Monday, December 12, 2011
2009? Wild Lapsong Souchong
Zhengshan Xiaozhong (aka Lapsong Souchong) is one of only a handful of teas that can improve with age although most outlets that sell this tea don't age it. The lack of aged lapsong in the market likely indicates the use of artificial smoking or poor production techniques. This sample was gifted by Pedro of Dao tea, he aquired it from the owner and highly recommended I try it. It is from an online store called Wild Qi Tea where the site claims that it is 2/3 years aged.
Lapson Souchong has an abundantly warm thermal nature. Although all hong cha has qi that is warming, lapsong's heat is even more warming. This is because it takes on the essence of fire as it is smoked with pine during its production. One of the reasons why this tea is aged is to remove some of the smokiness and bring its energy into a more harmonious state.
Very sweet smooth grape smelling odours emit from these very small tippy mixed black and gold dry leaves- not the typical zhengshan xiaozhong leaves one remembers. Its been a while. A wood pine chalkiness welcomes then slowly transforms into sweet caramel transferring back to subtle smokey wood in the mouth. The transition between these tastes is slow and smooth, the mouthfeel full, wide, and chalky.
The second infusion starts with a sweet, open-watery taste which is filled with caramel then slowly fills the mouth with pine woody notes as the chalky mouthfeel slowly encroaches on the edges of the mouth. The aftertaste has a strong cooling undertone that is noticed with each in-breath. The chest heats up like an oven and the head feels light, the mind and eyes clear, and then focus ensues.
The third infusion starts with a taste that is less sweet and has a longer blank-empty-watery taste with each resulting infusion. The wood pine note is noticed under the whole profile. The aftertaste here is woody and more dry in the mouth. It has subtle hints of soft, smoky currents and is still quite cooling.
The fourth infusion has an even longer empty dry wood pine taste which slowly encroaches upon this emptiness. Sweet woody-gummy-grape aftertaste comes out in the aftertaste which still carries a coolness- the subtle smoky pine base is present throughout. The qi seems to heat the chest, heart, and imparts coolness to the head and limbs. The stomach and digestive organs are energized and softly vibrate. The fifth infusion is much the same but is considerably weaker.
The sixth and following infusions are reduced to dry wood and soft fruit. It is enjoyed like this for a few more pots.