When the sun goes down in November, the cold penetrates to the bone. No better tea to banish the chill and flood the body with warmth than a good aged tea. Feeling grateful for a lot of luxuries right now.
An aged tea does not usually beckon one to admire the leaf. Here, the leaf is surprisingly large and in tact. It looks well processed and cared for. Nor does an aged tea usually beckon one to admire the leaf aromas. When dry, it smells like a powdery soft vanilla root beer, soy sauce, BBQ and wintergreen. Warming brings hard and dark wooden furniture. Rinsing brings back the root beer and wintergreen, now with earth-encrusted tree roots and petrichor, a general TCM feeling, tobacco and bread dough.
The liquor has a surprisingly strong wintergreen and BBQ pork aroma. The aged taste, less concentrated than the leaf aromas, begins with straw, wintergreen, campfire and a hint of butter, transitioning to a clean and crisp wintergreen woody tobacco root beer. I’ve never had birch beer but it makes me wonder if this is close. A slight cherry bark undertone comes into play.
The mouthfeel is generally smooth and mineral with some moments of juiciness followed by an alkaline impression in the back of the mouth. A little bit drying, some tingling of the salivary glands. The overall feeling, especially in the mouth and throat, is warming/cooling, much like the pervasive wintergreen character.
I read from both of the other reviewers that this tea is rather energizing, however those experiences were from 7 and 5 years ago, so maybe some of the caffeine has degraded with time. I was acting goofy and singing stupid songs to my cat (she’s almost 21!) and an imaginary crowd before sitting down with this tea; now I feel warm and relaxed, quieted. Bedtime is when I realize I’ve had a strong tea too late in the evening. If that’s the case, thankfully it’s Saturday.
White Antlers — your presence is missed. Thanks for passing this one on.
Flavors: Alkaline, Bark, Bread Dough, Campfire, Cherry, Dark Wood, Drying, Earth, Grilled Food, Mineral, Root Beer, Roots, Salt, Smooth, Soy Sauce, Straw, Tobacco, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Vanilla, Wintergreen, Woody