derk sent me some liu baos originally from White Antlers, and so I thank you both for the pay-forward and pick-me-up kick in the pants to plug back in here. I started with this one from Hei Shi village as one of the two youngest samples, and I’ll work my way older over the next couple days…

I dutifully took my little set of notes, then found derk’s notes, and had that magical feeling that someone had been right here before me. I love that.

I did not realize before I sessioned that this is unprocessed material — so to liu bao what maocha is to puerh. What a revelation and a treat to experience these flavors that transform into that classic betel-medicine profile. Though if this is 10 years old… I suppose it’s some kind of aged, hehe. I don’t know enough to understand what steps stand between this and Liu Bao writ large.

Dry leaf was old books and old fruit leather; steaming gave up baby powder, muscatel, juicy peach?, strawberry. I’ve been tending toward longer steeps lately, and a 30 second wake-up made my first pour the most beautiful. Heady fennel, vanilla, and allllmost cocoa — but not quite — I settled on malt. Gorgeous and ethereal.

Wet leaf quickly went deep to tobacco and medicinal (herbs, iodine… funny how we all recognize so simply what is such a complex olfactory hit), though the lid kept on with baby powder and vanilla. Second steep brought me to the meadow — wildflowers (derk said heather, and that is JUST the thing I was wracking my brain for — yasss!) and the gauzy bitterness of breezy grasses. The third steep brought more grass, but I found the malt again along her backbone. Guh. This wasn’t long-lived, but it didn’t need to be.

The 2013 from Buyi village is loaded into my pot now. I’m excited.

Flavors: Baby Powder, Buffalo Grass, Fennel, Fruity, Herbs, Iodine, Juicy, Leather, Malt, Meadow, Medicinal, Muscatel, Strawberry, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wildflowers

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