While drinking this tea, a suitable simile from popular culture came to mind to best describe its position relative to cakes from previous years. If the 2009 Bulang and 2010 Bulang are, for example, regular Taxmaster (pictured below left), then the 2011 version can be none other than Omega Taxmaster (pictured below right).
As I exhaled noxious menthol fumes from this tea, Omega Taxmaster came to mind.
I think that's all we need to know about this cake, and so we could end the article here.
For those of you who wish for a few more details, I'm glad that you stuck around.
The dry leaves are tippy, and medium in length. This cake comes from the same family as previous years, and so we might expect that the maocha should look fairly similar to those from older cakes. What is surprising about the dry leaves are the extraordinarily potent scents being exuded. Recalling the melee of previous years, I err on the side of caution when selecting a quantity of leaves for this session.
Good bitterness arrives from the very first infusion, combined with heavy, low tobacco notes. After just two tiny cups, my head is reeling. My skin tingles as the cold is pushed outwards, the tea working its way through my body at great speed.
Its character is very sharp, something like grapefruit to my reckoning. I actually enjoyed the aggressive nature of the tea from previous years, but this is so significantly more violent that it prohibits any great degree of pleasure.
Perhaps it will age well - it certainly has the power for it.
The significant price increase of 27% from previous years (from £40 to £51) prevents me from buying more than a cake of this tea, which I retain to see how it goes.
Revisiting the 2009 version after two years, I observed that it had settled into a darker, quieter mode - we might assume a similar trajectory for this latest production. I seldom encounter cakes that are genuinely too much for me to enjoy, given my love of bitterness and aggression, but this is definitely one of them.