I tried this one a while back, but haven’t had any time to log anything recently. As I think back on the time I drank this, I remember being much happier with it than my notes seem to show. But I was listening to Queen songs on repeat while I drank, so I’m sure that had something to do with the discrepancy. :D
Overall this one was pleasant enough, but not incredibly exciting. I used the whole sample in a 100 mL gaiwan, which came out to be about a third of the way full. The dry leaves had a very sweet aroma, with that characteristic “old” smell very prominent. It also had this “seltzer-y” characteristic, like that smell of club soda. The aroma rounded off with undertones of avocado, old books, and this light sour smell. The leaves were very tightly compacted, appearing almost fused.
The wet leaves were powerfully earthy, very musty, with aromas of peat and dusty old books. After steeping, the leaves pretty much looked like mulch. And there were tons of empty stems. And I mean tons.
Transferring over to the liquor, that sour smell from the dry leaves became very powerful after the liquor was drained from the empty cup. Otherwise, the liquor itself smelled very similar to the wet leaves. The liquor appeared as this extremely red-tinged burgundy color that became nearly black during the middle steeps. It made this beautiful red ring of liquor around the lid of the gaiwan while it was steeping.
As for flavor, the first and second steep were probably the most interesting, at five and twenty seconds respectively. The taste was most predominately earthy. It really packed a punch. However, there were delicate traces of avocado and smoky notes, with a nice sweetness that rounded things out. The second steep was more or less the same, but with additions of peat, salt, and must. The mouthfeel was very smooth and mellow, and it left a spicy aftertaste that could be felt in the back of the throat. However, the body was quite flat for both steeps.
The third steep was the same as the second flavor-wise, but the avocado tones disappeared. The texture became a bit unpleasant—oily and slippery. This was probably the last interesting steep. I went for seven steeps, but I was reallyyy dragging it out (the seventh steep lasted 10 minutes) just to see if I could pull anything interesting out in the end. Instead, I received a taste that was like wet cardboard. Bleh. The mouthfeel became a bit intriguing. Tingling sensations grew in strength into the sixth steep, with a cooling sensation in the fourth. Other than that, however, I didn’t get much from this tea, leaving me a bit disappointed.