This is unlike any other tea I have ever had. I am not quite sure why is that the case though. Dry leaves give off an interesting and deep aroma that has a little bit of a leather quality. After the rinse, I get a fairly subtle, sweet and complex smell. There are hints of fish, nettle, swamp vegetation – I just can’t stop sniffing it. The liquor smell like dry bamboo and the empty cup more like rapeseed flowers to me.
The first two infusions after rinse are still just a warm-up. They are quite vegetal, salty and a touch bitter with an interesting aftertaste that’s a mix of fish and thistles. I know it sounds strange, but that’s the closest approximation I could come up with. This is a strange tea.
The third infusion is where the session properly starts. From then on, the tea is thick and incredibly smooth with a buttery and numbing mouthfeel. It is a Lincang tea, so naturally there is a decent amount of astringency, but it’s manageable and it only occurs in the mouth, there’s no drying sensation in the throat. Interestingly, the colour of the liquor is quite dark and with a brownish hue.
I enjoy the taste too, although it’s hard to place it. I would say it’s a mix of sweet, floral and alcohol flavours. I think I will need more time with this tea to be able to pinpoint it. The aftertaste is slightly acidic and floral at first and becomes nutty (think sunflower seeds) and sweet over time. It also lasts so long. As I am writing this, it’s been about half an hour since I last drunk the tea and I can feel it in the throat as if I just swallowed it! One quality of the aftertaste that just emerged now is a kind of vegetal (grape leaf) flavour.
Because of the protracted aftertaste, strong cha qi and a very good longetivity of the leaves, this turned out to be a really long session in the end. It’s not the kind of sheng I would drink casually or with little time to spare.
I think I like it a lot, but I will wait with the rating until further sessions. It’s hard to compare the tea with others because of how different it is. It’s a bummer that the cakes are sold out though, I would have loved to have this one in the collection. At least there are versions of this tea from previous years that I could pick up, but now I wonder which one should it be?
Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Bamboo, Fishy, Floral, Nutty, Plants, Salty, Sour, Thick, Vegetal