After a short of period of illness and exams, I'm back at last. It's good to drink tea again (something different from ginger "tea", which I drank amply). I finally reclaimed my seat where I can listen to music (Rachmaninoff's recordings of himself now) and drink tea. While it becomes increasingly obvious that I can not drink too much young sheng anymore, I like to drink something new from time to time. This Xinbanzhang is what I picked this time. It costs $65 which is still quite reasonable for a *banzhang.
The low sun makes tea on the tray more interesting... The photo below is set between the teapot and the little clay dragon whose feet form the dark area to the right.
The dry leaves smell a bit more interesting than most young sheng - definitely sweeter than most.The aroma of wet leaves changes quite a lot as the session progresses, but it is not something I'd particularly seek out.
The taste is very sweet, in a sugary way - the sugariness is rather powerful in the taste too. Certain vegetalness is present throughout the session, accompanied by a taste of "dark white cedar needles" - I guess that it's a bit more similar to needles of another tree, but it feels to me similar to that of white cedar. Other than these "main" tastes, there is slight potential for woodiness and exotic fruitiness. While the taste features I described are not among my most favourite ones, the taste is rather nice overall and lasts for a long time. It's not entirely unlike the good version of Dragon of Bulang from Longfeng I had.
When one drinks Bulang tea (and especially Banzhang/Man'E), there is the matter of bitterness. This tea is okay, in my opinion. It is not bitter at all at the beginning and becomes somehow bitter between 3rd and 7th steepings, but it did not prevent me from enjoying it. Astringency is rather low for this young tea.
The overall feeling in mouth is good, not only because of "proper" cooling, but it somewhat emphasizes the good length of the main taste and complements the (light) aftertaste nicely.
I wonder how is this tea going to age. It seems that it should be strong and good, in a way, but some Banzhangs (or Pashas) tend to age into a pleasant, tasting of "stone fruit" and moist dwarven bamboo (e..g. Gan En, Finepuer BZ, 2002 Pasha brick sold by Longfeng), while others age into a more woody tea (e.g. 2006 HLH or 2005 Douji BZs). I much prefer the former category; I am not really interested in the latter. This YS Xinbanzhang seems closer to the second category right now, but it seems like it could age into a tea of the first category. It's a pity I did not have any Banzhang of the first category when it was young, it would be interesting to see how much it had to transform to get to that pleasant stage.