1998 Lincang "CNNP Green Wrapper"
This is my first full review. I post this mostly to see what other people have experienced with this sheng, because I was surprised. I got a sample of this through Netsurfr, who got it from YSLLC (250g brick for $32.00 before shipping).
Scott notes that the tea uses a CNNP wrapper, but it's probably not a CNNP production. He guesses it's from the Lincang area, perhaps Mengku.
I brewed ~7g in a yixing pot that holds ~140mL (~5 oz) of water (all right after boiling). That's a little bit more than I would normally do, but I wanted to go a little heavy on my first run of this tea.
The dry leaves had a nice dark color and a very light odor. They were packed pretty solid, and it took more than a medium effort to break off a smaller piece.
I rinsed the leaves for 20s and then let them rest for 180s. I then had 10 infusions at 20, 20, 30, 30, 30, 50, 60, 60, 120, 180 seconds.
The aroma of the first infusion was exactly what I've come to expect from sheng. The color was a strong yellow with just a twinge of orange. The taste was what I would describe as a rounder raw sheng -- not overpowering, but that definite sheng taste.
The astringency kicked up around infusions 3-5 and then backed off. By the 6th infusion, the taste had mellowed -- it was still there, just not as much 'bite' as the first series. Infusions 7 to 10 were a nice tapering off of the flavor. The color drifted back toward a more solid yellow during this series.
The wet leaves showed what look like cut leaves. They were mostly a typical tea-green, but there was some browning of the leaves, maybe 20%. The leaves had a good odor during the infusions. I do recall them having a small bit of smokiness early on, but I never really tasted this in the tea itself.
So... I had to admit, this was not what I was expecting out of a 10 year old sheng. In fact, during my first infusion (and I noted this in the TeaDay thread), it reminded me an awful lot of the 2007 Xiaguan Tibetan Flame Brick, which is quite young in comparison (of course, I should re-try ths Xiaguan to be sure). This is the oldest sheng I've tried at this point, and I guess I was rather disappointed to discover that it wasn't really showing me anything I hadn't already tasted before. And now it's making me wonder what exactly I'm expecting out of an aged sheng.
Maybe it wasn't stored in the best way to help it age. And I'm sure some will say that 10 years isn't really that old. But again, if I can get a similar taste from a 1 year old brick at 1/8th the cost as a 10 year old brick... ahhh... huh.
I would most certainly welcome thoughts... thanks for reading