Liquid Proust TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a small packet of this tea a long time ago – it’s been kicking around my storage for quite a while, and I pulled it out today at random and decided to brew it up. The base material is quite nice. I noticed the rum/barrel notes most on the nose. They didn’t come through all that much in the taste. This shou is more sweet than woody. Some heavy vanilla, somewhat rummy in taste, lightly floral, molasses. Again, mostly got the rum on the nose, which made for an interesting session compared to most shou. I don’t generally think of aroma as being a big part of shou compared to a lot of other teas, but this one definitely bucks that trend. If LP ever did another run of this or something like it, I’d seriously consider picking some up.
Three steeps in and my mouth is persistently dark cherry/cinnamon/plum flavored and my room now smells like a really sexy old bookstore. I also have it on good authority that this tea makes one extraordinarily kissable…
Flavors: Cacao, Cinnamon, Dark Wood, Overripe Cherries, Plums
LP sent a sample of this a while back when I joined a CLT group buy with him. I’ve finally got down to drinking the rest of it within the last couple of days.
The main note from this tea was ‘aged pear.’ I compared it to a stash of pears I tried from one of the oldest MRE’s (military ration) I have acquired (1994). Extremely caramelized, sweet, & tangy. The only difference with the tea was that there was a slight roasted note in each sip.
First, thanks to Liquid Proust for making old pu’erh available at an affordable price. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to expand their experiences and palate.
There is a lot of discussion out there regarding storage. Most people talk about humid vs. dry storage, in addition to how exactly they attempt to create their little pu’erh microclimates. That’s all good, but no one really ever talks about how long they plan on storing this stuff. There is a general perception that older is better. I would simply say that older is just different. And so, depending on your palate, older might just be worse.
That said, I think this is a good tea to sample to see if, for you, older is better. Do you like those earthy, vegetal pond flora notes? Do you like a cereal savory-sweetness? Do like the fragrant and pungent aroma of camphor? If so, then I guess you better start clearing some space for your stash, because you, my friend, like old pu’erh.
Personally, I find older pu’erh interesting, but not superior. For me, the optimum age for pu’erh is 7-12 years, under dry-ish storage conditions. But that’s because I like tobacco notes and dried fruit and spice cake sweetness, with some floral notes that give it some zest and pop. Stuff like the 1990s Guangyun is fun – and I have to say that the camphor experience is unique for sure (sort of like a peaty Islay Scotch malt – not delicious, per se, but fascinating and complex).
If you think you do like old pu’erh and are lamenting your expensive tastes and lack of storage, I really think you have some cheaper options. First of all, earthy, woody ripe pu’erh is a damn good approximation. You’re not going to get the fragrant camphor notes (although I have had one or two ripes that have it – more expensive than run-of-the-mill ripes, but much cheaper than aged sheng). Also, I think Fu Zhuan hei cha also gives an interesting “Chinese medicine” sort of experience that you get with old sheng. I don’t know – maybe mix the two together and see what happens?!
Anyway, this tea is mighty tasty, and certainly worth the low price LP offers it for. I just think that people need to be real about putting old sheng pu’erh on a pedestal. People are dropping loads of cash for teas that (I’m sorry) taste like a $50 wet-stored ripe.
Don’t take my word for it. Get some of this tea and see what you think.
Dry leaf – pond flora, compost, forest floor, wet wood. In preheated vessel – cereal notes arrive
Smell – pond flora, cream of wheat, camphor, wet hardwood
Taste – pond flora, cream of wheat, wet hardwood. Hints of chocolate in finish. Aftertaste has fragrant camphor notes arrive, lemongrass, poppy seed, lemon pith, with secondary notes of prune and rum-raisin sweetness that linger in the background.
I am new to Taiwanese boutique shengs and learning from samples.
It is easy enough to take note of sweet, bitter, leaf endurance, mouth and body feels etc. Some complexity to engage you while drinking the tea…
I found this particular sheng woody, and not interesting enough to want more. That may be my inexperience speaking but after 3 sessions I moved on.
