The leaves of this tea are quite dark for a white tea (it is supposed to be 10+ years old after all) and don’t smell very strong when dry. After the rinse, I get mostly fruity and medicinal aromas, with a strong blackberry and black currant quality. Despite the fact that I store it with sheng, the bouquet acually reminds me more of shou.
The taste has similar qualities, it is strong and well-rounded. I like the interplay of sweet & savoury, fruity & earthy flavours. I would characterize it as both robust and refreshing, which is a little unusual and very welcome. The aftertaste also displays some nutty notes, which, together with the sweetness and earthiness, remind me of ripe pu-erh again.
Mouthfeel also plays an important part in making the tea quite refreshing. It is crisp, cooling, numbing and slightly buttery.
Surprisingly, I didn’t find this Shou Mei to perform too well by simmering. Standard infusions (with near boiling water) seemed more balanced to me.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Currant, Blackberry, Compost, Earth, Fruity, Medicinal, Tangy