This 2012 Impression is a favorite in my household (well, by me, at least). What I like about it the most is that, although it is seven years old, this tea still knows how to bite.
Right off the bat, I gave it a 5 second rinse, and the flavor wasn’t strong, but it was there. Apricots with a hint of lilac. After the first initial rinse, the remainder of the time results in a mix of a lot of notes, which some are briefly marked in my notebook.
Second Steep, 30 seconds: I had noted that it was too long for the leaf. Bitter, astringent, and sour note at the back of the mouth/throat.
Third Steep, 15 seconds: Leather, still astringent, with a lingering apricot in the back of the mouth/throat.
Fourth steep, 20 seconds: Leathery, floral, and slightly astringent, with a lingering sweetness. Progressed while sipping. Initial intake of the liquid-leathery, with the following astringency. Mid-sip (passing the tongue) floral notes, still astringent. Lingering sweetness.
That’s all I got in before jumping into other things. The point of the notes above is to illustrate why I thoroughly enjoy this session. It is complex and develops in such a way that I’ve not had with many teas. As the session progresses onward, the tea did eventually soften up, all of those leathery/floral notes eventually going away; although, the sweetness doesn’t remain, exactly, it’s not bitter. I like that the leaf brews like a semi-young puerh, but there is definitely a note of some age happening in the leaf. This is one of those teas that get pulled out from time to time, just to check on the progress of the aging. I’ve only tried this Impression cake, but I’ve also heard good things about the 2018 blend, too. Perhaps I’ll snag one down the road. It’s hard to tell. ;)