To take over the Kondô-wase cultivar from Mariko, this year again is this one from Osaka. Again, necessary precision, this is Osaka 小坂, in Suruga district of Shizuoka, not Ôsaka 大阪 the big city of western Japan. The characters, as the pronunciation are different.
In short, it is still a beautiful sencha, harvested manually on April 23rd. Kondô-wase, as Sôfû is an “inzatsu” type cultivar, crossing of Yabukita (mother) and Inzatsu 131 (father). Unlike Sôfû, which was developed as a research center, Kondô-wase was developed by a grower, which explains in part that it is not as “widespread” as Sôfû.
Perfume is very sweet, a little floral certainly, but evoke especially the sweet fruit candy drops!
The infusion gives more obvious floral aromas and is typical of this cultivar family. Both sweet and stimulating, these scents evoke a little lavender, while in the mouth, all is accompanied by a balanced umami. One feels a very slight astringency which comes to give body and impact to this tea.
It is actually on the 2nd infusion that the impression “flower and candy” is stronger, particularly present in the after-taste.
Nevertheless, on all the infusions, it is indeed a predominantly sweet aroma that prevails, but on each of the infusions, the impression is a little different, first we have this floral stimulating touch, then this more sweet floral and fruity impression, then the floral disappears in favor of the fruity. In the mouth, there is never much astringency. The umami is always present, with a certain restraint, and one can say that this sencha has a well-balanced and medium bodied liquor.
Again, the characteristics of the “inzatsu” cultivars are well recognizable, giving character to this sencha, but without being too “eccentric”. Thus, this Kondô-wase will please the greatest number.
Difficult not to enjoy it as a shincha, but it is very likely that it will get even better after a few months of maturation …
It remains difficult to comment on the Kondô-wase cultivar insofar as I know only this one and that of Mariko by M. Matsukawa, and that it is two of them may still be the only two, but I Thinks it is just as interesting as Sôfû, and would benefit from being exploited by more producers. Although of course its super early character is a quality but also a defect making it particularly sensitive to the vagaries of the weather.