Regular readers will know that I rather like Yichanghao cakes. They're often very decent, and not too expensive. I can't say that this extends to the standard Changtai numbered recipes, which are usually fairly rough, but the "YCH" are usually good.
Imagine my delight, then, to come across a brand from Changtai that I've never noticed before: Qianjiafeng [chee-an jee-ah fung].
It's a whole new brand (to me)
This tea was kindly provided as a review cake / gift by Red Lantern, where it usually sells for $23. As the sticker on the box shows above, "Jinzhushan" [jin djoo shan] means "Golden Bamboo Mountain". This is in Simao, which marks it out as an "outlier" tea, which I usually enjoy very much.
(I have samples of the 2003 and 2005, I think, of this one still to try.)
I wish I could convey the scent of this cake
The leaves are really rather enormous, and have a pungent, green aroma. The scent is aggressive, which is surely a good thing.
I must confess that this tea was rather good, which you'll have to take on trust. Given that it was a gift, you'll no doubt be expecting me to like it - but, in and of itself, it's a tasty cake.
Is it raw? Raw like most maocha? Raw like most decent hand-selected cakes? No. As shown below, it brews up a big, fat orange colour, and it has plenty of tobacco and other darkened flavours that have been accentuated through some artful blending. Consequently, its bitterness has been toned down a touch, and one can start using long infusions without fear of overbrewing.
However, it is a blend - there is plenty of raw shengpu in here, which give a decent kuwei, and the whole has been assembled rather well.
Huskiness be thy name
There's something about its processing that reminds me of Dayi, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it is the exaggerated, heavy overtone; that sweet-roast that hangs around in the back of the nose. It's very familiar.
It's also very Simao - sweet, tangy, and long in a granary, cereal way.
It cuts a very pleasant course between too rough and too empty, and, while it has some plantation roughness, it is just $20. Rather nice, if slightly compromised.