My heart jumped with joy when I saw that Sampletea started selling this tea. After all, it's quite famous. With such a hyped tea, one is glad for an affordable price.
There are several versions of this cake. This is the first one, which received the heaviest pressing. In general, "first pressing" sounds good. However, in this case, it seems that the other pressings were much better. Unfortunate me for having the first one.
First, I am not altogether sure how much "HK storage" the tea received. Because there is only a very faint storage aroma in dry leaves in a preheated teapot and in the aroma of rinsed leaves and in taste, there is basically no storage taste/aroma at all. It's possible that the tea is indeed from HK, but I'd guess at dry/natural storage then. Of course, it's possible that the dense compression had some influence on very low degree of "wetness"...
The rinsed leaves smell ok, reasonably sweet, with that nutty/woody/raisin mix that one sometimes meets in lightly aged Yiwu tea.
Does this look like a 1999 HK "slightly wet" stored tea to you? Does not to me... I have teas from 2007 with a similar color.
Anyway, the taste... it's difficult to write about it, because there is not much. There is some sweet, powdery wood, with hints of raisins and nuts... Very, very mild aged taste. The powderiness of the tea is really strange. Maybe it's that famous Granny face powder? I can imagine having a granny with a face powder of similar aroma as this tea does.
Unimpressive taste can be redeemed, no doubt. But the tea rejects even that. It just feels awfully winded, tired and bored, like a person who just waits for death with resignation.
Sweetness? Sub-par. Thickness? Sub-par. Length of taste? Sub-par. Mouthfeel? Almost none. Qi? Weak and tired. Long-term aftertaste? Maaaybe... In a couple of steepings, it was nice.
This tea really reminded me of Cheng Guang He Tang's 99 Yiwu Dragon and Horse. That one was possibly a touch better though... But it was tired in a similar way, the fact that he sucked a bit less than this 99 Changtai Yichanghao did not save it either.
Bummer, I wanted this tea to be good. Well, next time, maybe. I've heard that the later pressings (also probably from somewhat different material) can be good or even excellent. I'll be looking for them then.