I’m trying again to love this tea, after reading some comments on Instagram about its more endearing qualities. I think the reality is that Taiwanese style puer isn’t my style. I pushed the tea harder this time and produced more plum and astringency, but it still seems a bit hollow. There’s underripe stonefruit pit astringency and spring Witch Hazel twigs, but some decided sourness as well. Chalking this up to a style of semi-aged puer which isn’t me.
Flavors: Astringent, Plums
I recently ordered three shengs and one shu from Liquid Proust, and the first I cracked, the 2006 Mengku Qiao Mu Wang, was amazing. Subsequently, my next two teas were total duds. This is one of them.
Old, dried leaf and some ruby fruits. Flavors have distant sweetness, distant fruits, some woodiness, a heavier than desired sourness and some moderate, bland astringency. What is here? This is very empty and hollow. Also throws some throat scratchiness. Almost no wet leaf aroma. Long, long, long returning sweetness. Takes a while and doesn’t give much. The redeeming factor of this tea is the wonderful calming qi.
Like yesterday’s sampling of the 2005 Yang Qing Hao Yiwu Chawang, this tastes like it has suffered through dry storage and is so unremarkable for the price that I’m suspicious that it is in fact authentic.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Red Fruits, Stems
Received from fidgetiest, thank you :). 100C, gongfu, 5g/100mL but I will be leafing harder because this can definitely take it.
In dry aroma I am hit with some roasty honey, and the dry rinse reveals raw honey and honeysuckle floral notes. In the actual steeps, I taste richness, sourness, and roastiness, but the honey in the aroma is nowhere to be found in the drink. This reminds me of a dried fruit an aunt of mine offered me once in Mexico but I cannot remember what it was. Or maybe it just invokes a memory of her, I’m not sure. LP and I had a discussion about the memory-evoking quality of tea following my noticing two of his oolongs brought me back to childhood memories of my Mexican relatives. Or maybe I’m just feeling sentimental for once.
Steep 2: the leaf opens, I’m getting some tannic spicy notes in my throat like cayenne, and some aged sourness.
By steep 4 this is a weird tea, keeps bringing me back somehow, this time visiting an agave farm with my grandma.
Steep 5: tobacco leaf sort of aroma
This tea keeps on changing with every steep, give it a whirl. Maybe you’ll remember something precious.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Honey, Honeysuckle, Musty, Pepper, Pleasantly Sour, Tobacco
Sip down of sheng samples.
This 2005 Yesheng (Wild) was clean and sweet, I could still taste it an hour later.
Like the man said, "A wild picked picked raw puerh that has no remaining bitterness but plenty of umph. Notes of roast as you would get in a lightly roasted dancong, a smoke that disappears, and a bunch of fruits under it all. "
Definitely my cuppa tea.
I found a spoon and a half of this in my sample box and decided to split this into two sessions. This may have been a poor choice and I would have been better off with having a stronger solid cup during only one experience.
Tasty but ephemeral berry tartness supported by roasty toasty green.
I look forward to trying the remaining bit of leaf with far less water.
Thank you to whoever sent this my way.
This was my first pick from the TTB, as I haven’t sampled much from Liquid Proust and am a huge Lord of the Rings fan! I was expecting this to be a smoky black tea, but it’s actually a black tea/puerh blend…disappointing to me personally, since I’m not really into puerh. The flavor is earthy and musty with a dry finish, reminding me of a forest floor blanketed with dead leaves. An interesting flavor experience (and actually fairly appropriate to the inspiration!) but not something I’d choose to drink again.
Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Drying, Earth, Musty
I’ve been saving this for cold brewing pretty much since I bought it. Probably it should have seen the light of day last year, but since that was a write off…
I’m really glad I pulled this one out today, though. The dry leaf (and even the brewed tea) don’t have much in the way of scent about them, so it was impossible to judge before tasting. I was expecting mostly oolong, since I’ve left it so long, but fortunately that’s not the case.
