I received quite a few samples from Fox a while back and only now am getting to them. My apologies.
School is hectic.
This tea is a NanJian produced pu'erh; 2009 Qiao Mu Xiao.
It is comprised of spring plucked leaves, and the cake was purchased by Fox from Yunnan Sourcing.
The dry leaf smells grassy with undertones of tobacco and spice (pepper). There is a healthy mix of buds, stems, and small leaves. This tea is definitely not wild arbor maocha.
The liquor produces an aroma reminiscent of tobacco, honey, pine and some earthy qualities to it.
fresh pine, floral aspects, and a wonderful savory quality.
There is a biting astringency that hits once the liquid is consumed. It leaves behind a chalky texture and camphor.
The following infusions showed the real tea. There was an unpleasing bitterness even at 5 second brews. This maocha most likely was plantation, although the producers could have toned the mix down a bit.
After about 7 infusions the tea became fairly good again. I am not sure if it was me that was causing the bitterness, or the tea itself.
I do know that sheng pu is supposed to have some bitterness to it, but not that much.
This tea would do well with age I believe. The coarser, rough tasting leaves would tone down a bit and become more subdued. I still have a lot of the sample left, so I shall keep experimenting with it to see if I can't get some good brews.
Fox's opinion here.
Tea History 101: What Is Smouch?
1 day ago