1st impressions: Still pretty cloudy after 2 rinses. Smells like shu, vanilla, earth, wood, slight fruit. Taste: first thing I noticed was bitterness. Was not expecting that. Some vanilla and wood, but mainly the bitterness. Really unusual for shu in my experience. At least not with out it being advertised as a major selling point. I dig it.
Thoughts while drinking: Definitely a blend of both lighter and darker fermentation and from tippy buds to broad leaf and stems. Thin texture for shu, but that has been my experience with all bitter shus. The cloudiness clears out a bit after the third steep, but it also starts to lose power. It keeps that woody aroma with the infamous pencil shavings (virginia cedar) aroma developing as it brews out. The bitterness settles down a bit by the 4/5th steep (I stacked them) but remains the main appeal for me.
Overall, a nice cheap option for bitter shus. Not pure Lao Man E bitter bitter, but that same kind of bitter. The cedar notes really take over in the later half and the vanilla never really comes through in the taste. I dig this one. I hope the bitterness doesn’t fade too much with age as I’ll be buying a cake of this to throw in in storage.
Flavors: Bitter, Cedar, Earth, Mineral, Wet Wood