177 Tasting Notes
Quick note on this one I bought this in May 2014 from Yunnan Sourcing drank it and never log it. I was moving my teas around today to rotate and found it so I decided to dive in.
Dry – Leaf has a darker hue than it used to, which makes me happy to see some aging going on. The scent is mellow tobacco, faint wood and bittersweet to sweet notes, nothing special.
Wet – The leaf are sort of choppy but not bad. The scent is very apparent (but not unpleasant) tobacco (maybe, just maybe some smoke), combined with very medicinal bitter/ bittersweet and even sweet notes.
Liquor – Amber and at times sort of cloudy.
The tea is very straight forward with bitter to bitter sweet tobacco and medicinal notes that linger in the middle and turn sweeter as it goes down. Something note worthy is that the body is very smooth and even has thickness to it, specially when considering usually teas like these tend to have a more astringent and lighter body; with that being said, some astringency is still here, but is not unpleasant. The huigan is sweet and lingers that develops a nice camphor. This tea is making me hungry to the point that I stopped drinking to cook something.
Hind sight is 20/20, for $14 back then (and now sold out) this was a tea to buy and store, it won’t become AMAZING, but it will sure turn nice if you like a more ‘traditional’ tobacco-like Bulang Puerh.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Medicinal, Sweet, Tobacco
Dry – Mushroom, faint tobacco (very faint hint of smoke), savory, soupy/broth like, bittersweet (still drying wood).
Wet – Tobacco with some smoke that dissipates in later infussions, that beefy mushroom scent, bitter and bittersweet drying wood, some bittersweet floral and a bitterswitch and rich dried fruit like tamarinds.
Liquor – Amber to a light caramel.
1st+2nd (10secs+6secs) – Brothy/soupy front with savory notes of mushrooms followed by a bittersweet and woody tobacco note. The liquor then becomes thick on the tongue and the sensation remains when it washes down maintaining that mushroom soup note. Once it goes down it becomes richer and sweeter with that tamarind hint and a refreshing camphor. The huigan is bittersweet and sweet that lingers.
3rd + 4th (6secs + 7secs) – Bitter to bittersweet woody tobacco notes combined with a floral bittersweet note (you can tell this used to be very pungent but time has mellowed it out), there some smoke to it, but it is mostly tobacco notes followed by the beefiness of the mushroom notes; brothy/soupy and filling. The middle is thick and warms my belly and when it starts washing down, it becomes sweeter again with refreshing camphor. Once it has left the mouth, some floral notes appear with a bittersweet huigan that lingers and becomes sweeter with time.
5th + 6th (8secs + 12secs) – Smoother up front, bitter and bittersweet notes, wood and tobacco followed by a more prominent floral bittersweet character that is somewhat medicinal too, almost chemical (believe it or not, a good way). The thickness is there, but not as noticeable, there’s a slight astringency and numbing sensation present. The brothy notes are faint, not so much beefy mushrooms, rather medicinal this time, but still pleasant. The huigan is nice and lingers. The broth is filling and warms my belly and yet refreshing in my mouth.
7th + 8th (20secs + 20secs) – Smoother and cleaner (a bit flat) up front and followed by a stronger floral bitterness than before, not thick, just lightly bodied that still satisfies. I’m still drinking this steep combination but I can see it is heading to the more floral+medicinal+woody and astringent side of things.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Mushrooms, Thick, Tobacco, Umami
Dry – Bittersweet richness but mostly juicy bittersweet and tart fruit notes and a dried fruit sweetness.
Wet – Bitter, bittersweet greener notes, sweet fruity notes (crips), thickness, honey and floral notes with some bitter sweet richness.
Liquor – Golden to amber
First steeps are Bitter, fruity-floral and sort of woody up front that develop a slightly drying sensation combined with good thick/olive oil sensation. The liquor becomes smoother going down transitioning to a sweeter dried fruit and floral note that lingers.
Initial mid steeps are initially bitter tobbacco(green) into a bittersweet fruity and floral that transitions to the thicker/oily and sweeter notes. The drying sensation is more astringent now, but it is still smooth as it goes down. The huigan is fast, sweet, fruity and floral that lingers.
