2006 YQH Tianxiang Baopin
Sept 22, 2016 4.2g/70ml gaiwan [5.0]
Dry leaf: not as minty/sweet and full as usual YQH. This is more dry, woody, furniture polish. Wet leaf is consistent with this and is also a bit grainy, oats or barley.
Wash is active on the tongue, produces aroma in the mouth. It is a pungent aroma but lower register, not so much floral as pungent dried fruits.
Quite viscous, chicken soup effect, mouth coating, pungent dark floral aroma. Very intense perfume on empty cup. Very enjoyable aroma, intoxicating. Dark orange liquor, very strong colour throughout. Aroma is permeating the whole tea table. Tannins are clear, not too rough. Drying of the throat and mouth, spicy and tree bark. No sweetness, no significant aftertaste, herbal umami is the dominant taste, although not intense umami. Steep 5 produces a medium heat, prickly chest and back, heat along the neck. Some alertness, but that is the extent of the body/mind effect.
Strong lower-register taste of furniture polish, bark, dry wood spices, like a non-sweet version of bitters. Aroma is pleasant but much weaker than before. Very little salivation or aftertaste. No sweetness. It has quite some longevity but produces a flat experience after steep 8 or 9.
This session with the 2006 Tianxiang Baopin was weak in comparison with all the YQH I’ve tried so far. Not because there was anything at all wrong with the tea as such – it is just missing a lot of the standout features of some of the others I’ve tried. The Baopin has a nice pungent aged aroma and thick mouthfeel in the early steeps; to my mind it had no flaws in terms of off-tastes and never erred towards black tea or anything like that, and the primary taste is a strong, pleasant aged dry taste. While I did not appreciate any body/mind effect, it may be subtler than the other teas and so I may not be calibrated to detect it.