Dry – Woody bitterness with some decayed wood and hints of smoke, hidden sweetness in the back, raisins.
Wet – Woody tobacco bitterness with tart/unripe fruit bitter-sweetness, some smoke and some richer notes: raisins? and a fruity floral back.
Liquor – Amber with a good balance of sweet and bitter notes, in a very traditional way.
At first taste is straight forward Sweet up front and then immediately transitions to the bitter-decayed-wood(aged sheng) side of things. What I love about it is that withing its range of ‘harshness’ it becomes somewhat thick and smooth in a sort of oily way when it travels through your tongue and slowly develops astringency after it washes down.
In later steeps the liquor guests smoother and the thickness lingers a bit longer in the tongue and the astringency only appear a few seconds after the liquor has washed away with some herbaceous notes. The huigan continues to be sweet and obviously floral with some herbaceous/hay notes.
This is the type of tea that if you like strong traditional notes it will satisfy your craves of traditional taste, but end up in a pleasant lingering sweetness that lodges in the throat with hints of floral notes due to the very dry storage(not badly done).
This tea is very good, it has some age to it, but it also hold some edge due to the dry storage. The floral and honey notes linger in the mouth with vibrant energy even though the initial taste has some age. This is a great tea if you are looking for something that will age a lot more and retain some of the floral/honey traits and may easily become a favorite if you want those traits.
On the other hand, 1999 is an age where you expect a lot of richer and ‘darker’ notes in your tea. I was expecting to get the sweet woody-tart notes that remind me of raisins and dates and even some of those molasses/lightly-burnt sugar notes, but they are not here. So if you are looking for those traits you will most likely dislike this one. Recommend a try though.
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Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Hay, Honey, Wood