Up until today, I was under the impression that Dayi cakes were, at least, fairly good. Most are, to my tastes, really rather satisfying. Every now and again, there is a duffer (e.g., 0622), but never anything that I could actually describe as bad.
Ladies and gentlespoons, I give you the 2009 Dayi "69th Anniversary" cake.
It is not possible to discern the magnitude of this cake's suction from the wrapper, which looks innocuous.
By the time we turn out the dry leaves, we encounter a fragmented mess - but this is Dayi, after all. With its inclusion of huangpian [yellow flakes], it looks a little like the 70th anniversary cake from 2010.
However, this is where the similarity to Dayi cakes begins and ends.
The soup turns out a little orange (pictured below), in correspondence with the fraction of red leaves that may be found in the maocha. The scent is a little fishy, in the manner of Japanese greens, but there are several Menghai Tea Factory cakes that have this characteristic - some old.
This tea has the worryingly obvious characteristic of artificial agents at work in the mouth. The tongue and roof of the mouth are numbed, but not in the pleasant manner of gushu leaves; clearly, for the low price (currently approx. $60) this is taidicha. No, this numbness is aggressive, cloying, and very concerning. Pesticide, fertiliser - I know not what, but it is absolutely antagonising.
It is a "loose" tea, in that it feels rather empty in its heart. There is taidicha kuwei [plantation bitterness] in the finish, a basic sweetness above, and slow characteristics of fishy-beaniness below - but it is missing a solid centre. It seems that there is no base to this tea.
The numbing sensations feel aggressive, and artificial. This is not a great tea, nor even, in my opinion, a particularly good one.
I abandon this cake after just a few infusions, marvelling at the very existence of a Dayi cake that I genuinely dislike. This was sold by Dragon Teahouse, and so I have no reason to suspect that it is a fake, leading me to conclude that Dayi simply dropped the ball when it came to their 69th anniversary.