Dear Reader, some of you are far too generous. I lament my inability to find good lapsang, and suddenly, four kindly souls have provided me with really very good examples of it.
Perhaps the most "authentic", in the sense of provenence, must be this 2011 version from Essence of Tea.
I believe that it was Mrs. Essence who procured this tea, which came from Tongmuguan [tong-wood pass], an area near Xingcun village of Chongan county, in northern Fujian, from which zhengshan xiaozhong is supposed to have originated.
As Mr. Essence notes in his description of the tea, it is longer in leaf than the 2010 equivalent. Like that tea, it is a well-handled affair, and the leaves have a beautiful fragrance of sweet, dense hongcha.
You may notice in the photograph above a charming little "xishi" teapot. I bought this from M. Erler of Teamasters some years ago, for around £40. It was a birthday gift from my parents, in fact, and is one of my most beautiful teapots. I duly dedicated it to hongcha at the time. However, this decision means that it spends most of the year in my cupboard, because my increasingly-rare tea sessions tend to be filled with pu'ercha. Thus, it is a real pleasure to blow the dust off it (literally) and brew up some good red tea.
In character, it is much like the 2010 version, which is to its credit. Both teas are delicious hongcha, which my xishi pot seems happy to brew - she glows visibly. It is smooth, full in the mouth, and the pine-like hints are gentle, and well-integrated with the malt of the hongcha. It is a real treat - thanks again to Mr. Essence for the sample.
I could definitely get used to zhengshan xiaozhong like this, which is the "yin" to the aggressive, smokey "yang" of traditional English "lapsang souchong".
(For reference, this tea costs £22/100g at the time of writing.)