41 Tasting Notes
Got a sample of this in the fall and was like meh…and let the rest sit in a closet til yesterday. Brewed a pot and was pleasantly surprised at how good it became…especially for a tea this cheap. Nice floral and honey notes. Nothing mind blowing but very pleasant flavors and mellow qi. It’s not a brain zap, exploding flavor gushu but at 5% of the cost, who’s complaining?
I bought a sample when it was released, embarrassingly because of the hyperbole with which it was described…something about punishing bitterness and body feels that continue to intensify with each steep. When I first sampled it I was like ok it’s bitter but that’s about it…not even as bitter as a purple tea…I let it sit a few months and drank the last 12g the other day before work. The tea was still bitter but had a nice herbal background and a bit of a mineral profile with perhaps a touch of aniseed. I’m reminded of an old school New England ipa minus the malt. The strong point of this tea however was the qi. I had what would have normally been an exasperating day at work and this tea gave me a calm energy that allowed me navigate the BS with a grin. I prefer a tea with more floral fruity tobacco notes but if if you are a fan of Lao Man E and the like, this is a solid tea at a reasonable price.
I seriously hope Paul releases this blend again in 2018. I’ve had more expensive W2T blends and must say after spending a year and a half with a cake it’s probably my favorite W2T offering. Of course I haven’t tried any of the Treachery cakes as I won’t blind buy a cake of this price without first being able to try a sample…So I’ve lived with this cake a year and a half and have enjoyed its evolution. I drink it once or twice a month and it tastes a little different every time but always smooth, oily and well balanced. Today I’m getting aniseed flavors throughout the session. The qi is always intense and lingering. I was sad that there was no Bosch in 17 and hope there is in 18.
My first aged white and surely not my last. I now see why the Chinese shudder when they hear of westerners tossing white tea after a year and why they say 1 year tea, 3 years medicine and 7 years treasure. 8g gong fu starting 85 then ramping to 95. The flavor of this stuff reminds me of a combination of Red Man chewing tobacco and the date and nut cake my great aunt used to make at holidays. This is actually a good thing. This stuff refuses to stop steeping and keeps giving. The qi is unique. It’s not relaxing like an aged sheng but both speedy and spacy. Perhaps this should be reserved for a weekend party tea…
I bought a cake of this primarily for aging as younger versions of this tea are among my very favorite in the under $.50 a gram category and at 7 years old is rapidly approaching adolescence. As expected, the fruity, spicy notes of youth have faded and the woody, mushroomy decaying foliage flavors are just beginning to emerge, primarily in later steeps. The body is super oily and there is big time cooling effect typical of old arbor teas of this area. The qi is pretty intense but not as aggressively stimulating as younger pressings. This tea is on its way to greatness and I bought a cake to age a few years. I would recommend doing the same.
Forgot I had this sample sitting around. Bought a bunch of Liu Bao samples a while back and got to figuring that they all tasted like someone boiled some rotten twigs and leaves and made you lick it off a moldy basement floor…not my bag. So when I found this unopened sample I was curious I was intrigued but leery…Turns out that this tea actually reminds me of a good shou. It does have the decayed wood taste but also notes of marzipan and strangely Dr Pepper. Not sure I’d drink this daily but it is nice.
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There used to be a Fujian black tea called Emperors Red that I used to get from a company called Special Teas that was tragically the victim of a hostile takeover by Teavana several years ago. This tea had a lovely Benzdorp cocoa and biscuit malt note. When Special Teas was cannibalized I could not find another to compare. I’ve had multiple golden, black and red monkeys as well as Keemun teas. A few had some similar notes but none came close to the elusive Emperors Red. Then I found this tea. It not only has everything I loved about the Emperors Red. It one ups it with floral notes that resemble the smell of the wild, invasive multiflora roses that grow in Pennsylvania and bloom in a June. This tea is not highly complex. It is cocoa, biscuit malt and a hint of multiflora rose. Special Teas Emperors Red had quite the following so if you are reading this and missed this tea . Try this stuff.
The most expensive shou I’ve tasted but is it the best? Did Hai Lang make it? Did he make it with gushu LBZ material? Did it remind me of Westvleteren 12, the elusive spicy, earthy chocolate Belgian Trappist ale that many critics call the best beer in the world? Did it steep over 20 times evolving each steep and leave me feeling as though I’d consumed something illegal? Did I answer my first question with a series of other questions?