This is one of "Red Dayi" cakes. It says it's 7542, but I don't think it has much in common with normal 7542 actually. The Red Dayi cakes seem to share a particular sort of fruitiness which may not appeal to everyone. Furthermore, it seems to me that such a tea needs careful storage as it can get sour quite easily. E.g., the 2003 Red Dayi cake from Sampletea is an example of a problematic tea - it has similar sort of fruitiness as this 2001 Red Dayi, but probably due to too dry storage, it is quite sour - one of few teas I had to throw out not to contamine my teapot (and stomach) further.
Luckily, this 2001 cake has received some very good storage I think. The website says "a bit wet" - same as what is written about the 2000 Apple green 7542. I don't know what this "a bit wet" actually means. Not too dry? Certainly. But it's not wet like you'd taste any dampness or storage taste; not at all. It tastes like reasonably dry storage to me. There is not much aged character yet, but the tea is not a degenerated dried mummy either.
The leaves look healthy, are not too broken and there is an abundance of tips (a possible factor contributing to the tendency to get sour, maybe?).
When the leaves are rinsed, it is rather obvious that this tea is a representative of "Red Dayi" - there are starting tones of agedness and nuts, some malt, with that characteristic "red berry fruit". I tend to avoid this sort of fruitiness as I have met it mostly in overly dry teas where it caused nasty sourness. However, this 2001 shows that it might not be always a clear negative.
As I had this session in late evening, I had to flash-photograph, which may lead to a bit distorted colors. Anyway - the liquor has excellent clarity and "proper" color for a 2001 tea. It's really nice and definitely not too dry.
The taste remains faithful to the aroma. It is malty-sweet (or sweet-sour, actually; but the sweetness is stronger), thick and smooth. It tastes of light mixture of sweet wood and nuts, with a distinct taste of that overripe "red fruit" (which also gives the sourness to the sweet-sourness). It is maybe as if you took a flowery/fruity meadow character and aged it... maybe.
The tea somehow reminded of Wistaria's Mengsong and partly because of that (and because of other Mengsongs), I think that a large portion of this cake's leaves could come from Mengsong. I don't say it's exactly like the Wistaria's Mengsong - far from that - but I think that there is a nontrivial set of shared aspects.
The taste was decent - I don't really crave this kind of tea, but it was all right. Unfortunately, there is not too much aftertaste or long-term aftertaste (that one does appear, but only seldom). There is no real mouth activity and I did not feel any qi. Therefore, from the point of outside-taste aspects, this tea really did not seem too interesting to me. And the taste, while fine, somehow lacked noblesse in the sessions I had with it.
I don't want to sound too negative about this tea as it is not really bad... but I think that there are better choices and much more to my style too. However, I think that it is definitely an interesting experience to taste a "Red Dayi" cake - and this one is probably the best of the set I tasted up to now - certainly the best stored.
By the way, I would not build a knowledge base on 7542 recipe based on this tea... I don't think it's like a 7542 at all.