2006 YQH Qixiang
2006 Yangqinghao Qixiang Gushu Chawang
3.9g/70ml Novak shibo [7.6]
The dry leaf has the typical sweet minty/camphor YQH house aroma, the damp leaf has some fatty soap, and the wet leaf has a sharp oily dark sweetness.
From the very start, the liquor has a good thickness, and is immediately sweet, followed by an oily/alcohol strength which coats the membranes and generates waves behind the ears flowing down the neck and back.
In the first two steeps there is some clean smokiness or more accurately roastyness and some more soapy funk, but a powerful oily penetrating coating which quickly produces a remarkable frisson which envelops the neck and back and moves down the body.
By the third steep, and this has happened more than half of the times I’ve had this tea within the first 6-7 steeps, I get a very strong full-body frisson covering the head, chest, and moving down to the legs, giving a gentle but distinct pins+needles effect on the skin. Not so much cooling but rather like a white noise feeling akin to a numbing. The numbing is particularly pronounced on the sides of the face surrounding the ears.
The initial steeps are very aromatic with honey florals, cinnamon, and an overall sweet profile, and the wonderful qi effect continues through 7 steeps, but the character of the tea changes, losing its sweet aromatics and becoming more bitter, astringent, and darker, with more wood and leather. The presence of these different characters may be due to the fact that the tea is a blend of material from the six famous mountains. In any case, the flavour and aroma profile appeals to me without overstaying its welcome, and the qi effect is quite pronounced and has its own character distinct from other similarly aged and priced teas.