The cake is very pungent. In the most delicious sense of the word. The astringency of the tea is tempered by a hard-to-describe sort of almost sourness. I haven't eaten sticky rice in a few years, so I don't remember the smell, but I am assured by the internet that this indeed the smell I am struggling to describe.
This aroma is apparently imparted by an herb
"There exists an herb in China’s Yunnan Province who’s aroma closely resembles that of sticky glutinous rice. “Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye” translates to “Sweet Rice Tender Leaves.” This tea in maocha form, is left for months in close contact with Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye leaves until the tea leaves take on the scent of the herb. [...] Once steeped, the tea emits a sweet aroma identical to that of fresh sticky rice. The liquor is very brothy and resembles genmaicha in color and taste." -thanks to worldoftea.org
I'm blogging "live" this time, instead of after as I usually do. As the tea is steeping, I'm getting a beautiful scent from the liquor that really does smell just like rice. I've heard it said that glutinous rice puerh is a good subsitute/alternative for gen mai cha, but so far, the aroma is really not that similar. There's no distinctive roasted smell and it seems like it will be much sweeter. Let's try it. Here goes:
Delicious! Very smooth. A slight ricey flavor lingers on the back of the tongue.