Later mid steeps are initially bitter tobacco(green) but it takes a more medicinal side of the spectrum. The notes then transition to a bittersweet medicinal, fruity and floral notes with some of that oily sensation. The huigan is sweet with plenty of fruity and floral notes.
Final steeps are very similar than before but you can detect the medicinal and floral notes starting to fade first. Even when more notes have faded in later steeps you still get a good huigan, but by the 10-11th steep it might be too weak to say is still there.
Very good! I was surprised because even though I’ve had other thick bulangs, this one is more of a YiWu type thickness that olive oil note and sensation to it; I’m more used to a creamy sensation or that thick sensations that borderlines numbing. The tea holds good but balanced bitterness and the huigan lingers in the mouth and slightly on the throat.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green Wood, Honey, Medicinal, Olive Oil, Tobacco
2015 Teaclub Gourd 100g “Pound Cake” It is the same material so I decided to put it here. I also have a sample of the Pound Cake, I’ll sample that one and if it is different I’ll update with another note.
Dry – Assertive sweetness, thick/creamy, bittersweet notes, fruits.
Wet – Fruity, Honey, creamy, sweet-corn, tart-fruits, bitterness, floral, apricot.
Liquor – Pale yellow with a green tone >> gold
Initial Steeps Fruity front with notes of honey. Smooth liquor that wears sweet-corn notes followed a pleasant (but still young-edgy) bitterness, floral notes with hints of apricot and similar fruits moving to a vegetal and grassy notes and some astringency at the end. Within this first few steeps the bitterness wakes up and move in to the front with the sweetness taking a back seat to it.
Mid Steeps Bitter to bittersweet notes in the front that move to vegetal and slightly medicinal notes (reminds me faintly of Gua Feng Zhai medicinal-richness), rich and bitter middle with a good medium body with a huigan that lodges in the throat. The finish is sweeter but still maintains its apparent bitter notes. Slurping this one enhances all notes.
Final Steeps Rich bitterness that has greener notes of vegetables-grass, faint medicinal sweetness, honey, fruits and floral bitterness. The bitterness becomes the main note in later steeps with more astringency developing and going strong although it has grown a bit puckery and drying. Allowing it to rest is a very recommended must for a smoother steep. It also benefits from a good Yixing or Jian Shui pot.
Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Honey, Medicinal
Dry – Sweet, thick, creamy, red dried fruits, faint bitterness.
Wet – Thick, fruity, bittersweet, rich, burn-sugar sweet.
Liquor – Red-ish brown to a coffee-brown.
Initial Steeps 1-5 Are thick, creamy, bitter to bittersweet notes with apparent richness and full body. The liquor is thick and becomes smooth going down while turning sweeter, but retaining some of that rich bitter-sweetness. Hints of dried dark and red fruits in the sweetness that stays behind.
Mid Steeps 5-7 Still thick, though not as thick as the first few, it holds its ground pretty well with the similar notes of a Bitter to bittersweet front that has rich and tart notes, coating the tongue with a thick layer before transitioning into a sweeter and smoother note. The sweetness lingers in the tongue and throat if you allow time between steeps. Some minor astringency shows up at the end.
Final steeps 8-11 The first steep here still has some body to it, but this declines with each steep, thi is the collapsing portion of this tea (which is REALLY damn good for a shou). The steeps begin to get ‘cleaner’ with less body and even barely retaining any bitterness, just holds on to enought to not make it just sweet, this steeps are still pleasant and satisfying, but in a more juicy way than filling.
A very satisfying every day shou. I would recommend drinking this one next to W2Ts 2005 Bulang Maocha. Its not fair to do a 1:1 comparison due to age and possibly storage factors, but you can get an idea of how loose leaf/maocha vs compressed Puerh behaves in terms of taste. Both great shous to have in your collection.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Sweet, Thick
Dry – Bittersweet, slightly earthy, vanilla, cocoa beans rich bitter notes.
