I used to think our friend Su kept her tea a little too dry for my taste. I felt that way until trying her 7542-208, supposedly a special production that contains higher quality (i.e., older tree) leaf.
The tea above neither looks nor smells traditionally stored, of course. Su doesn't run a wet storage facility. But it does look rather well aged for a 2002 tea, and the strong, sweet and woody aroma of the dry leaves foreshadows the deliciousness to come.
Bitterness appeared quickly, as did some smoke early on. Yet, the smoke and the aromatic woodiness of the tea reminded me of cedar planks, a trait I associate with Banzhang and some Pasha teas, a good sign that this might indeed have some older arbor leaves from those areas. It moved into more complexity, some "younger" floral notes floated above an almost leathery taste.
The aftertaste was thick and lasting, and the tea remained velvety soft in the mouth. Yesterday I drank this tea with a friend, and I used too much leaf, making some dryness appear early that later softened. The tea is potent enough that a little less leaf than normal might better highlight the complexity.
We drank probably 20 infusions of this tea before retiring for dinner, and it held up impressively.
As usual, many thanks to Su for providing a great experience. This was one of the best stored examples of early 2000s pu'er I've had the pleasure of tasting.