Thanks mtchyg for the sample! I have done no reading on this tea, but was intrigued that it is made from golden needles apparently. Surprisingly, after a rinse in my small gongfu tea pot, I am surprised it smells quite like most other shou puerh teas I’ve had, a bit musty with quiet notes of petrichor. Maybe I expected a lighter or sweeter smell from the golden needles. I will say the color of the liquor is really lovely, a deep garnet red-brown.
Maybe I was expecting something sweeter from the golden needles, I’m not sure, but I was definitely expecting smooth, and in that regard this tea does not disappoint. It definitely has a smooth texture and flavor. The flavor is hard to pin down. Cacao, mineral, and wood are noticeable, with a bit of bitterness. The aftertaste really lingers and is mostly woody.
The liquor of the second infusion gives off a common scent for me in shou that I really enjoy, which smells like pastry dough. Again, the flavor is quite smooth, and it rolls off nicely into a subtle bitterness similar to that of dark chocolate. The flavor of this tea is really dark. I think there is a subtle hint of prune as well. In some ways, I’m reminded of coffee.
The third infusion is really mineral and reminds me of petrichor scent when the rain starts. The tea is rather cooling on the mouth and throat, though this is after I have let some cool down nearly to just a bit above room temperature. I find it really enjoyable this way though. The cooling sensation is very quenching and the flavor is smooth.
The fourth infusion is more mellow and sweet, with similar flavors, maybe a touch of tobacco.
Overall a good shou, though not as peculiar as I had hoped for the fact it is made of golden needles.
Flavors: Bitter, Cacao, Coffee, Mineral, petrichor, Wood