1998 CNNP Red Label
Re-review of 1998 CNNP Red Label. Sep 24, 2017
Thank you to Mike Pong for making this review possible.
My first session with this tea was a standard gaiwan session. This time I used 5.3g in an 85ml qsn Yixing. The intensity was much higher and the tea went for many more steeps with this setup.
Material is highly compressed, mostly chopped into small pieces. When heated, there is an intense tea aroma, sweet, and quite a lot of herbal medicine aromas, with quite a lot of dry ginseng aroma. The wash is clean, viscous, sweet and light, due to the compressed chunks. I let the chunks steam in the pot after the rinse for quite a while before making the first infusion.
The wet leaf is very intense medicine shop + ginseng. There is also a sweetness and an aroma of strength.
- Incense arrival. Thick. Light taste. The empty cup aroma is flinty, like a burning fuse.
- Arrival is felt in the nose, a floral incense. Flavour is fuller now as the leaves open. The throat begins to open, I feel warmth on the face. Intense warming on the cheeks and ears. More heat. There is a tartness which appears, but it is very much *not* a black tea taste. It is its own perfumy tartness which is hard to describe. Oily coating of the tongue begins. Medium astringency which helps with the gripping full flavour
- Striking bittersweet taste with perfumed incense as the dominant experience. The flavour is very concentrated. There is a sudden frisson about the legs and back. Major alertness and uplift. Quite strong indeed. There is a tart jammy fruit reduction taste on the sides of the tongue. Slow deep breathing. Very relaxed and happy. The mouth is coated with a tasty sweet astringent residue.
- “Like drinking perfume” — in a good way. Still has a lot of bitterness and quite astringent but a very thick concentrated flavour. The centerline of the tongue is a bit numb.
- The arrival flavour is a bit less bold now, and the huigan is easier to experience. Much sweetness and herbal bitterness comes in after swallowing.
- Perfume and smoke continue, heat continues
- Slow breathing, concentrated taste and still quite a punchy bitterness
- Very silky and oily texture, concentrated aroma and taste. Huigan continues
- Very concentrated. Oily. Gasoline.
Brewing at a slightly higher strength and with a good pot which blasts the tea with heat, I got many highly concentrated steeps out of this tea. It is full of perfume, incense, resin, bitterness, and fruity sweetness. Normally with a tea which is so chopped up I would expect it to expire after a handful of steeps, but this was a powerhouse that kept giving after 12 steeps. No geosmin notes, no funkiness, totally clean. My only question is why the tea has such a powerful perfumed incense note. Was this a pungent tea when younger?