In my currently developing quest to drink every tea possible I can get my hands on sourced from Jingmai shan, I ordered a sample of Xizihao’s 2009 ‘Spirit Of Dian’ from Hou De. This past Sunday I had my third go around with this tea, where my love for it was undeniably confirmed.
The dry leaf presented a muddle of stone-fruit, floral and spring meadow aromatics to the nose, which carried effortlessly into the first broths, generously coating the mouth and initially leaving a faint cooling sensation at the middle of the tongue.
Throughout the session the tea gestured expressively within the mouth in waves and curls. The heaviness of peach and rose pushed at the hard palate, while a cluster of minor notes –including peony, almond, lily of the valley, lilac– filled the soft palate and emanated from the throat originating at the base of the neck.
The mouth developed a glossiness and fluctuated between an elegant drying to a notable increased salivation. Moving past 10 steeps the liquor left the mouth feeling crystalline. The lips felt coated in a light wax.
The sternum became increasingly warm, and gradually moved into the full torso and shoulders. The body felt flushed, feverish, absolutely sedated.
A faint toasted note lingered shadow-like in the last few steeps.
As I pulled the leaves from the pot I noticed how tightly rolled some of them still remained. I had taken this pot easily into the middle to late teens, and apparently they still had some distance to go.
I also discovered a guest observing from the bushes.
At this point, I was more than ready to buy a full 400g cake. What a drag to then discover as I logged on to the Hou De site that it was no longer available. Saddened by the thought that I may only be able to buy a further sample or two, I fired off an email in hopes that Hou De might have one still available that they are not listing. Only time will tell.
It would be unfortunate to not be able to live with a cake of this tea, and experience its aging at greater length. It seems to have a potential future trace of the Evening Fragrant Jade cake in its younger leaves.
Should anyone be able to give information on how to get a full cake, I would be greatly appreciative.