2005 Red Changtai
This is a Taiwan stored Red Changtai from 2005, a relatively inexpensive tea even among early-2000s Changtai. There was a traditional HK stored version of this sold at White2tea several years ago, but I doubt this cake saw much humid storage at all. It seems to have seen thoroughly dry Taiwan storage.
The dry and damp leaf have an incense ash aroma, and the wash is clean, dark orange in colour, and very clear.
- Some smokiness, with camphor and pine wood, and a good deal of resin. Overall sweet taste, with clear strength and a very good mouthcoat. Moreish, with a gasoline penetrating taste, a sweet aftertaste and some tannins.
- Golden brown colour. Wonderful strength of huigan — not so much explicitly sweet as a kind of minerality which causes salivation. A feeling of uplift, with frisson in the ribs and very pleasing overall.
- A strong and enjoyable aged camphor taste with savoury edges, huigan minerality and strongly heating in the chest. It has some aspects in common with some much more expensive and aged teas I have tried.
- Savoury-camphor-sweet. Fine astringency and generates a woody piney emergent aroma. More heat, in the lower back. The liquor is clear and brown-red. Lasting huigan. Very positive feeling. Strongly uplifting.
- Quite powerful heating now in the whole body. Alert and uplifted. There is a feeling of being fixed and weighty. Transfixed.
- Starting to decline a bit, get more gentle but very good huigan.
- Very concentrated flavour but without the strength of previous infusions.
- Long steeps are very nice to drink, no black tea taste, no mustiness or geosmin. But camphorous aged tastes.
- Enjoyed many long and late steeps; not strong but with a distinct and enjoyable taste.
I was really pleasantly surprised with this cake. It reminds me a bit of the Wistaria Zipin Yiwu, but it has a slightly more aged and darker profile. It is also somewhat similar to the HK Henry Conscientious Formula 7542 from 2003, but doesn’t have the mothball or storage notes that one has.
This tea is also totally unlike the Brown Changtai, which is also very good. The Brown Changtai I tried had no smokiness or camphor, but also had no traditional storage notes, and was overall weightier, darker, and maybe a bit more complex and subtle.
My favourite aspects of this tea are the clean aged characteristics, the long-lasting aftertaste, the very strong heating and the enjoyable calming effects.