Once upon a time...a long time ago...
...I was consistently drinking http://www.specialteas.com/ #509 Royal Golden Yunnan. It was a favorite until, at some point, it ceased to live up to past lots. I meandered down the path to In Pursuit of Tea's Royal Yunnan which kept my attention through 2005 until it, too, veered from previous performance in January of 2006. As of March 2006, it was still not back in old form. And so I had meandered back to Silk Road Teas Yunnan Gold High Grade which has been a mercurial experience over the years--at times quite good, other times not as good as the price warranted. Currently, it's drinking more in the style of IPOT's 2005 Royal Yunnan, with that "Woodwosian" fruity-woody profile, a different profile from other Yunnan teas that I have come across. It's a rustic sort of Yunnan experience that just says "dark forest" to me.
A fellow Yunnan lover recently posted (on a tea list) about his current experience with SpecialTeas #509 Royal Golden Yunnan, and so I meandered back for two ounces of this tea to test the mocha waters. Yunnan is a favorite tea of mine that I follow like the crocodile followed Captain Hook from "sea to sea, land to land." I confess to being rather fickle when it comes to my Yunnan. I'll say good-bye rather quickly to one vendor's source if another vendor has one that I prefer.
The current lot of #509 is not in the ballpark of my favorite IPOT "Woodwose" Yunnan, but it is performing rather decently at less cost than some. It has a very aromatic profile, one that focuses on those maple-y notes. The aroma profile is in that mocha range. The maple sweetness meanders into the cup against the controlled earth notes. Light cocoa. This isn't an aggressive smoky or leathery Yunnan, nor is it in the savory or highly malty category. Not as complex as some I've had in times past, but the balance of maple/earth is pleasing. There's even a light floral note finds its way into the finish. This is less pricey than the aforementioned Silk Road Teas Yunnan Gold High Grade, and I can see myself gravitating toward this #509 as a daily drinking type Yunnan.
I don't expect to live happily ever after with any vendor's golden Yunnan. This is, as previously noted, a quest that winds ever on and on.