Nanmei Special Blend from Olivier Schneider
This cake is from a small batch of blended old tree Nanmei by Olivier Schneider. Earlier I tried samples of individual years 2014-2017 and I believe this cake is a blend made from 2014-2017. The dry material looks superb, dark and silvery leaves, very nicely made cake. The dry aroma is resinous and faintly sweet.
This tasting turned out to be a spectacularly good one, and it was enhanced even further by my choice of music for the occasion: Vergers by Sarah Davachi. Davachi is a remarkable sound artist who is able to capture the liminal space between the unconscious and conscious mind, where I think this tea also operates. Olivier and Sarah, you need to collaborate.
As I write this, about two hours after I started this session, energy and heat are still moving about my body, waves of frisson and heat moving to ears, the hands, the legs. It began with a sinking line of heat into the pit of the stomach and radiated outward from there.
This session was 5.7g in a 100ml gaiwan, water boiled in glass.
Wash is extremely light, no ECA. Clean wet leaf, vine, roasty.
- First steep is extremely mild in taste, almost none. But thick, very much so. Wonderful small uplift of energy a few moments after drinking. Subtle ECA perfume.
- Thick. Heating. Very subtle flavour, deep central heat column. Pit of stomach. Sweet aftertaste and depth in throat. Excellent emergent aroma. Amazing
- Very slight roasty notes. Oily notes now. Oily brine. Chest, jaw, face tingling, frisson. Very comforting and inspiring. Complex taste. Remarkable aftertaste. Whole body frisson. Hands. Subtle ECA, resin.
- Thick. Sweetness is there from development to late aftertaste. Remarkable sustained heat streaming. The body effect is not subtle, it is quite profound. Powerful. Taste is bitter up to a threshold where it turns to sweetness which lasts.
- Starting to have more greenness now. Strength continues. Sweet aftertaste. Remarkable flowing energy. Time slowing effect, like being in a film, 1st person view. Long breaths are wonderful.
This tea is remarkable, going beyond the samples I tried in my previous review. I didn’t detect any spicy storage notes and there was very little roastiness, so that I would say it has one of the best storage and processing profiles I’ve had for this age of tea, comparable say to the 2015 BYH Lishan Gongcha (as in the samples, the processing reminds me a lot of the Wuweisanfang and the Biyun Hao style, the material is similarly excellent, but this is a different regional style). As in my earlier review, it strikes me as a particularly great example of old tree material and accompanying processing, with a very subtle and gentle beginning and a gradual increase to a beautiful body effect with ultra low astringency and beautiful oily bittersweet taste. It is particularly strong in converting bitter to sweet and in the depth of the throat activity. And the body effect is quite spectacular indeed. I am sure that there so much going on with this tea that I have only scratched the surface.