This is so good. Now that I’ve tried it, I’m more than a little sad that it’s no longer available. It reminds me a lot of Butiki’s Watermelon Xylophone, which is something I never thought I’d say. No watermelon tea has ever struck that natural, fresh, pulpy watermelon flavour so accurately before, until now. This one captures it just as well – absolutely no artificiality here!
Cold brewing was the right way to go, I think. The cold water adds to the “fridge fresh watermelon” vibe, to the point where it almost could be mistaken for watermelon juice. The base is perfect – maybe even better than Butiki’s! I love the buttery creaminess the baozhong oolong contributes; it just works so well, and is totally delicious to boot!
I’m glad I’ve got some more of this one, but I’m going to save it for the really hot days we’ll get later in the summer. It’ll be a joy, pure and simple, to drink this when it’s 30 degrees outside.
This is an interesting one – a CTC, from LP! I think it came as a sample with one of my orders from him, but I don’t really remember given that it was so long ago. I’m not the greatest fan of CTC, except when I’m super tired and want an instant perk-up, or purely for the sake of convenience. Today falls into the former category, because getting up to go to work never fails to make me feel exhausted. Let’s be honest, it’s mostly because I hate my job. Might need to do something about that.
Anyway, for now I have tea, and that makes the world a better place. This one brews up quickly (of course) to a rich, dark chocolate kinda colour. To taste, it’s a lot smoother than I expected – perhaps because it’s a Dian Hong. It’s quite dry, in the way of cocoa, and a little tannic, but still pleasantly rich and malty.
It comes off fairly ordinary at first, but I keep getting little fleeting flashes of something at the back of my throat. It’s a little bit like smoke (wood smoke, not sweet like tobacco smoke…), and a little bit like root beer (chicory?) It certainly makes this experience a whole lot more interesting!
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one. It’s loads better than I expected.
Finally getting through my much-overlooked LP blends. This was one I was really eager to try, particularly since I enjoyed 52Teas Razzleberry Genmaicha many moons ago. This one has a similar vibe, although the berry flavours are more subtle and muted. It’s maybe worth nothing that this is a more traditional genmaicha, with toasted white rice and what looks like sencha, in a roughly 60:40 rice to tea ratio. It’s not like LP’s Laoshan Chocolate Genmaicha, which was entirely unique.
The initial flavour here is toasted rice, followed by a light juicy strawberry flavour. There’s a hint of raspberry towards the end of the sip, and the tart-sourness from that lingers well into the aftertaste. The strawberry sweetens and lightens the whole thing, and it’s a great combination. Mostly, I’m just glad that “berry” aspect is a big part of the flavour, more so when it’s as nicely balanced as it is here. Although the toastiness is prominent, it doesn’t overpower the fruit flavours, and the blend as a whole isn’t overdone, artificial, or particularly in-your-face. It’s just a natural sweet fruitiness, with toasty rice, and a hint of lightly vegetal green underlying it all. Pretty much a perfect genmaicha, then?
Yesterday, I drank an Wuyi oolong that was very char-like.
Today, I cracked this one open to see how things went. Let me mention here that my background in Wuyi oolongs is limited. I just jump in and see what happens.
I approached this one Western style and what I got was a pleasant deep flavour with only a bit of char. The apple flavour was gentle while the cherry wood more prominent. Both served to underscore the base.
Nice blending of flavours.
Possibly I’ve left this one too long, but I’m not really getting anything in the way of berry. Either that, or I maybe haven’t used enough leaf – it’s hard to judge, because there are loads of very long leaf stems. It’s impossible to measure with a spoon! It was amusing to watch it try and climb out of my infuser as it unfurled, though. Very spider-like!
