Sunday, April 10, 2011
1993 Menghai "7542"
One has been enjoying this sample purchased from Nada of Essence of Tea off and on throughout the winter. Today, on this blossoming spring day, the last of it is poured into a warm pot. But before it is relinquished to yixing the odour of the dry leaf is taken in deeply. It emits a smell of faint talcum and rose and faint fallen leaves. There is almost a lick of coco in the dominant, dusty, dry storage smell which is the most notable tone here.
The first infusion presents with rich maple velvet sweetness upfront which fades into dry wood cherry, perhaps maggony. This flavour is thick in the mouth and contains a certain tangy-sweetness which is mainly present in the inital burst of flavour. The whole evolution is vibrant and sweet. The aftertaste is malty that fades into wood notes and suggestions of coco. The mouthfeel is velvety and thick throughout and ends slightly dry and fuzzy especially the back of the tongue and cheeks.
After the first few cups the chaqi is immediately apparent with the forehead getting a bit clammy mild heat waves throughout the body from inwards to out, then back again, from down to up and back again.
The second infusion is prepared and a sweet malty-caramel creamy cherry and slight rose walnut burst flows into mahongany wood. The sweet taste is carried throughout leaving a slight woody menthol like taste on the breath. The mouth is still velvet, slight dry though, and thick as it starts reaching down into ones throat- pushing some saliva into one's mouth minutes later. The face flushes, a sign of the chaqi. The forehead gets soft and clammy, as does the mid-upper back, chest, and even upper arms as the qi flows in a wave undulating over one's body.
In the third infusion the initial sweetness has lessened and is more of a champhor, malty, more diffuse, sweet taste that works its way into a dry woody flavour. Dry hay and cereal notes are found in this pot but are less apparent than the malty-champhor tastes. The aftertaste is woody and dry with faint, barely there, caco notes floating in the distance. The mouthfeel is slightly dry and gripping and less velvety and smooth initally but gets replenished mintues later as fresh saliva coats the mouth. The warmth of the tea now migrates mainly to the head.
The fourth infusion presents with with some of those velvet malty-sweet wood notes but this infusion has cherry wood, camphor, and earth beetroot tastes. The sweet tastes bridge to wood and a slight menthol aftertaste is left in the breath and on the mouth. In the middle of all this are fruity notes that are not so strong but are noted along with a flash of spice which appears in this infusion as well. The mouthfeel is much of the same, it kind of cools the throat as the saliva retreats then returns again. The warmth makes its way to the lower extremities.
The fifth and sixth infusions share much of these delicious tastes. What is noted in these infusions is a more prominent, relatively fresh, cool camphor evergreen, grassy wood nuance that is sometimes a bit spicy and presents mainly in the aftertaste and returning sweetness. The middle of ones body is the receptor of warmth. It warms the stomach here rising to the upper portions of the body and trickling down to the lower thorax and lower limbs.
In the seventh and eight infusions the previously mentioned subtle woody spiciness also pops up in the initial tastes. The slight fresh cool everygreen-menthol returning taste is less apparent- in these infusions a coco taste is faintly recognized in the spice.
The ninth and tenth infusions present with a plumy sweet wood initial taste that transitions slowly and gradually into a modest wood flavour. Flashes of these very soft fruit notes peek out then vanish into sweetness. Floral notes are even spotted in this initial sweetness. The aftertaste is sweet and long in the mouth, all of it is under the umbrella of dry wood tastes. The mouthfeel has thinned only slightly.
In the eleventh infusion, the sweet almost creamy start flashes plumb and cherry and even a touch of almost greenish fresh tastes before fading gracefully into wood. The plum comes back with a subtle floral in the breath. The mouthfeel is dry with a returning soft moist feeling.
The twelfth infusion still has much to offer with light sweet fruity notes still quite prominent and a mouthfeel that still stims the mouth in much the same way it did at the beginning of the session but now it is much less rich. One runs out before this tea does and so it is put into a series of hours long and overnight steeps to pull all of its aged goodness out.
The tea is taken through four more infusions like this resulting in sweet distinct plum-florals in a cold but oily rich broth. The fifteenth infusion was of note where sweet strawberry notes had the backing of enough mouthfeel to be throughly enjoyed.