Wet aroma opens with a toasted earthy sweetness and, because of the purely dry storage, is not at all musty. The aroma is not bright but subdued and cellared. There is an interesting dichotomy present throughout the cupping of this tea and that is the interplay between a cooling menthol/eucalyptus quality and a more wild and rugged tanned animal skin quality.
The liquor has a silky texture and the cooling aspect floats to the top of the palate as somewhat of a vapour. Anchoring the flavors is that subtle yet heavy primitive leather taste and a tree bark dryness left on the tongue. The hui gan is surprisingly profound and delicious reminiscent of a sweet and earthy Yunnan red.
Stiffer brews do nothing to ruin the profile of this tea and instead push each quality into greater pronunciation. It’s that versatility and durability that impress me most. Also the returning sweetness becomes fuller as one progresses through the cups.
So in the search for the best aged sheng on a budget I’m left with a couple of contenders, this being one. Actually, in all fairness, I’m left with 1a and 1b because the other one is a wet stored puer. The differences are not of quality but of characteristic.
And how cute is that butterfly :-)