About two years ago, a lot has been written about this tea. I have tasted it a year ago and now, so I can see at least short bit of its development. The bit is definitely a pleasant one. It is also the last tea I'll write about before the long journey to Italy.
The tea tea is two years old now, which makes it older than a lot of 2011 teas (and now you see what this tea has done to me - this fact seemed funny to me). Although the statement is somewhat trivial, it is true at least, not many politicians get that far.
I have to admit that I may not be a proper hardcore sheng drinker as I do not really get the Ban Zhang fuss of last years. If you walk the dark streets of Prague (down dalling road) and you see a scarred sheng veteran who considers Nan Nuo to be a region for softlings and most of Bu Lang bores him, being too weak, it is most certainly not me. However, I surely did enjoy drinking this tea this evening. Without further ado, let's get to business.
The aroma of dry leaves is nice, pleasant, but not too powerful.
The aroma of wet leaves after rinsing is very nice. It is noticeably full, complex. I would call it spicy with a hint of honey, flowers and fruit. Nothing is dominating though.
The liquor is not very fragrant.
The taste is a bit cooling at the beginning (though not nearly as much as some Ban Zhang from old trees). I would call it full, powerful, complicated, mostly spicy. There is a bit of fruit and a bit of flowers, not much though. There is a greenness in the taste, but the overall taste is darker and warmer.. The bitterness is powerful, mouth-drying; in some brews, it consumed the rest of the taste. Aftertaste was rather short. Cooling feeling stays the longest. Around fifth brew or so, wet leaves started smelling of pines and this was reflected in the taste too. The cooling feeling became weaker and weaker. The tea was a bit sour, but not in an unpleasant way, it was a natural part of the taste.
Generally, I can not say that the taste would feel directly pleasant to me. I did not feel "wow, this tastes great" at any moment. However, I felt very good throughout the whole session and I did enjoy the taste in a certain way.
A historic note: In the year of 2010 A.D., the tea was much more tobacco-ish and smoke-ish. These parts of taste are mostly gone now, for which I am grateful.
The endurance of this tea is not astonishing, a bit below average of what I drink... Nothing to cry about though.
The tea is filling me with calm energy...feels really good.
Wet leaves are generally thick and of noticeably different colors:
Now they do not smell at all, completely washed out...
This tea is funny. It seems to lack noticeably in certain areas. The only area in which it seems grand to me is in the smell of rinsed leaves. Other than that, the aroma of the liquor is rather weak, taste not trivially nice, hui gan not that powerful. Number of brews produced is nothing to write home about either. Then why do I like this tea so much? Why do I feel so good? I believe that its Cha Qi is especially harmonizing for me. But not only that. The tea is strangely harmonic in a way...
I am interested in where this tea is going to move in five or six years. Pity that it costs so much now. Still, I would not call it overpriced.