Peppery! Actually quite delicious despite the low end bottling. Horsey smell but no detectable barnyard taste. Warm but not fiery. There’s a sharp, greenish flavor here – this is pretty delightful.
Interestingly, this is neither Strong nor Light aroma, but ‘Phoenix Aroma’ – one of the smaller subcategories. The baijiu is fermented in mud pits, but aged rattan baskets sealed with beeswax and pigsblood(!). Here’s some useful info from a distributor’s site:
“Named after Xifengjiu, ‘West Phoenix Spirit’, from Fengxiang Country, Shanxi Province, phoenix aroma combines aspects of the strong and light aroma categories. It is distilled primarily from sorghum fermented in earthen pits with a wheat, barley and pea based Qu. Unlike strong-aroma baijiu, phoenix-aroma producers replace the mud lining its fermentation pits each year and employ a short ten-day fermentation period. Following distillation, phoenix-aroma baijiu is aged in the ‘seas of alcohol’: giant rattan baskets filled with cloth sacks hardened with vegetable oil, beeswax and pig’s blood. These baijius are notable for their fruity aromas, grainy tastes and expanding finishes.”