Another sample Brenden gifted to me during our tea session. I put 8g of this into my 100ml gaiwan.
I didn’t get much scent from the dry leaf. I rinsed the dry leaf chunks for about 5 seconds. I first detected a camphor type of scent. As I was sniffing that and trying to really make sure that is what it was, a brown sugar note hit my nose. Whoa. That was not what I expected based on the original scent I was getting. Very interesting.
1st steep, 10 seconds. The leaf scent went to the fermentation side after this steep. But the liquid has a sweet mineral mushroom scent. The first sip or two left me with the impression of smooth, slightly sweet, slightly creamy, and a mineral-like note. Just a hint, though. The color of this infusion is like a bronzed orange. Wow, yeah, as I drink it there is this caramelized brown sugar scent that wafts up. It isn’t exactly in the flavor but the scent is there.
2nd steep, 10 seconds. The scent of the leaf here is more brown sugar sweet. The shou chunks broke up and turned this steep liquor into a much darker color. Cola-like. The scent of the liquid has more of a typical shou character. Earthy. And the flavor gives off a bitterness on the back of the tongue. Maybe I steeped it too long for the leaves breaking up but wow this stuff is all over the place. Perhaps one of the more complex shou’s I’ve had in those terms. I do hope the bitterness goes away in further steeps as it is not an aspect I enjoy. It is not completely overwhelming but certainly makes itself known on the back end.
3rd steep, 10 seconds. I had to take about an hour break here but I’m holding at ten seconds in order to take care of the bitterness. While it is still there it is less pronounced. A bit smoother.
4th steep, 15 seconds. Ok, I feel better about this steep. We are back to a smooth creamy shou flavor. Very drinkable again. Also, excuse the fall off in detail of reviews. It has been a total of 3 hours since I’ve began drinking this. Life happened. Electrician stopped by and did some work. Kids wanted me to push them on the swing set. Dinner needed to be started. So, forgive the lack of detail. It started out so strong, too!
5th steep, 20 seconds. This is settling in to a nice session. I have to end the review here though.
Overall this comes in as a nice shou. The bitterness throws one off a bit in the first few steeps but after that it settles down and becomes fairly dependable.
Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Camphor, Creamy, Mineral, Mushrooms, Sweet, Wet Earth