Wet – Bittersweet and sweet, dates, starch, cocoa bean bitterness, thick and dark fruits. Some fruity notes develops with some steeps.
Liquor – Red amber to very deep burgundy.
Initial steeps start sweet, quickly transitioning to bittersweet notes with good complex middle that wears vanilla, cocoa bean and dark fruit notes with a thick body and a pleasant smoothness as it washes down, it feels like it goes from a creamy thickness to a more silky (maybe lightly oily) mouth-feel. It has a good sweetness at the end with fruit notes and a slight camphor. Steeps 2-3 got more camphor at the end, not overwhelming just present and refreshing at the end.
Mid steeps (4-6 maybe 7) Are Bittersweet on the front that transitions to sweeter notes that resemble vanilla, molasses and warm sugar before giving hints of the cocoa bean notes, dried dark and red fruits with a thick middle body and maintaining that transition to a smoother, almost slippery sensation when going down. A refreshing sensation of camphor lingers with fruity sweetness.
Final steeps (7-9, some instances up to 10) The tea starts collapsing by the 6th steeps and sometimes by the 7th, requiring bigger time adjustments and giving you a watery steep in the middle of this transition. Once you adjust the tea recovers many of its characteristics including the bittersweet to sweet transition and a vague thickness sensation, but remains mostly smooth with sweeter notes of vanilla and dried dark and red fruits. At this point there’s a starchy note and sensation that can come from the small buds starting to fall apart a bit.
VERY good tea, it does have as much ‘chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’ as I initially expected, but it does have more complexity that most ripes, even some well outside its price range. I would drink as it is, but I can see this being really good if you store it in a container to ‘harvest’ some of those complex notes.
Flavors: Camphor, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Sweet, Vanilla
Dry – Sweet and bittersweet earthy notes, no real ‘off’ notes, some persimmon/other fruit.
Wet – Sweet and very thick with earthy notes followed by bitter/bittersweet ‘shou’ notes, molasses and dark fruits, somewhat starchy.
Liquor – Burgundy to a Red-ish coffee-brown.
The tea starts bitter/bittersweet with earth notes that wear some musk, but as a very apparent molasses note to it. It has some darker notes of raw cocoa/coffee in the middle that is a pleasant bitterness, medium body and hints of persimmon at the end.
The steeps evolve into a sweeter and less complex liquor that is still pleasant, and some of the after taste reminds me of drinking a strong sweet coffee such as Turkish coffee or something in those lines.
Very pleasant for the age, but it is very young still. I’d say for the age it has it is a strong 80/100, specially considering for the age there is not fermentation scent at all.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Sweet, Thick
Dry – Dark bittter and bittersweet notes, tart fruit and molasses.
Wet – Cocoa bittersweet notes, persimom, other dried tropical fruits, dates, raisins. (A slight floral hint/complexity devolops as you steep).
Liquor – Burgundy to a reddish-coffee.
Initial Steeps Are seet with a thick body and bittersweet chocolate note that turns cremier as it moves to the back of the tongue finishing in a fruity date note with molasses. These notes become more robust with each steep, from chocolate it is more of a cocoa note and even getting to the aromatic coffee side. Even though the front and middle seem thick and creamy the finish has a ‘juiciness’ to it.
Mid Steeps (3-5) The thick body takes the lead with apparent sweetness followed by bitter-to-bittersweet molasses and the cocoa notes seem to resemble cocoa dusting. It is hard to summarize the notes of several steeps because the bittersweet and sweet notes seem to switch around for the lead, the finish continues to be a juicier dates and molasses version of itself.
Final Steeps (6-9.. 10ish) Later steeps seem to maintain the playful notes with even more fruits becoming apparent, persimon, dates, raisins come to mind. The Liquor is still holding some thickness, but you can tell it is starting to give in. By the 8th steep it is mostly a juicy ripe with some hints of cocoa. The lack of thickness is filled by the camphor that before only was a ghost, possibly drowned by the initial thickness.
