2005 Chenyuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi
Thank you to Pedro for this tea, which has turned out to be one of my favourite teas from Chenyuan Hao. From the image below, you can see the tea is a blend, and indeed it has components from Yiwu, Mansa, Manzhuang, Youle, Gedeng and Yibang. The combination of strong energy, which I have gotten from several CYH teas, and full dense complex flavour, which is often “lacking” in single-origin productions, really brings this tea over the top for me.
After arriving from Taiwan, I let the tea heat up in the hotbox for a week or so before breaking into the cake. The dry leaf had an old book aspect, not musty, no geosmin, totally clean, natural, woody, aroma.
- Bittersweet. Thick. Clearing the neck. Rear throat fullness quite striking.
- Dense orange. Thick. Juicy aftertaste.
- Thick, pure style, refined style. Dense taste. Very nice storage, none of the minty storage taste, no geosmin, no black tea taste (which I often gripe about with CYH) and only the tiniest wisp of a rose incense taste, basically perfect storage in my book.
- Building intensity. Heat in the face. Full mouthcoat. Long aftertaste. Deep breathing. Very pleasant frisson and warmth throughout body.
- More aged profile, very strong heating in the chest, back, arms and hands. Whole body warmth. Calm alertness. Clarity vision.
- Dark character, more like mid-aged Manzhuan, not like the CYH SPH, more like the CYH Manzhuan. Superb sweet and briny edge to the taste. Face frisson
- Some bitterness and sweetness. Almost no resinous aroma on the empty cup.
- Continues to be excellent. Some incense ash in the empty cup, but not pungent, not resinous. More like Bhutanese sweet incense ash.
This is still an early impression, but this tea really wowed me. It’s like the very best of the Yangqing Hao teas but without any intrusive storage notes, more activity, more bitterness, and more complexity in the taste. Very dense taste, which maintains its interest as the blend progresses in the steeps. I was particularly happy with the bittersweet arrival with oily sweet-briny edges in the flavour. The energy is very pleasant, with expansive full-body heating and flow, but not overwhelming and it doesn’t seem to give everything up in the first couple of steeps. Taiwan storage has been very good indeed in this case, and it seems to have plenty of strength to carry it forward in time. I did notice that it lacks resinous content however, the empty cup aroma was drier and not pungent in my initial sessions. Also it has very low astringency in comparison to the bitterness. I am not sure what this indicates but it will be interesting to observe how it evolves.