I get much better results on this tea using much higher concentration than recommended by Red Blossom. Using the suggested 2g/100mL and slightly cooler water makes this taste essentially like a typical (albeit very tasty) Yin Zhen white tea with a tad more heft. Using 5g/100mL and near-boiling water puts this much more in the realm of special-prep Jin Jun Mei, adding a whole host of aromas and flavors while still retaining the characteristics of a lighter infusion.
For the purposes of this review I used 5g in 100-125mL near-boiling water ranging from 93-98C, though the high end was used when the gaiwan had cooled a bit and the low end was used when it was nice and preheated so it kinda evens out. Each infusion progressed by one minute, so first infusion was one minute, sixth infusion was six minutes.
This is a mild tea. Fragrance, aroma, taste, and even color are pretty light… but gooood.
I keep wanting to say cocoa when relating to this tea in most all aspects, but really the characteristics are those I associate with the accents atop a dark chocolate bar rather than the actual chocolate base character. Really, the biggest similarity in dry fragrance and flavor is stone fruit. Peach/nectarine skin is prevalent in the dry fragrance while the wet leaf has more black plum aroma alongside the typical bran or toasted wheat aromas most bud-heavy Fujian red teas possess. Liquor aroma is very comforting and similar to honey on toasted wheat bread and a bit of nectarine preserves (here I will admit to a touch of cocoa powder in the aroma).
Flavor is resoundingly similar to a white peach with all kinds of light toasty goodness. Warm wheat rolls not long out of the oven (again, with a bit of honey). Second infusion wraps in an odd but pleasant note of caramelized onions and body is actually right up there with a lighter-bodied puerh. Third brings out a mixed spiciness of clove and cassia and the bran flavor has swung toward the taste of Grapenuts cereal and the taste of honeysuckle has come to play. Fourth was spicier, bringing in a California Bay edginess that comes off as slightly (but pleasantly) metallic while balancing against a slightly raised aspect of honeysuckle. By the fifth infusion the body and flavor have started to seriously wane and the predominant flavor is woody with a slight astringency making for a juniper character overall. Sixth tastes like an overbrewed Yin Zhen white tea… Not much more than a cottony flavor up front with lingering light astringency but a light sweetness pops up a couple seconds after each sip, making it taste a bit like water with a touch of honey in it, though there is still a faint wheat toast base flavor. When gulped, the honey expression is a lot more obvious in these brews, bumping this from a light sweet expression in aftertaste when sipping to a nectar-like tea when glugged. The first three brews is incredibly reminiscent of white peach, particularly when larger mouthfuls are taken.
Yummy toasty goodness. Basically a beefed-up Yin Zhen that is a bit nicer in cool weather. Pricey and you need to use quite a bit to justify the cost flavor-wise in my opinion, but I think the cost to flavor ratio is justifiable (though if using the recommended parameters I wouldn’t think so).