Let’s start with a precision that would not be necessary in Japanese (and should not be, either in Western languages if transcripts rules were met), to avoid remarks and unwanted mails. I’m speaking about Osaka in Shizuoka, in the district of Suruga, not in Western Japan. Characters are 小坂, and O is short, unlike Ôsaka, in western Japan, which is written 大阪, and where O is long.
It is an unusual start for an article about my new Kondô-wase cultivar sencha from Osaka in Shizuoka, the second after that from Mariko. It is cultivated by Mr. Sano, and with Mr. Matsukawa from Mariko, I’m not sure there are many other producers to exploit this rare “Inzatsu” type cultivar.
If the one from Mariko was very green with subtle floral aromas, I this one, the “Kondô-wase” characteristics aromas are so much stronger.
An infusion of at least 80°C, as often with cultivars with strong scents, will wonderfully highlight the floral aromas so particular to this type of Inzatsu variety. On the first brew, its characteristic aromas are already present in the nose. It is difficult to define, floral and sweet, even more than Sôfû or Fuji-kaori, Kondô-wase has something very “sweet”, an impression very “pop” and “colorful”.
In the mouth this tea has a great presence thanks to these so unique aromas. Not aggressive so far, this sencha is velvety but not wimpy either. No astringency, mellowness that comes more from sweet flavors than from umami.
If subsequent infusions have less strong perfume, aromas remain extremely clear in the mouth, and in after-taste. It never becomes astringent. This tea is always refreshing, not heavy, but still rich.
For the first in Osaka for the Kondô-wase cultivar, the result is simply excellent. For lovers of beautiful fragrant futsumushi, unusual, this tea is a must-try.