really stood out to me is the cha qi. I found it to be extremely strong for a plantation tea. First of all, a throat-warming appears, but quickly I got an elevating sensation that’s more of a heady energy than body focused. After about three infusions, I got totally enveloped by the session and lost touch with reality, floating in Xandra Metcalfe’s sonic rendering of depression (see song pairing below). The qi that the tea showed in this session is unmatched even by most of raw pu-erh I have tried.
After describing my general impression, here’s a few particular notes. The dry leaf smell is mostly spicy, earthy, and sweet. After the rinse, I noticed noted of incense, wood, candle early on, followed by aromas of light compost, ash, trout, plum, and animal fur throughout the session.
The taste is bitter with flavours such as wood, charcoal, dark chocolate/cocoa beans, brazil nuts, and parsnip. Aftertaste is spicy and very long-lasting with a persistent bitterness. There is also a noticeable caramel note to it. As for the mouthfeel, I found the tea to be creamy and mouth-watering with a medium to full body.
All in all, I find it hard to rate the tea at the moment. I am not going to be rushing to drink it anytime soon, but I am very interested in its future progression, the tea definitely has potential.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4WOexcmtvE
Flavors: Ash, Bitter, Caramel, Char, Cocoa, Compost, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fishy, Fur, Nuts, Parsley, Plums, Spicy, Thick, Wood