57 Tasting Notes
You know those schoolyard bullies who you couldn’t avoid because they made a point of seeking you out? All the rough treatment you took? How you thought those days were behind you? Then you started drinking puerh and the abuse started all over again. No not with every encounter, but on more than one occasion you were bullied. There were the quaint bullies who you forgot about and then there were the bad-ass ones that you tried to forget.
I took about 8.5g and placed in 150ml gaiwan. I gave it a m rinse as it’s an iron cake. First infusion 20s light unremarkable. 2nd 15s uufff. 3 flash oohh. This is the stuff I consistently tasted in KM, stuff people drink like water. A previous sample had been US stored for a while, while this is basically KM stored, a bit ceramic stored for a year in about 68% LA weather. A gut buster. Color is already solid gold. 4th flash floral, astringency feels more dynamic and lower concentration allows the fragrance to emerge more immediately in the mouth. I actually noticed some sweetness.
In light of the wrapper, which is revolutionary in its spirit, the production makes sense, being pressed into an iron cake and its character. The bitterness feels similar to some Tulin and SGTM productions.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Floral, Smoke
Hahahaha. That Verdant description is so tempting! What a way with words, though I’ve never even thought of almonds when drinking any puerhs. This production as aged up considerably since it made itself known to the world. It is extremely tasty. Since I got it, all I do is think about drinking it to learn more. It has such depth, sweetness, and mouth-zinganoids. Lot’s of anise, sarsaparilla in terms of taste and mouthfeel. Next to no detectable bitterness, but the smoke is there. Quite similar to the Wuliang Luck and Longevity Brick by Hai Xin Tang but the 7536 is less smoky and spicier. Definitely strong aroma of mulling spices, a taste that just lingers on the tongue. I’m having it in yixing presently, but prefer it from a glazed vessel, I suppose.
Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Clove, Medicinal
The big dipper reviewed this a few years ago, which is why I thought I’d try it. The ‘08 has aged up quicker than the ’06 150g production of the same name. Awesome packaging of some totem venerated in the area. This might be my favourite XG because it was stored so well. The leaves are durable, sweet, and what I’ll call Wuliangy. It’s smokier than the ‘06 but they’re both pressed to kill. This leads to extended steeping times and a gradual soaking through the clod for a graduated release.
There’s a bit of interesting lore involving XG, I guess. It’s in part interesting because Communist-era production has taken on an aura. This is particularly evident in the area of teapots, but equally so regarding the old factories. So, I’m sitting drinking with this guy in Kunming and he’s talking tea. He remarks that the new productions from Dayi and Zhongcha he doesn’t have much regard for but it’s a different case with XG because they are still government-controlled. Dunno, I thought they’d all privatized, but then he continued saying that they’re required to allocate a portion of production as welfare to Tibet. A neat tid-bit.
Flavors: Sarsaparilla, Smoked, Sweet, Thick
Aromatic fruitiness that is similar to CNNP’s ‘07 HK Returns 10th-year commemorative brick and tuo, though not packed as tightly. There’s a bit of mint at the front end. Goes down smoothly, though a little bitterness comes through as the session progresses. Good for drinking now and a thorough delight in warm weather, though I’m sneaking a drink now here in the dead of winter.
5.5g in 120ml yixing 5sec infusions. Gifted by fellow Steepstarian. By about the fourth infusion, my heart was going pitter patter. The smoke seems to be at its height, whereas earlier infusions just that “solid goodness” was the prevailing impression, reminiscent of the ‘13 LaomanE Bulang Special. This one gets much more bitter, with a greater tingle and attack on the tongue, both in the liquor and huigan. Didn’t pick up any metalic. Sweet fades to bitter in this one, with smoke playing the most prominent role. Great for cloudy, cooler days.
2012 “Fu” as in some kinda fragrance not “lucky,” CNNP Kunming Tea Factory. It’s been a rough week fellow Steepstarians, been battling one helluvan organic illness, from which I slowly started to climb on Thurs. Still this lingering headache. I was well enough to host the Mid-Autumn party of about nine on Sat. It was a good time of conversation, Xi-gui sampling, and… mooncakes.
I’ll admit, I’m writing this a bit buzzed from the “Fu,” the fragrant type. I think I wrote a note on this when I first tried it, when it was just brash. A few mths of about 75% humidity and 25 temp, and it has mellowed a bit. It has that classic build in the mouth and heat mid chest to let you know it’s good stuff.
This time, I’m noticing much more smoke in the aroma of the leaves. It settles nicely in the broth, which got v. quick infusions. A light liquor in terms of color and viscosity. I’m still not thinking straight, my tongue still feels strange. No mediciney notes to this. Lots of cane juice or rock sugar to it. If you over steep, you’ll get the bitter and a brassier brew. It’s beyond the “ba-qi” stage now. It’s very good to drink. Everything seems just right. The headiness from the early two infusions trails off quickly. Over all, good for at least 12 infusions. That’s Fu, as in the fragrance not lucky. Be emphatic about it. You’ll have at least one Steeptarian who understands.
Flavors: Floral, Smoke, Sugarcane
2011 Xiaguan Red Star courtesy very generous Steepstarian. This one is throaty all the way. I started in on it yestiddy. It takes about five infusions or so to get beyond the grown-up taste of tobacco and bitter. Already has some organgish tinge to it.
The yun with this is v. good. Very complex tastes of crayolas, oak, dish soap, laundry powder, some bitterness. It really roaches the mouth, especially as I’ve gotten deeper into it today. First run of a minute today had me feeling flowers and that tidal rise of heat that comes with those that possess power qi. Next round, a minute and a half maybe (this might be more than the 10th infusion, I do a pretty horrible job of tracking) feels and tastes like I’ve tumble-dried my mouth with a ghaddam Downy drier sheet. I hate those things.
I remember as I drank it yesterday that beside having a power phlegm-cutting penchant that my sense of what I was drinking would go back and forth between grown-up tea and something kinda Jennifer Anniston. I don’t watch movies but I suppose she’s supposed to be the “fresh girl next door type,” not too intimidating.
The aroma is equally complex with all that Downy and dishwater, with a hint of musk. You ever had a really good oaky white wine where the taste hangs on and you’ve determined that you’d really found the right wine for the occasion? Me neither and the only occasions life affords me are these cyber rants fueled by tea inebriation. As you get into it, some of the trademark Xiaguan smoke comes through. I’m breathing deeper, and feeling a bit zonkers. My head is kinda pounding. I had enough of this for today. I’m too much of a light-weight. Red Star has kicked my arse.
Flavors: Floral, Oak wood, Smoke, Soap, Tobacco