2013 Xiaguan FT Love Forever, Paper Tong
April 2, 2017
4.4g/80ml Novak Shibo. [8.0]
In honour of the April 1 wedding of James & Laura, I finally tried the famous Xiaguan FT Love Forever cake, which is supposedly made with older material, explaining the fact that this obviously does not taste like a 2013 tea.
The cake itself is very aromatic, with a rich tobacco note. Damp, the leaves give a fruity smell, with no geosmin and no fermentation funk.
The wash is light yellow-orange, and is active on the tongue, giving sweetness and salivation. Very clean. An aftertaste of sweet fresh tobacco lingers.
- Right off the bat, the empty cup aroma is really excellent, deep perfume with high floral resin aspects but also lower tobacco savoury notes. Thick and cohesive liquor, giving a very full satisfying flavour, as well as some astringency and juiciness which spreads pleasantly to the sides of the tongue. Already feeling a bit of rustling energy. No off-notes, no problems.
- Some complex bitterness comes in, pure arrival, frisson beginning, and a very strong cheek juiciness which creeps upward giving an intense juiciness in the mouth, very pleasant indeed. Mounting frisson enveloping the head, back and legs. Full and compelling taste and aroma. Heat.
- Still in short steeps, frisson+heat renewed. Continuing big flavour which includes bittersweet arrival and juicy citric cheek effect. Very engaging, excellent energy, and a beautiful finish with emergent sweet fresh tobacco aroma and pungent woody sap.
- Super full sweet+sour flavour, gripping astringency but in a pleasant way. Extremely comfortable cooling frisson waves about the torso with heat radiating along arms.
- Some hay coming out, sweet burley Tobacco aroma, a centering of frisson energy in the stomach, quite a strong concentration and then moving down to legs and back. Very enjoyable empty cup aroma even now. Really good all-round experience hitting all the marks.
- Major frissons now, with very mobile energy, moving quite quickly around the body, some sweating. Complex bitter savoury flavour. Great aftertaste and juiciness even after waiting for the cup to cool down to room temperature.
- After a long break, the aroma of the liquor is still clear, and the frisson renewed.
- Lighter yellow-orange now, showing some youth, but still with good aftertastes. Interestingly a clear incense (sweet bhutanese red/purple style) note shows up, as does a Sprite note. Seriously.
- Longer steeps now required. 1 minute. Bigger flavour restored, sweetness showing. Liquor is still quite thick
- 5 minute thermos steep gives a very interesting woodier and more incense-themed aroma on the empty chahai.
What’s not to love? Thick texture, strong aroma with high perfume resin and low notes of tobacco and woody incense, flavour in spades, productive bitterness and extra juiciness on the cheeks, and intense but extremely comfortable energetic effects. No off notes, no geosmin, no funkiness, and no smokiness. It does have some astringency, which does not bother me. It isn’t an extra-late steeper, perhaps this is due to the slightly chopped nature of the material (which is actually quite nice looking overall).