I’ve been trying some of the more expensive “high end” shus, particularly from YS, lately. First, my review of this one. It is definitely pretty good, but kind of uni-dimensional. The flavor is simple but soft and nice, with very little fermentation funk, and a musty note here and there. It reminds me of cola. Not very complex, but enjoyable for sure.

Now to the bigger picture. This flavor and quality profile seems pretty similar to other high end shus I’ve tried. They tend to be single-origin, as opposed to blended, which may add to the lack of complexity and depth. They tend to have less fermentation flavor, taste cleaner, and last longer than standard shus. If they were the same price as average shu, I might buy some here and there. But these prices simply do not reflect a similarly high level of flavor, even though I understand they are expensive because the leaf is expensive and usually reserved for sheng. I find these shus too soft for my tastes. These higher priced shus tend to be at least 2 to 4 times as expensive as good “regular” factory or house brand shus. Since I tend to leaf 10g or more per session every day, these are too costly in my book. I recently tried a high end Hai Lang Hao ripe and it was really good, albeit simple, but again, not good enough to justify the cost.

I may continue to sample these here and there, but I’ll take a YS house ripe any day. Lucy and Serendipity are especially good ones this year, I prefer them to expensive shu.

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