I received a sample of this tea with my order for the early release Zealong Black. So thank you to Jo for sending it along!
The dry leaf is large and full. It has a sweet malty flavor that I find very pleasant. The wet leaf is smoky and reminds me slightly of a Lapsang Souchong. So at this point, I’m perhaps a bit concerned. I detect a semblance of the same aroma with the liquor.
The liquor is a very light amber. It is much lighter than likely any other pu-erh I’ve indulged in. The first infusion definitely carries the smoky flavor I was smelling earlier. It is woody and reminds me most of a hardwood, I would say.
I can’t say I’m overfond of this first infusion. It leaves too much of a malty, smoky aftertaste for me. With more than a moment, there is something mellower that comes out, but I can’t quite identify it.
The second infusion smells more strongly of smoke, but the flavor in the tea is certainly more mild. The maltiness comes to the forefront and this has become a much smoother tea already. I would almost say mildly chocolatey undertones are present as well.
The third infusion has lost the maltiness, but not the smoke. It is sweeter and of a more crisp flavor now.
Overall, I suppose this isn’t my favorite tea with too persistent a smoky flavor. Yet I did enjoy trying it out and can think of a few friends who will enjoy trying this with me sometime as well.