Dry leaf – SWEET, FRUIT, GRASS: natural honey, fragrant wood, bittersweet green, fresh grass, slight notes of apple pie spice, notes of dried fig. In pre-heated vessel – raisin, prune, cacao, slight herbal/dill note
Smell – EARTH, GRASS: hay, damp earth, stable, bittersweet green
Taste – GRASS, WOOD, EARTH, FRUIT: Arrival – musty hay and grass flavors, some pine notes, musty raisin. Development – bittersweet green, wood, lemongrass, savory sweetness of grits, underlying dark fruit in base, heavily roasted coffee grounds, oily. Finish – woody, some dried fruit, a little charcoal smoke, wet earth, mineral. Aftertaste – cherry wood, soaked raisin, floral. Website claims “orchid aroma” – I would agree – similar notes are present in orchid aroma dan cong.
Overall, no “big” flavors, although admittedly this is sort of an awkward age to be reviewing this tea. The main flavors were bittersweet green and musty raisin. It did need quite a bit of leaf and long steep times to really provide a full experience, as noted in other reviews.
The bitterness that was noted in other reviews has certainly died down. In fact, the main thing I noted was the smooth, oily experience this tea provides.
Not quite sure what else to say. Personally, I kind of like being smacked in the face with flavor and am happy to take the good with the bad – “smoothness” is not a quality that I prize too highly; I want personality! However, this tea is just very understated and does not provide a tapestry of flavors that weave in and out. It does have some personality – oily, raisiny, some lemongrassy bittersweet sensations, but it doesn’t assert itself with gusto.
So, if you’re looking for a smooth operator in the pu’erh realm, maybe this is your guy. I would recommend giving it a few years to come in to its own a bit more.