A very good ripe, specially for the price. The material is a little on the ‘ok’ side, with is not bad but it can be a bit different session to session. Some can have more of that cocoa, while some will be mostly fruity.
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Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Raisins, Thick
Dry – Honey, bittersweet notes of green stems or unripe tomato, hay, faint peach.
Wet – Thick, Honey, the fruity spectrum of cocoa, reduced orchard fruits (apples/pears… kinda), bitter green notes.
Liquor – Dull gold to Orange Gold.
Initial steeps Are bittersweet and have a somewhat savory base with apparent thickness. There are some warmed up white fruits/orchard fruit notes (poached pear?) and a darker-richer note that slightly resembles cocoa notes, there’s a pungency to it, but it feels hidden.
Mid steeps Steeps 3+ The leaves open up and the previous notes are still there, but feels more robust body that also has astringency developing. The initial notes are still bittersweet with a hint of something savory and moving on to sweeter and more complex notes, it sort of reminds me of some ManZhuan notes, that weird but very pleasant ’green’+ cocoa note. It is a mix of a green bitter note and the thicker richer bittersweet from cocoa.
Final Steeps It balances a bit more after a few more steeps, the body is still very good by the 6th steep, but you can tell it is thinning and developing a bit more astringency. Then at steeps 7-8th there’s a ‘collapse’ where the tea seems to only offer mostly bitterness and astringency.
Very good tea, this is definitely age well, it has good taste now, but it has that something that holds a bit of a promise, is not the astringency or the bitterness is a good balance between the two. I’ll rest it a bit more and re-try it in a few months to see in anything changes. No score now, but will update it as soon as I retry it.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Fruity, Green
Dry – Light bittersweet, faint persimmon (dried), dates, raisins, some mellow wood notes.
Wet – Apparent complexity with Molasses notes, vanilla, dates, raisins, coffee-cocoa bean, earthy/woody bittersweet.
Liquor – Burgundy – Brown.
Gong Fu on 130ml Gaiwan, 10gm of the good sample a good chunk of lightly pressed cake that came loose with the first of two flash rinses
1st Steep 3secs Thick, bitter, woody-earth notes, caramel, vanilla and then a slightly starchy note with hints of woody-pencil shavings scent, smooth in the middle while going down with hints of cocoa that is at the woody spectrum of cocoa.
2nd Steep 3secs Thick, bitter, woody and starchy, pencil shavings, a coffee-like/cocoa bitter note, followed by caramel and vanilla notes. A smooth middle with a refreshing sensation that develops. Smooth starchy and filling with a sweet finish.
3rd Steep 4secs Thick, bitter, woody and starchy, pencil shavings, coffee-cocoa notes (woody spectrum of cocoa bean), followed by caramel and vanilla notes, smooth body and lasting sweetness together with a slightly refreshing finish.
4th Steep 10secs Medium thickness, smoother, bittersweet, mellow woody-starchy note and a more forward vanilla and caramel note and faint cocoa note. The liquor is very smooth and pleasant, Cha Qi is present here and goes well with the camphor that is showing up a bit more.
5th Steep 25secs Medium to a weak thickness, bittersweet, mellow starchy and woody note with notes of vanilla/caramel and hints of cocoa. The camphor is more apparent now but the liquor feels thin in comparison, some minor astringency present, The liquor is also lost most of its initial color.
6th 40secs Thin liquor, some of the notes are still there, a lot more camphor and woody notes. There’s a good sweetness that lingers with hints of vanilla and even perhaps dried fruit.
7th 1m 20secs Watery… mostly sweet and refreshing.
This is a good tasting Shou with a nice thickness together with complex notes. However, it has a very… very short life. Longevity is the only downfall on this one, it is composed of only smaller leaf with gives it a very nice taste, but runs out of gas. I would recommend this one to people who are ok with 6 good steeps, 7-8th are usually watery.
Scott recommended brewing this on on a Yixing/Jian Shui for maintaining the high temperatures, which I also did, but at the most you get an ok 7th steep with a watery 8th. I would still recommend a try, the initial steeps are delicious.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Thick, Vanilla, Wood