It was interesting comparing this impression with the two reviews here from 3 years ago, since this tea is 13 years old now. It’s still not really completely fermented. As for aspects it tastes a lot like cigar tobacco, including smoke, with decent sweetness and flavor complexity and really good intensity. Bitterness is still pronounced, although astringency is moderate. Mineral taste is notable too, along with floral range or maybe dried fruit; that part is harder to tease out for bitterness, smoke, tobacco, and mineral standing out as much as they do. I think it just needs another 3 years or so in a humid environment to really push over into being a very good tea, and in 5 or 6 might be exceptional, but it’s pleasant as it is now. It’s definitely not in some subtle, quiet “teen years” phase; this tea is intense.
I forgot to mention compression; that’s the part of this tea’s story that account for why a 13 year old tea isn’t aging normally. Of course that makes it harder to split off parts to brew as well. It’s still worth the trouble, and will be even more so later on.