The guests have gone, the family is in harmony, it is the hour of the dragon.
(With apologies to "Curse of the Golden Flower".)
What better way to celebrate our newly-regained freedom than with a tea that comes with so much good press that it's ghost-writing its own autobiography. Courtesy of MA [copious thanks], this 250g tuocha is sold by Teamasters for $265.
"Scottish Mountain" @ 100C in 8cl old shengpu (Hanwu) pot; ~6-8g leaf; 1 rinse
Remarkable, being some of the best leaves on an 80s tea that I've yet come across, in that they're not fragmented beyond belief. Luxurious, full leaves, easily separated from one another, which are dark and rich in colour. The aroma is very sweet, and very dense - yet remains crisp.
There is a certain shicang [wet storehouse] about it which becomes much more obvious when the pretty little leaves are added to the damp pot. I do like shicang character.
4s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 6s, 6s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, >2m
for the remaining 5 infusions:
After just 4s, the soup is already pitch-black [pictured]. This is a rich, heavy little tea. The aroma is sweet wood, typical decent shicang. The texture of the liquid is thick and gloopy; it hugs the sides of the wenxiangbei.
The flavour is interesting: it is very, very smooth, with a particulate (almost powdery) character that I have come to associate with shupu. Unlike shupu, however, this ends in a seriously triumphant huigan that sits in the throat and sings for a long, long time.
It is a rapid, "impatient" tea, moving quickly from the initial malty woodiness to that mouth-watering and enduring finish.
The ending in the throat, lapsing into engineering metaphor for a moment, has the self-sustaining and self-amplifying quality of a vibration occurring at the resonant frequency of the material. It builds and builds, and the mouth continues to water. Fine stuff.
In the interests of balance - what didn't I enjoy about it? It doesn't change much over the entire session, and it isn't immensely complex: it is always instantaneous shicang rapidly falling into the vibrant huigan, which little else to experience except for the sweet, damp aroma filling the nose.
Hardened from age, but black and whole. It is quite heavy on the stems, which isn't obvious from the dry tuocha.
"Nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." It has definitely left "middle age", but hasn't quite entered "old" yet, being zesty and tangy whilst managing some darkness and depth. I like it, but I did get a little tired of drinking 54 cups of the same, constant brew.