This is a tasting of the 2017 Dayi 7542 recipe, batch 1701, produced in February 2017 from a blend of three years’ worth of material. I tasted it first in October 2017 and now in March 2018, basically 6 months and 12 months after production.
1. Six months: October 2017
5g/90ml Novak pot
Extremely pungent dry cake. Fruity and resinous to a really surprising degree. When damp, there is an intense sweet pungent fruity aroma to the leaves. The wash is very light yellow-orange. The wet leaf has a green, slightly vegetal sweetness.
- Savoury-bitter arrival. Hay. Sweet only in the aftertaste. Dark yellow. Quite thick. Opens throat. No smoke. Quite good resin pungent ECA. Definite green tea flavour. Gyokuro-sencha style. Good emergent aroma in mouth. Alerting.
- Excellent ECA – super pungent resinous. Strong huigan. Strong bitterness. Rough on tongue, with noticeable astringency. Heat beginning. The experience is like this: First bitter, then savoury+salivating, then sweet in the rear of mouth, then a green residue, and then an emergent pungent aroma when it’s all over. I feel some frisson and alertness.
- Liquor is cloudy and dark yellow. Thick, with plenty of bubbles. No explicit smoke but there is evidence of the roast. Frisson rising. Very alerting+strong. More sweetness and greenness. Strong astringency on tongue, very rough. Grimacing. Huge activity in energy and lots of pungency in aroma. Frisson on ribs and not relaxing but instead alerting and jittery.
- Very strong stewed grapes and fruit salad aroma on the wet leaf. Some smoke but very clean. Decent ECA.
- Gaiwan lid interestingly has a sweet and farmyard aroma. Still very thick. High bitterness now. High-pitched fruity and some juiciness. Clean smoke, yellow plum, grapes. High astringency.
- Very high astringency. Bubbles, colour, sweetness at the end. Not brutal really, quite OK but very green.
- Consistent oily coat of mid-to-rear tongue.
- Very energizing. Green. Sencha. Very bitter.
Material is a mix of bright and dark green leaves, quite nice material, chopped but into large pieces (though the leaves are medium and small size). Definitely not red in processing, significantly greener than e.g. BYH. But it is not as green as e.g. EoT. The greenness is definitely more towards sencha or gyokuro than it is towards TW oolong. More grassy and hay like. There is a faint smoke-like note but it is not smoky, more like the smell of a clean burning coal, there is no substance to the smoke. Dark yellow. Thick texture past 8 steeps. Very pungent and strong huigan.
It is clear that there are some good qualities in this tea. Most surprising to me is the level of perfume pungency which I associate with young Yiwus. It is also obvious that the level of bitterness, greenness, and astringency is too high for pleasant drinking now. On the other hand I would not say it is more brutal than the stiffer teas pressed by e.g. W2T or YS etc. I even think Brutal is too strong a word for this tea.
2. Twelve months: March 2018
4.6g/85ml Novak shibo
Dry leaf is medium pungent sweet. Dry leaf has some greenness but it’s clearly not as green as usual 2017 productions. The wash is yellow-beige. There is a distant note of the char or smoke, but not quite smoke. The wet aroma is deeply sweet. No green or grass notes.
- Sweet and enjoyable liquor aroma. Very good salivation. 1st steep is extremely drinkable. Pungent after-aroma. Sweet aftertaste showing on the rear throat and sides of mouth. Very good gripping acidity on the sides. Medium to thick texture. Huigan is quite good.
- Some of the roasty/tar/acrid/smoke taste can be detected here on the arrival. Very small but it is there. I noticed it also, even fainter, on the 1203-7542. It may simply be the type of smoke that manifests on new Dayi productions and may age out. Look out for this. Sweet round ECA. Full sweet and briny-savoury taste. Front of mouth is well-coated and it is quite satisfying in intensity. Can feel power-heating starting. Perfume powdery resinous ECA. Minimal tannins thus far. Not very green at all.
- Can actually smell some of the char or smoke aroma off the liquor. Liquor pungency is much reduced. Very good texture. Sweetness and bitterness both increasing. Super powerful now. Drug-like uplift, intense. Frisson.
- Combination of bitter greens and sweet incense. More tannins now. Covering mouth with tannins. Briny. Now I can see some gyokuro coming out. Sweet and much salivation in aftertaste. The intensity of the plummy mouth-grip is significantly more than the 901 for example. Really strong blast of energy. Jittery and nervous.
- Still some cloudiness in liquor. Still quite sweet despite increasing astringency. Interesting that it has quite a lot of astringency but definitely not as much as 6 months ago — no grimacing.
- More greenness but also sweet still.
- Less colour, more bitter, astringency is medium high now. Heat and energy, caffeine high.
- Bitter, watery, needs a much longer steep now.
It’s difficult to rate this tea because it’s really not ready to drink now. But I’ll note down a few observations. First, it’s clear that the aggressive green grassiness and astringency of the tea has decreased even over the past 6 months. The positive aspects of the tea include a very strong resinous pungency, a good thick texture, and a quite good plummy acidity giving a nice gripping full flavour and overall sweetness. There is a very slight smoke-like acrid note which I don’t like but it’s probably going to age out – watch out for this. Also, it doesn’t have great longevity, which is to be expected. Also a good sign is that this tea has a strong energetic effect; the problem is that it’s untamed now and just too nervewracking. Also I didn’t detect any black tea notes whatsoever. If aging doesn’t dull the plumminess and the energy too much, I would guess this would be significantly better than the 901.
This tea is somewhere around 0.07$/g: I bought two cakes to use as reference cakes. Given that this is more expensive than the 2010 7542, which is apparently quite good (will review this soon), I think it’s difficult to say whether this tea is good value for money. I’ll be interested to see how it develops in a few years.