Thanks to Mr. Chan Kam Pong (Managing Editor of The Art of Tea magazine) for sending a 10gr sample of this tea to many people worldwide, including me. The organized online tasting was, I think, a success.
Dry leaves: Dark brown-green with downy silver buds strewed sparsely. The sample that I received was quite broken up. In a warmed gaiwan, the dry leaves gave off a pleasant floral whiff and sweet-sour plum note. A bit of smoke came through, though it was not unpleasant. Excellent nose overall.
Wet leaves: Smokey, plummy, woody, and floral. Bright and uplifting. Smoke was quite dominant.
Liquor: Amber-brown color with varying intensity, depending on the steeping time given. Clarity was decent, though not crystal clear throughout all infusions. The first brew came off fruity – it mostly reminded me of yellow plums and ripe, sweet apricots – and also a bit of smoke. The brews thereafter were assertive and intense, with bitter gourd-like taste. The caffeine buzz hit me pretty hard at around the 4th infusion. On the 6th brew, the camphor/woody aroma showed up, as if it had been hiding behind the intensity and bitterness all along. Brewed nicely for 9 infusions before going downhill.
Medium bodied. Good, wholesome mouthfeel. Went down quite smoothly, leaving a mouth-coating dusty tannin and a cooling effect, which was then followed with a bitter-sweet aftertaste that turned sweet on the back of the tongue and far down the throat for a long time. Pretty impressive.
An excellent tea all around, though it is still too primary and brutish for immediate enjoyment. I can imagine it being a good candidate for long term aging.
More about this tea (warning: a long post with many pictures...slow download)