I find that Hai Lan Hao’s ripe teas are often atypical and this one fits that. It is a very high quality tea with no weak points and I am contemplating buying the 1kg brick, even though that’s a lot of tea and it’s not cheap.
The aromas of this shou are not super strong, but it has a nice sweet fruity smell of dark cherries and red wine. The taste is great though, it has a bitterness that I am often missing in other ripe pu’er teas, and a sweet finish. The profile is somewhat medicinal and metallic with notes of black currant leaves, coffee, malt, and dark chocolate. In later infusions, the bitterness tends to fade and higher notes emerge. The character changes to more savoury one with a strong walnut flavour. The taste remains interesting until the end of the session as it doesn’t become too flat.
Another memorable aspect of the tea is its strong and evolving aftertaste. I am going to just scratch the surface of its complexity by mentioning some associations like bread crust, cinnamon, honey, butter, okra, and raspberry. It changes a lot, has a nice camphor feel in the throat and a very long-lasting sweetness. There is also an interesting sourness to it that I cannot associate to anything I am familiar with.
As is often the case with higher end shou, the mouthfeel is awesome too. It is thick (like REALLY thick) and creamy, numbing, and at times a little chalky and foamy. I find it to be on the harder side, as opposed to being velvety or smooth. Late infusions have more of a buttery texture to them. The cha qi is not not too overpowering, but I can feel it in my whole body. It makes me feel light headed and relaxed with somewhat delayed reactions.
Music pairing: https://januszjurga.bandcamp.com/album/hypnowald
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Black Currant, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coffee, Creamy, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Medicinal, Metallic, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Red Wine, Spices, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetables, Walnut