Obtained a sample from the Pu’erh Plus TTB.
Used 3.4g. Gave the leaf two 5-second rinses and a rest for one minute. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 8, 12, 15, 30; 1 minute, 2, 5, 10, 20.
The dry leaf smells earthy and chocolatey sweet. Sitting in the pre-heated gaiwan really brought out the chocolate; it was very hot cocoa-like. The wet leaf, in contrast, smells of damp earth and fermentation (unexpected and displeasing, since the dry leaf aroma was so nice).
The soup color is dark orange. I taste bittersweet chocolate and fermentation in the first three cups, which are cloudy. It isn’t until the fourth that the soup finally clears. I thought the fermentation would eventually too, but it didn’t. It was present throughout the session. Instead, the bittersweet chocolate note disappears and is replaced by wood beginning with the fifth cup. These notes of fermentation and wood last until the leaf gives up. It isn’t unappealing – the kind that’s stinky, fishy, mushroom-like. It’s rather light and not off-putting. Overall, this is a lighter tasting/feeling shou.
In his review from three years ago, mrmopar wrote that this shou was probably meant to age more and that he’d check on it in five years. I think it has a couple more years to go. It seems like it needs more time.