This tea is certainly a yummy one, and one that I’ll be savoring for as long as I can. The quality is apparent right from the beginning in the dry leaves. They have this elegant appearance, with graceful twists and a variety of shapes. The dark brown-black color gives ode to some hidden power the tea possesses while the brittle nature of the texture play on it’s many subtle flavors. Smelling the leaves results in a heady, rich aroma of roasted hay and that characteristic Wuyi scent.
Add water and the leaves give off an incredibly intense aroma of pine sap, musty notes, and burnt oak logs. The resulting liquor smells of Da Hong Pao, is sweet and thickly floral, with undertones of sandalwood. A sip from the first steep explodes with flavor: ripe bananas, honey, malt, florals, and sometimes I can even detect a touch of cocoa. The mouthfeel is extra thick, leathery smooth, and so very juicy. Into the next couple of steeps, the fruity flavors from the first steep become more prominent and develop into tastes of dark berries and add tartness, complementing the sticky sweetness of the banana and honey flavors nicely. Sandalwood flavors also become apparent, and the liquor’s aroma expands into something that reminds me of a holiday candle. It’s nice, homey, and reminiscent of late autumn afternoons.
Into the fourth and fifth steeps, the banana flavors subside and a creamier mouthfeel develops as woodier flavors take control. Berries become less pronounced and a thick prune-like flavor rounds out the wood. In the next few steeps, the taste becomes spicier, musty, peaty, and earthy, transforming into more of a pu’er with a rounder, thicker body. At this point the aftertaste has become fruity and sticky with undertones of this weak black tea flavor. The steeps round out in the ’teens with sweet, licorice-like flavors and a subdued ripe fruit flavor.