I've received several interesting around-2000 cakes from Sampletea a couple of days ago. The first one I had, 2000 Apple green 7542, was very good (more about that in future). Next, I picked the 2000 Hong Yin Hong Si Dai. It's possibly a bit more controversial due to rather dry storage, however, it is still quite decent (which sadly can't be said about another theoretically interesting cake,the 2003 Wild Arbor Red Mark which was so dry it got heavily sour; bad Kunming).
The leaves smell quite clean, without a hint of dampness of any sort. Nevertheless, the leaves are brown already, no signs of green:
The cake seems to be mid-heavily pressed.
After rinsing a tea from around 2000, I'm used to a rich sweet mixtures of different sorts. I thought the aroma of this one unusually chaotic and not very interesting - some wood, red fruit and some herbs; no agedness whatsoever. But it was not really how I imagine a "proper" 2000 tea. I got a bit afraid of the tea being overdried.
The liquor is light, but not dangerously so:
The clarity is very good, but not good for much. The taste is what matters.
The taste is ok, solid, my fears of overly dry storage were partially in vain - there is not much of that strange sourness and it goes away after a couple of steepings. The tea tastes of ripe currant and grapes, but it is not really long. After a while, very, very light earthiness appears (but not really of an aged sort), spiciness and some tones of camphor. The tea tastes young, but somewhat changed. I'd say it's not unlike a 40 years old woman who pretends to be 20. I prefer "naturally aged" women than these zombies, I have to say.
The sweetness and thickness are ok, but nothing extra special, especially in a tea of this age. The tea had excellent mouthfeel and vibrancy in the first two steepings, but that vanished from the 3rd steeping on. However, a pleasant aftertaste of fresh plums was present, which is what basically made me continue with the tea session.
What I was worried the most is that this is probably the 10-15th tea I have I'd label as "drier than good" and all these teas shared a single feature - the qi was zero. This tea brings no special feelings, no inner motion, no concentration to me. It's like a shell without a soul.
Overall, the session was ok, because I had no expectations. Having a high expectations, I'd be probably disappointed: this tea is really at the edge of dry and overly dry storage, I think. With no aged tones appearing yet, I think that if one wants to make it aged, it would be best to store it somewhere else. Of course, one might want to avoid the "classical" aged character, sticking to more youthful tones, but I don't think such aging works too well. It might be safer (and cheaper) to drink young/5-10yrs old pu instead.