Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Whispering Pines Tea: Moonlight Sonata, Two Years Later

My white tea compartment of my tea sorting station (I say station, really it is just four stacking drawer sorters stacked on each other) is full of forbidden treasures that I am not allowed to binge drink. They are forbidden because they are aging, aged white tea being one of my favorite things, but this has the sad side effect of me stuffing things in that drawer and then forgetting about them. One of those teas is Whispering Pines Tea's Moonlight Sonata, a tea I reviewed a little over two years ago. I promised I would put some aside and then come back to it later and surprisingly I did!

From the moment I unwrap I can see the ravages of time, the cake is darker and somewhat crumbly compared to what it was. When I first popped one of these cakes the tea needed my pu-knife to break bits off, this time I could just pull it off, which was good since my knife is currently packed up and I did not want to go rooting around for it. The aroma is still very familiar, notes of dill and apricot, sugarcane, and hay. It is a little diminished but still super recognizable as Moonlight Sonata.

Steeped the leaves are stronger, very juicy apricot and strong dill with undertones of aster, straw, and sugarcane. The snow chrysanthemums seem to have gotten stronger over time and I find that amusing. The liquid smells of faint dill flowers and a very juicy, fresh nectarine. The resemblance to nectarine is a little uncanny!

Age has been interesting to this tea, looking back at my first review, the first steep was immensely intense and very dark in color, this one is lighter in color and taste. It is cooling and gently sweet with notes of nectarine and sugarcane with a bit of hay and a tiny touch of dill. The mouthfeel is smooth and slippery with a touch of dry at the finish. I admit I have no experience with how Moonlight White is supposed to age, I have only had it fresh and it never really lasts long, so maybe this is normal?

Later steeps are stronger and darker orange, however things are starting to get interesting. Instead of tasting like a floral and somewhat grassy Moonlight White, it is starting to taste like a gentle malty and chocolate Dianhong. Also it was not just the first steep, the qi has gone from very warming to frigid, which I admit is a little weird with its vibrant warm color. Towards the end of each sip, strong notes of nectarine and honey appear and leaves a long lasting aftertaste with a bit of a brisk mouthfeel finish.

I am not sure how I feel about this tea having aged, part of me is curious to see if I let it age even more if it becomes even more Dianhong like, and the other part of me wants to drink it all now to retain the bit of Moonlight goodness. Also I am slightly worried about the Snow Chrysanthemum, I know from experience that they don't last more than a couple years, so there is that to keep in mind too. Maybe I will keep a little aside and revisit this tea again in a couple years!

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