This is the oldest sheng I have ever tasted. It held many surprises. The leaf is loose and looks like crumbled autumn leaves. It is mostly dark brown with some green and even fewer gold streaks. The dry leaf has traces of light smoke. I have read this in reviews before but it is the first time I have been able to detect it in a sheng.
My first steep was 30s with boiling water. It produced a golden amber liquor. I had imagined given its age it would be darker. The wet leaf has an aroma of smoky moss.
The taste has only hints of smoke and is probably more smell than taste. This is brighter than I expected. It is not metallic over bright like a young raw puerh. It is a mellow brightness if that makes sense. There is no bitterness. It is slightly drying. I have trouble coming up with descriptors for sheng. I can better tell you what it is not. It is not harsh, brassy, coppery, fishy, pond, barnyard, or any of the nasties. I guess woodsy best describes it. Later cups develop a sticky lip feel as it becomes more creamy and slightly mushroom. It holds on to the hints of smoke.
This was definitely my best sheng experience to date.