2010 Yibang KR
A sample of a 2010 Yibang from a highly regarded Korean producer, will shortly be available from TShop. This is a summary of three separate tastings, Nov 27, Dec 8, Dec 21.
Pungent middle resin dry aroma, not fully sweet. Young pungency on damp leaf. Less sweet, more vinegary.
Wet leaf has slight smoke, but very deep sweet dark aroma.
Wash has slight char, with strength aroma.
- Thick, smooth, full mouthcoat, salivating, mild but clear pungent powdery resin perfume. Pure. Persistent and strong activation of tip of tongue, interesting savoury note at tip of tongue. Has some char smokiness, but light. Juicy but not acidic or fruity. Very refreshing in a sense. Heat starts.
- Thick arrival, touch of smoke, strong salivation begins. Superb adherence of liquid to surfaces of mouth — great mouthfeel right to the back. Pungent resins. Sweet but more juicy. Major awareness increase, frisson, inspiration. Remarkable. Very long lasting sweet residue. Clean, no balling. Calm and mentally alert. Intense tongue activation with medium-high tannins. Heat in chest and ears.
- Empty cup residue is very nice, resinous, honey-floral. Reminds me a bit of young Yiwus or Xikong, but less sweet. Very thick, concentrated. Clear liquor but greenish-orange. Still rough. Can be slightly harsh on stomach but very deep concentrated aromatic liquor. Tannins, chalky. Some sweet incense atributes.
- Potpourri is best description of the particular style of the powdery resin aroma. Thick texture, bittersweet oily. Incredibly deep “break” in the sense of the swallow breaking. Goes very deep down with perfect adherence. Low bitterness, but does have a solid green note, green not as in TW oolong but more like sencha.
- Very good huigan, and uplift felt. More astringency. Very calm and focused. Starting to get sweeter now and fuller. Jaw and cheeks are numb.
- More orange in appearance now. Lotus. Very good aftertaste development during long pause. Wave of relaxing energy. Good residual taste and aroma. Remarkable swallow thickness.
- Darker incense now. Deep flavour. Frisson, strong greenness. Heat is less now, but more frisson. Cohesiveness is very good. There is a darker incense note now, not sweet but more savoury or herbal.
- Now getting the very nice oily bittersweet arrival texture and flavour. Green, renewed frisson. Moreish, refreshing like drinking water when very thirsty.
- Yet more sweetness now, still very engaging and active taste and aftertaste. Circulating energy in chest and shoulders. Quite green, increased astringency, with complex concentrated taste.
- After several breaks, still moreish, renewed heat in center of chest. Super thick and substantial. Remarkably so at this point.
- Continues to be thick, smooth, with medium tannins, very refreshing and adherent.
- Long steep at this point has plenty of bitterness and seemed to be more aged, it continues for quite a number of steeps after this.
The storage of this 2010 is clearly very different from any storage I’ve tried thus far, including Taiwan, Guandong, and Malaysia. It retains a great deal of greenness and has an amazingly pungent powdery potpourri aroma, both on liquor, in the mouth, and as residue on the teaware. On the other hand, it is not particularly bitter on normal steeping, and the tannins, while obviously present, are not at all harsh. There is no mustiness or “storage aroma” at all in this tea. As a result there is a feeling of “purity” with this tea.
It seems like the tannins contribute perfectly to the amazing texture and mouthfeel of this tea. The liquid adheres to the throat so well that it seems to coat everything and travel very deep without “breaking” as usually happens during the swallow. As a result it gives a luxurious feeling of envelopment.
The energy is very enjoyable, with heat, calming and increasing awareness, and ample frisson and uplift as the session progresses. But for me the main event is in the mouthfeel and texture. The taste and aroma leans toward the green and floral, with a lot of incense complexity which seems to be related to the expert frying of the leaves. The taste profile seems to me to be closer to Jingmai than it is to, say, Yiwu or Bulang, and is not my favourite kind of profile since it is more perfumed and elusive.
The material is very beefy, with thick leaves. The leaves are the smaller type, as expected for Yibang — this is supposed to be the C. Sinensis var Sinensis — but they are mostly intact leaves.
I would recommend sampling this tea if for no other reason than its amazing texture, mouthfeel, and longevity. It is still in the green phase, however.