This will probably be the last of the cakes from Yunnan Sourcing that I write about for some time - at least until the spring 2012 cakes appear. It feels as if I have been drinking tons of tea from Scott, of late, and that is surely testament to his activity during 2011.
I can't help but wonder whether, as when Xizihao ramped up production, it might be wise to keep the focus on a smaller number of cakes, perhaps concentrating more on the springtime varieties, instead of the quieter autumnal cakes. Then again, what do I know? There have been some great cakes in Scott's 2011 range, for those willing to work through the samples to find them. I hope that, in some small way, my humble notes here have been some assistance in helping you towards some of (what I consider to be) the better of the bunch.
This "Fengyun" is a blend. I enjoyed the Sanhezhai most of all, I seem to recall, from Scott's blends in 2011. Certainly, that's the only one that I remember buying - the others that I bought were single-mountain cakes.
This blend, as with all of his teas, looks great - as pictured above. We have long leaves, furry tips, and all manner of complexities thrown in for good measure. They carry the unusual low aroma of caramel.
The characters in the cake's name are hand-printed and could either be "wind" or "phoenix" for "feng", while "yun" is the hard-to-translate character approximately meaning charm / resonance / harmonious feeling that I have mentioned before.
The scent of the leaves is an interesting mixture of grassiness, butter from the wok, and rich caramel. Good blends can be fascinating, and the complementary tones in the aroma suggest that Scott has assembled a good set of components. As ever, he is cagey about the precise contents, saying only that it comes from "three very different areas of Southern Yunnan." Such a desire to keep his blend a secret is, naturally, his perogative.
The opening infusions have a solid, mushroom-like base that reminds me of solid Menghai-region characteristics. It also has a "soapy" feeling, in that it is smooth and floral. "Soapiness" is really the only way that I can describe it, which sounds terrible, but is actually rather enjoyable.
"It has a very nice bitterness", notes my dear wife; "Very drinkable."
Citrus end-notes develop in later infusions, and it copes well with unintentional overbrewing, not showing any sign of "brown" plantation characteristics. It stays sweet and interesting, and has a very reliable kuwei [pleasant bitterness]. I wrote, "For $20, I should buy a cake." As stable, enjoyable blends go, this one represents good value. It outperforms many of the more expensive cakes that I have encountered from more mainstream outfits. While not grand, it is decently strong and reliable. See if you agree.