2003 Jin Dayi
With the passing of the New Year (and my cold), my first post of 2013 will be from a session that happened several months ago, thanks to the generous Apache. A session with this cake is indeed towards the higher end of the generosity spectrum, as 2003 Jin Dayi [Gold] is over USD 300 per 357 gram cake, making it a rather dear session.
The dry leaves are a dark umber color and throw off a strong aged smell.
A quick rinse bumps up the aged smell. The first steep has a distant touch of astringency, which is quickly gone.
The early brews are deep in color. Whether this is do to heavy handed steeping by yours truly or due to camera magic, I am not sure. The second photo is more representative of the accurate soup color.
Pine sap wafted off of the gaiwan early in the session. The brew was tannic on the sides on the sides of the throat, with a quick huigan [sweet afterglow]. My mouth was quickly dried out after each sip, followed by a flood from my salivary glands. I noted that I did not feel the kuwei [pleasant bitterness] was very strong, until I gave a friend a sip. They had been absent from the first five brews and upon drinking the sixth steep, they exclaimed ,”Man, this is bitter!”
I had noticed a sharp increase in the huigan around the third steep, but the kuwei crept up slowly across the session. I was the proverbial frog in a pot, who failed to realize the water (kuwei) was was slowly climbing to a boil.
There was a gooey presence in the throat throughout, which is something I treasure. My last scribble for the session was that I had an oversteep that evening and noted:
I failed to notice how bitter this was in the morning session
A question that several people have discussed with me is whether this tea and the 2011 Jin Dayi will follow a similar trajectory. I can not really weigh in on this issue with any accuracy, since the first time I tried the 2003 Jindayi was after it had been aged a decade. What I can attest to is the strength and enjoyment I had in both sessions. The teas are different, but their similarities are in their body. The price of both is a little off putting, but the 2011 Jin Dayi is at least in the range of most drinkers.