I love the sweet, fragrant, zesty nature of this tea coupled with a fascinating mouthfeel and a subtly powerful qi. She is now almost 9 years old. Due to being aged in loose leaf form, she has already taken on a distinctly aged character. However, through what seems like fairly dry conditions (for Yunnan standards), the tea still has a long arch of development ahead of her. Moreover, there is a very apparent crisp freshness and bitterness present that I really enjoy.
Aroma is sweet and reminds me of forests and compost. The rinse is citrusy with a honey note – a pairing that reappears throughout the session. There is a nice bitterness already in the next steep. Later infusions also taste of pear, thyme flowers, fern, musk, green wood, star anise and many other flavours – too many to approximate what the experience is like in words. The taste is well-balanced, with sweet, sour, savoury and bitter flavours mixed up in various combinations. At the height of the steeping progression, there is some astringency too, and the session’s end bring more fruity and woody notes to the forefront.
Further flavours are to be found in the fragrant, cooling and expansive aftertaste, such as those of pinecones, lime leaves, butter, as well as a sort of vegetal spiciness. One interesting aspect is how the distinction between taste and aftertaste is blurred. This is mostly due to the fascinating mouthfeel, in particular its distorted, time-delocalized nature. Additionally, the texture of the liquor is thick, but also very tender.
The cha qi is blissful, Xiao Xi Gui envelops you with her radiating energy to the core of your being and dissolves time. She does so in a deliberate and tender way, however, this is the opposite of an onslaught.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Citrus, Citrus Fruits, Citrus Zest, Compost, Dry Leaves, Floral, Flowers, Forest Floor, Fruity, Green Wood, Honey, Lime, Mineral, Musk, Pear, Pine, Spicy, Star Anise, Sweet, Thick, Thyme, Vegetal, Wood