The following are my tasting notes. They cover my first two sessions with this tea. I present them here, with minimal editing.
Leaves are lightly compressed. They look a bit smaller than the White Wrapper version. Smell of dry leaf is a cool earthiness. Definitely more broken leaf in this sample. Steamed aroma is almost nonexistent. Brewed aroma is a strong petrol. Beneath that, is some honey sweetness. That sweetness really sticks to your senses. Tea soup seems to be slightly more golden in color than the White Wrapper.
First sip is oily. Both in texture, and in flavor. Sunflower oil, to be exact. There’s also a lot of that honey sweetness. Not much else jumps out so far. The finish is long. Amazingly, the sweetness seems to get stronger as the finish progresses. Already, I feel a bit of a buzz.
Second steeping is a lot stronger. There’s a bit of that petrol taste right off the bat. That goes into intense honey sweetness. Finish doesn’t evolve too much. A vegetal note enters in, but it’s second fiddle to the honey sweetness. Texture is still oily. Throat feeling is a bit harsh. The kind of harsh you get right after you’ve recovered from a head cold. Like swallowing is a bit painful, and lumpy. The back of the mouth/top of the throat areas is cool.
Third steeping is stronger on the vegetal tones. The petrol is mostly gone. So is the sunflower oil note. Though, the texture is still oily. All that remains is the honey sweetness. On the finish, the sunflower oil note comes back. Throat feeling is still harsh.
Four steepings in. Surprisingly, the cha qi isn’t overwhelming me like it did with the White Wrapper. In fact, I barely notice it. There’s some minor heaviness in the fingers, and some even more minor mellowing of the mind. Flavor hasn’t changed. Finish hasn’t changed. Throat feeling hasn’t changed.
I think the White Wrapper is better.
Using my jianshui pot this time. Very little aroma in the steamed leaf. Ditto for first brewed leaf. Taste is very different than the previous session. Flavor is very weak. What little I can detect is a hint of pu’er dirt, and a bit of corn sweetness. Viscosity is fairly thin, and watery. Already, the throaty aspect of this tea is coming into play. I feel the need to clear my throat.
Second brew is very similar. There’s now a bit of pleasant bitterness in the mix. Finish quickly moves into the sweet corn. Still very watery. I used 6.5g for a 100ml pot, so I’m not sure why that’d be the case. Throat feeling isn’t growing in intensity…yet.
After I finish the third steeping, cha qi starts to hit me. It’s still mellow, but I can tell that it’ll grow rapidly. It’s centered in around the forehead – right between the eyes.
Third brew is aromaless, at least the texture is starting to thicken up. Flavor is a very forward hit of acidic dirt. The acidic dirt note is carried through on the finish. It’s joined by pleasant bitterness. Throat feeling is staying pretty stable. Definitely noticeable, but not irritating like it was in my previous session. Cha qi is also acting differently. It’s sort of lazily ebb-flowing around. One minute I feel fairly stoned, the next I barely feel it.
Fourth brew is showing a bit more flavour. Acidic dirt is still at the forefront, but it’s gotten a bit more complex. It’s got a bitter edge, with just a hint of minerality and sweetness. Finish is sort of a drying sensation in the mouth. Throat is feeling okay. Cha qi is hitting harder.
The tea gets stronger with every brew. Which, considering where it started, isn’t saying all that much. I think the Black Wrapper is a disappointment. What it does get right, read cha qi, is still not enough to make it worth the price of admission. Especially when compared to other teas in its price range.