I let the rinsed leaves sit and steam for a few minutes. Afterwards, they smell sweet and perfumery. I believe that this tea, younger than one year, is still settling from being picked and processed. It is cloudy, sweet, pungent and just a little rough around the edges. It has the profile one would expect from a Simao-grown sheng puer; granary sweet with musky notes of honey suckles and fresh greens. With the second infusion the soup grows a deeper, darker dense golden yellow, as notes of vanilla extract and malt emerge.
Given my last week’s observations on the progress one of of Scott’s 2014 teas, I think this one will definitely improve over the next several months; as noted, it’s got it where it counts, but is still a little too straightforward and active… It hasn’t settled yet into subtlety and balance like the Bangbao Village has. Which is not to say that I’m NOT completely in love with this tea anyway… It’s almost cotton-candy sweet, has tons of mouth-feel, and a really good bitter edge. I think this will really be at the top of its game in summer 2016-17 as far as young tea goes.
The later steepings (I think I’m on five now…) are HEAVY, sweet and almost spicy. There is a borderline iron-ore quality sitting within fragrant summer flowers and fresh garden spinach.
The interesting part about late steepings for me is the subtleties that are harder to detect when all of its initial flavors are coming out, especially in the case of the HSG which is so flavorful out the gate. There is a very slight olive oil quality in both fragrance and feel, and plenty of sweet grassy and mossy notes that come out as well. It is this more than anything else that makes me think this will be a really excellent tea very, very soon. For people like me who enjoy a very pure, green and balanced tea, this certainly seems like a worthy investment. Again, I don’t think it’s at the top of its game this very minute, but I’m speaking of course to my own personal tastes… It’s definitely too perfumery still for me to really give it my full endorsement, but this is a really good value, especially right now when I feel like this is on the cusp of true greatness.
As a final note, I have to just give it up for Scott Wilson; I really think the teas that he makes in this price range ($80 iirc) can go toe to toe with multi-hundred dollar gushu cakes that other outfits put out…