At first when I opened the package and took a whiff, I thought “okay, another unremarkable refill for my dianghong gong fu tin”. I kinda chuckle thinking back to that first impression now.
This tea brews an impressively dark, bold, rich and full bodied liquor that is incredibly smooth and mellow. How smooth? Like a glass of warmed Remy Martin XO (not quite a Louis XIII), half-way through the swallowing process it actually vanishes from your mouth. Really that smooth and zero astringency, to the point where I felt like I was swallowing liquid aromatic air as it washed down the back of the mouth.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have strong flavor or aromas. No grass or straw, Palais des Thes says truffles, but I would characterize it more like cocoa-leather. Absolutely as smooth as can be, this is better than many jinya dianhongs I’ve tried before. This is something I will be restocking for sure.
Here’s the bonus. For a black tea it has incredible patience. The second western-style steeping was just as good, rich, and full bodied as the first, no joke. A third started to even reveal some toasted wood and apple tree bark, but I stopped there because I could feel some astringency appearing in the third infusion. If you like the apple/cider/woody side, I have found some short 45-60 second infusions with a higher leaf-water ratio works well to accentuate those, but I love the rich/dark/smooth brew so I just keep doing it that way.
Flavors: Cedar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Leather, Mushrooms, Tobacco, Wood