That’s the first great surprise of this 2016 season, a sencha from Mariko by Matsukawa Yôhei, already on Thés du Japon with its Kondô-wase but here in quite a different register with the Kanaya-Midori cultivar.
Kanaya-midori is known for its milky fragrance, but I must admit that it’s not always easy to recognize clearly this particular flavor. This is why this Kanaya-midori from Mariko is very nice; from the first brew the fragrance is incredible milky and sweet like condensed milk.
The fragrance of dry leaves, rich, evoking a very sweet fruit, a little milk, was already promising, but the scent that emerges when pouring is really surprising, a first for me (a reduction fired teapot longer clearly shows that fragrance). For the first time I understand very clearly that “milky scent” of Kanaya-midori.
In the mouth, the liquor is tonic and powerful, full, it may even be a bit of astringency depending on brewing time. If umami is not immediately present, after-taste is very intense, but soft and fresh, complex.
When cooling a little, we recognize a little vegetable scent, subtly floral.
These greener tastes appear more strongly with the following brews, with notes of anise, thyme, and fennel. The sweetness of milk merges with that of floral. This complexity is also very subtle; it is a tea that deserves attention in order to not miss its complexity in the mouth, the power of the after-taste.
A third infusion gives a more astringent liquor, but with still variety of fragrances and flavors, more tenuous, and a length always strong and sweet in mouth, where milky and floral aromas seem to get back.
In short, this sencha is excellent. Also it explains perfectly the characteristics of Kanaya-midori cultivar, really unique features that make me reevaluate this cultivar, much more exceptional than I had imagined before.
I do not like saying this but this is a great cost-performance Japanese tea. A tiny lot, I took everything.