This tea smells immediately different from what I’ve had recently (which are savory Yunnan’s and dark malty black teas). The leaves are beautiful twisted loose curls, not golden nor black but silvered brown. The scent of the dry leaves are very hard to describe but the wet leaves smell floral and “dry”. The first sip is light and bright with a brief hint of cocoa and then sparkle, sparkle, sparkle, that fine mineral sparkle so lovely and cooling.
The second infusion is indeed dry but in a wonderful way like scotch. There are woodsy notes as well as the floral and bit of smoke. My thought is that this tea must indeed be made by a master. It reminds me more of Oriental Beauty and sheng than any Chinese black teas I’ve had experience with. Herbaceous notes and camphor pop up every now and then, with whispers of that first cocoa and prickles of pepper on the sides of the tongue.
Third infusion is herbaceous and peppery. Cooling and warming at the same time. Turns a bit savory and salty in the middle of the sip but not as much as the Jin Jun Mei I had yesterday and this morning, it is still floral in the beginning and in the finish and aftertaste. Now there is a battle on my tongue competing notes of sweet and salty, floral and peppery, cool and dry causing it to tingle and pulse.
In the first few sips of the fourth infusion, all the tastes of the third infusion are present only stonger and more solid. The tea is developing more body and less effervescence. And as the body develops, a slight butteriness is born and yet the tongue buzzes and the sensation from the tea is so thick and heavy you could bite into it. There is a hint of fruit here at the end of cup, that reminds me of gum and kiwi? And the buzzing of my tongue is spreading to the base of my neck and down my spine and arms and I am reminded that I must eat. Break.
Note that I wrote this note without looking at the tea’s description or other tasting notes (besides reading them a month ago) but now after reading, I realize now that the butteriness is more like olive oil and the notes I was finding similar to Oriental Beauty were muscatel and the fruit notes did have a grape and apple (gum) I got the sheng on my own though. Yay for sitting and listening to tea, it’s been awhile and this was certainly an intense experience that I hope to resume after food.