2003 Red Dayi 7542-301
18 March, 2017
5.5g/100ml gaiwan [5.1]
Many thanks to Mike for this generous sample! The dry leaf is very mild, without a strong aroma. Dampened, it has a slight fruity scent, with some green apple and dried fruits. Wet, the leaf has a very clean aroma, gentle classic sheng pungency.
The wash is clear and orange, with a soft layered texture and a slightly smoky, woody aroma.
- Mild bittersweet arrival. Main aspect is the activation of the upper mouth, with a dominant taste of medicinal herbs. Beginning to feel some activation of the ears, rear neck, face and shoulders. Beginning to feel alert and uplifted.
- Quite remarkable oil/gas strength activation of the upper mouth, as is the sweet aftertaste. Liquor has much more aroma now, with some honey, and the empty cup aroma has very nice pungent resin. Prickly heat along the sides of the face and ears, with some numbness.
- Very clear orange liquor. Very good mouth-coating light oil texture, dominant taste of dried fruits, like a dry turkish fig but more savoury. Astringency now starting to show.
- Major waves in the lower back, moving up to the face. Very distinctive dominant taste of dried medicinal herbs, perhaps dried/candied longan and red dates, with dried figs or raisins, but overall with reduced sweetness. The waves of frisson die down but then minutes later reappear, with renewed strength and leading to goosebumps on arms.
- A floral perfume aroma begins to show through, one which is familiar from Mike’s other sample — perhaps it is a feature of his storage, a kind of fresh light floral aroma. Very nice empty cup aroma of dark honey. Prickly heat all over torso, strong but very enjoyable radiating heat with frisson highlights.
- Flavour and aroma begins to die out now, except for the floral background which maintains for another few steeps. Texture quite a bit thinner, and with continued heating for a few more steeps.
My favourite aspects of this tea are the savoury medicinal herbs and dried fruits (longan, fig, date, raisin) on the taste and the powerful qi/body effects in the first five steeps, including the prickly heat, face numbing and frisson with goosebumps. It seems very different from the 7542 or the 8582 I’ve tried from this period, in the sense that it seems darker, certainly not as sweet as 8582 and with less bitterness than the 7542, and with a more “savoury strength” profile. In this session it gave most of its interesting content in the first five steeps.