Here, "Yuansheng" means "original life" and is often translated as "primeval" (Babelcarp) or "primary ecology" (Hanping). It sells for a reasonable $49, where Scott of Yunnan Sourcing notes that this is a blend of various "wild and ancient" leaves from Xishuangbanna, with "gushu [ancient tree] material that has enough power and density to age well."
A part of me hopes that this cake harks back to the halcyon days of Hailanghao, back before the owner lost his marbles. The 2008 "Ban'e Laoshu" was, for example, really very tasty, and the tong I have on my shelves is getting better every year.
The dry leaves are highly aromatic, assaulting the nose with a grievous-bodily-harm mixture of purple fruits and over-the-top sweetness. I like its violence very much.
Heavy yellow infusions await, pictured below, where the thick scents and heavy colours correspond to a sweet, solid tea that mixes a robust tobacco base with fresh, grass-like overtones.
Likewise, its kuwei is a slap across the chops, but it is the slap of a friend.
It is a well-balanced tea, with a solid character that hangs on the tongue and refuses to budge. For $49, I rather like it.
The fat tobacco base swells and grows, while its anonymous blend does it many favours: it is stable, and has a number of interesting features that keep the attention. Sharp citrus, heavy tobacco, brisk kuwei, some throaty sweetness. I can imagine that this quite potent, heavy character will provide a useful foundation on which the years can build. However, the downside of this blend is that there is a lack of a definite characteristic that endures through the infusions, and it soon tastes like thin, bitter sweetness, with a gentle hint of tobacco.
(Partial) redemption for Mingxiangyayuan. It just goes to show that, no matter how much you suck, you can always pick yourself up and produce good work once more.