2016 W2T Last Thoughts vs 2017 BYH Yibi
17 Sep 2017: W2T ABOVE / BYH BELOW in photo
After tasting and re-tasting several ’16 and ’17 productions from W2T and BYH, I wanted to do a direct comparison between these two teas because I found them to be extremely similar to each other. Similar region, similar processing, similar levels of aroma and taste, and body effect.
First the ’17 BYH, which appears on the bottom of the photos.
The dry leaf is very pungent and sweet. The damp is fruity, and very pleasant. The wash gives an incense note on the gaiwan lid. Pungent, with excellent sweet taste, very salivating,
- Sweet, salivating, incense. Pungent. Very good ECA. Very moreish, sweet and juicy. Slight aroma of clean smoke. Intense taste on the rear throat. Beginning to feel an uplift.
- Very briny-sweet oily flavour with great huigan. Very good ECA. Pungent perfume intensifies. Long lasting tongue coating.
- Dark yellow now. Complex bittersweet flavour and very strong uplift felt now. Excellent uplifting qi actually.
- Enjoyable combination of intense aroma and full taste. Heat on the surface of skin. ECA is now excellent (+++)
- Greenish taste does show now, but good overlying sweetness and strong aroma. Very moreish indeed, want to drink lots of it. Sweet calm, heating, relaxing.
- Longer steep gives an incredibly dense and bittersweet complex bitterness. Amazing taste. Very concentrated (+++)
- Late steeps continue to be very thick. There are high fruit/oolong hints in the late steeps.
Now the ’16 W2T. The dry leaf is pungent like the Yibi. Damp is very pungent, deep perfume, perhaps a tad deeper note than the Yibi. Wash is very light, briny arrival, thick, not green or oolong in this session, juicy.
- Pungent aroma coming from liquor. I taste something very interesting and unexpected. A quite strong tea note, like a black tea, or Darjeeling. Light frisson and eye twitch. Thick (+++). Without being sweet, get fruits, fresh fruits. Fine clean smoke. Heat. Coats front and middle of tongue. Frisson on arms. Waiting a few moments, feel the green on the stomach. Later emergent pungency in the mouth.
- Big flavour, bitter-savoury complex with returning sweetness. Uplift. Frisson to goosebumps. Very good, but quite green (not in a bad way) long lingering strength on tongue reaching back. Good ECA, long lasting.
- It has a distinctive and very nice savoury briny oil in the arrival. It is special, quite strong. The Yibi has exactly the same note but is perhaps a tad weaker than the LT.
- Very nice aged-like full thick taste.
- Mild ECA now, continued full taste.
- Continued heat, complex taste, continuing emerging aroma in the mouth. low ECA.
Some things that stand out: First, these teas are extremely similar, they have the same features but the strength of these features is slightly different. On aroma and resinous content, I think the Yibi has more. In terms of qi and body effect, the LT has a slight edge, but not by a lot. The most interesting and pleasant aspect of both teas was this intense briny-savoury oily dense arrival leading to bittersweet flavour. It is a very satisfying flavour that coats the mouth and throat and leaves a pungent cloud of aroma afterwards. The Last Thoughts definitely had a more intense tea taste and aged taste, almost perplexingly so.
The Last Thoughts also had a bit more green aggressiveness, and this makes sense from the processing, which I believe is greener than BYH in general, although not nearly as green as, e.g. EoT (none of these I would say are “too green” – there is plenty of room for processing style while remaining within good parameters)
If the processing is good, which I believe it is, one wonders why these teas are so easy to drink while so young. I don’t know the answer to this. Some say it’s due to Gushu vs Taidi, but I am uncertain.
As to which I prefer, I would actually have a hard time deciding between them. That says a lot, given that there is a massive price disparity.