The Baxian [8 spirits/Gods] are the subject of Chinese mythology, a collection of disparate personalities from the Tang and Song dynasties often revered as deities (particularly by latterday ritualised Daoism). They are often encountered in Chinese painting, usually being depicted as crossing the great sea in a small boat. Their connection to dancong is not immediately clear to me.
This is the second grade of baxian from Royal Tea Garden, which costs £8/100g, and claims organic status. [Many thanks to CB for the sample.]
Brita-filtered water @ 90C in 10cl dancong pot; ~5g leaf; 1 rinse
3-5cm dark, twisted leaves with one or two small, flat leaves (also oxidised to dark brown). The aroma is that of sweet grapes.
The soup is a concerningly pale yellow-and-green, and this fear is born out in the aroma and flavour which are fairly quiet.
In its beidixiang, it is very much a gaoshan wulong: buttery, with just the right amount of roasting making its way into the scent. The fruity finish beloved of dancong fans appears as regular as clockwork in the lengxiang, and pleasant it is.
"So fresh! It has a herb-like character." The conjunction of fruits and roasting does provoke the impression of the more floral herbs, such as thyme and rosemary.
"Too light - insipid." The tea doesn't carry well into the later infusions. It is gentle, sweet, floral, but ultimately fairly mundane.
Fragile and hard to unroll, I wonder if these are summer leaves, further suggested by their size. They are quite green, and the oxidation level is constant across the surface of the leaf, rather than being bruise-oxidised at the edges and stem.
I wonder if the roasted-fruitiness is signature baxian - I simply have not encountered enough to create a firm prior image of this type of dancong.
It is a refreshing mixture of gaoshan wulong with a good roast, but doesn't excite too much enthusiasm.