The nepalese oolong was interesting, but low grade and probably not very fresh. There's more oolong to it than Adagio's darjeeling oolong; some honey flavor and sultry flower aroma peeked out from time to time. Overwhelmingly the tea tasted of muscatel, and phyll's observation proved accurate: more like a good second-flush darjeeling than an oolong. My opinion is that it would do well brewed british or iced, and when I visited the vendor's website after I left, I discovered similar feelings in the product description. We drank this tea fast, and I looked forward to the da hong pao, only recently having come to like it through exposure to better DHP.
The da hong pao fell in a similar vein to the one phyll and I tasted with marshaln; the flavors were gentle, orchidy, buttery, but with a nice roasty aroma. The roast only briefly appeared in the flavor, possibly because of cooling water. Phyll left some of this behind for me, and I may take it with me to try with marshaln to get his opinion.
But, on to the Changtai. This cake is remarkably aged for only two years--my guess is they were stored in humid climates. The leaves are very dark, even after brewing, and they seductively smell sweet when dry. The age doesn't come out in the flavor until infusion 5 or 6; before this, the tea is very astringent with bamboo wood/hay dominating. At 5 or 6 the age emerges as sweetness at the back of the throat and a lingering sweet aroma. Around infusion 7 and 8 it reverts back to hay, but with a buttery aroma. Even though the qi is strong, there's not much "kick" to speak of in the flavor. I had to overbrew it to get the usual bitterness and strong bite that I enjoy.
When I mentioned my thoughts on this to Andrew, he asked if I'd ever had a young Yiwu with a bite. I think he intended the question open-ended and rhetorically, but it did strike a chord--I haven't, and it seems Yiwu has strong qi but milder uncomplicated flavors, at least from the few Yiwus i've tasted so far. That the aroma off the dry leaf foreshadows that it will turn into the flavors found in the 1997 Xizihao is rather remarkable. I can see why those who drink this tea young and then drink the same tea aged might be really impressed at how it ages.
I haven't made up my mind about the Changtai; young Yiwu isn't often my cup of tea, but I know I like it aged. My biggest issue with this cake was the one-dimensionality of the flavors and no kick, but the wood and hay notes are sufficiently strong, and the aroma of the leaf sufficiently and impressively sweet. I'd like to try this tea again with better water. Thankfully, phyll left some of it with me, so I'll have that chance, perhaps when in Beijing with