3 Tasting Notes
As far as aged oolongs go, this one takes the cake. Aged oolongs are definitely in my top two favorite categories of tea right up there with high quality aged sheng (raw) puerh. This tea belongs in the category of aged oolongs that were only roasted once during production and then left to age untouched for over 50 years as it should be because if a tea is roasted correctly it only needs to be roasted once prior to aging. This tea blew my mind when I first tasted a sample of it. As soon as you put your nose in the bag to smell the dry leaf, you immediately get a musty, ginger/ginseng like spice, slightly plummy, strong chinese medicine scent. However, as soon as you rinse the leaves for the comparison of dry leaf vs. wet leaf, “the aroma is a delicious must of an ancient basement carved out of rough earth and sanctified with old incense. There is a warm monkish simplicity to the liquor and a civilized sweetness that highlights the wild nature of the leaf.” This is by far the highest quality and best stored aged oolong I have ever tried.
This is one of the greatest examples of wet stored (HK) puerh that I have ever tried. There are many different characteristics of this tea that make it one of the best such as the aged plummy taste, extremely thick and gluelike mouthfeel, Hui Gan (after-sweetness), and of course the Cha Qi is very strong and balanced. However, one of my personal favorite characteristics of this tea is what’s called the granny face powder taste (MTR owner’s own term I believe) which reminds some of talcum powder and is a sign that you are drinking an antique of a puerh that is of the highest quality!
I have been studying and researching different aged puerhs to see the effect storage type has on the tea and through my experience any aged puerh tea that has white specks of puerh mold which is called aspergillus like this Tuo Cha does means that it is almost impossible for it to be dry stored. You see, a good quality wet stored puerh tea might have a very small amount of these white specks because of the humidity in the air during wet storage and they should not take up a large surface area of the cake or tuo cha for if they do it usually represents that it was stored not only wet but too wet. So basically since this Xia Guan Tuo Cha is almost completely covered with white aspergillus specks I would have to say that the claim of it being dry stored would have to be a fallacy as it is more likely EXTREMELY WET STORED. This is not just my opinion either as I had a sample of this tea with me when I went to visit one of the most well known Chinese tea authorities in the U.S. and when I brought it out to show it to him and the rest of the tea enthusiasts they refused to even put their nose up to the tuo cha to smell it for fear of breathing in the vast amount of mold on it. I am not saying this is the vendor’s fault as they were probably told this was dry stored but i just wanted to state what I have found through research and experience now that I understand puerh much better than I did when I first bought it.