It’s a pretty scrappy looking cake, but the soup it produces is great. The leaves are ridiculously long and many have difficulty fitting into my gaiwan. The compression is so loose that enough leaves for a session can be gathered from the cake just by lifting it and prodding the sides a bit, causing dried leaves to fall onto the wrapper like raindrops. And it’s aroma is extremely pungent. The time spent bent over the cake collecting leaves caused my face to become flushed and my eyes slightly irritated. It smells very smoky and aggressive.
The strength of the aroma carries over to the wet leaves and soup, although the profile changes somewhat. The tobacco smoke remains to some extent, but a certain caramelized fruitiness and faint ginger quality emerges. The mouthfeel is as burly as the scent.
The opening is quick and somewhat dull, with rough, dark sweetness. It rapidly develops into something stronger with average complexity and great depth of character. It lingers expectedly, gradually evolving into a spicy-cool finish in the throat. The coolness is intense and lasts quite some time. The aftertaste is cool and moist, with a kind of sticky sweetness, but my body is warm. The tea is stimulating, but only slightly so. Further steeps add a nice throaty bitterness and more fruity flavors, treading farther from the initial smokiness found in the aroma.
The second time I tasted this I actually measured the amount of leaves I used (6 g/100 mL), but my results were less intense and lighter in depth than the first time. I had used more leaves from the edge of the cake, which are much longer than those closer to the center and those within the body of the cake, and are attached to even longer stems. I guess I’ll have to pay more attention to what parts of this eclectic blend I’m using for each session in the future.