Mostly, I get a sweet floral flavour – most reminiscent of honeysuckle and orchid. There’s a bit of wet rock/mineral, as I’d expect from a green oolong, and a sort of nectar-like background note. I suppose if I concentrate hard I could say there’s a whisper of blueberry. It becomes a little more apparent as it cools, but it’s very nebulous and really no more than a hint.
I’d have liked a bit more in the way of berry flavour, and possibly I need to tweak things a bit to find it. Still, delicious.
I was very excited to get an opportunity to try this tea and it did not disappoint. On steeps 1 & 2 I got aromas of sweet tobacco and flavors of cinnamon, star anise and apple cider on the exhale. On steeps 3 & 4 the gaiwan lid had a plummy fragrance and the flavor took on a spicy minerality with some walnut notes. Astringency building a bit, but not overwhelming. I feel heavy and calm, like a soft stone is set between my eyes, and my cheeks have a puckered / pinched uplift as if I bit a lemon. On steeps 5 & 6 the gaiwan lid almost smelled like I was brewing Yancha, and the flavor was similar. Building astringency, light pithy / pecan skin quality – but still totally in check. Qi building…expansive feeling in my lungs, sea legs in my arms and a tingling in my feet and hands similar to what happens after increased oxygen levels from focused breathing. Pressure in my ears and my head feels full of water. Butterflies in my stomach. It seems important to mention, these sensations felt rather pointed and not clumsy. I’ve had similar feels when I have run into a door frame / almost dropped my gaiwan, but this had a lot of clarity in spite of its intensity. Qi is personal and I hesitate to mention it in reviews, but it can be interesting to compare subjective experience. On steeps 7 & 8 I got a lot of cinnamon/camphor, star anise…almost reminding me of Tai Cha #18 (Red Jade) a bit. From here it moved into milder honeyed / plummy wood flavors, but remained very enjoyable. Think I will boil this in a bit. Bless you, LP <3
Flavors: Anise, Apple, Camphor, Cinnamon, Honey, Mineral, Pecan, Plums, Spices, Tobacco, Walnut, Wood
Another of my older LPs, finally seeing the light of day. One thing I’m quickly realising about this challenge is that once it’s done I’m going to have a lot of opened things to sip down. I’ll likely need another challenge just for that!
LP says that this one is a blend of 1999 and 2006 medium roasted tieguanyin, aged in dehydrated lemon for over 60 days. He also says it’s an ugly tea, but I find the lemon segments quite beautiful in their own way. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it around 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180. It smells like lemon pie that’s burnt a bit in the oven, and it tastes quite like that too.
The TGY brings a pretty toasted taste to the initial sip, and it pretty much as you might expect from any roasted oolong – a little brassy, perhaps, but pleasantly so. I was expecting more pungency, but it’s really very palatable. The lemon almost explodes in the mid-sip, in a bright, sunshiny burst. The tangy, sour citrus cuts through the toastiness in a swathe of wonderous efficiency. It’s a pairing that works really well, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly. I feel like lemon is an accessible flavour, whereas TGY perhaps isn’t so much. I hope it encouraged a few of the less experienced oolongers to give it a go when it was on sale.
As the lemon wears off, the tieguanyin flavour returns in full force and lingers well into the aftertaste. It’s a pleasing contrast, and an inspired pairing. I’m glad I’ve got plenty more!
I almost passed over this one again today, because silver needle isn’t exactly exciting…and jasmine isn’t my thing. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because I like this, maybe in spite of myself.
I was expecting the jasmine to be the more powerful flavour, but the white tea actually predominates. There’s a creamy fruitiness right up front (I’m guessing that might be the starfruit…?), and then a gentle fade into fragrant, floral jasmine. It’s so much nicer than I expected it to be (not that I expected it to be horrible, but you know), and significantly more unique. That creaminess!
This would make an excellent tea for a mild spring day. If spring ever gets here this year.
This one brewed up kind of cloudy, which perhaps isn’t a surprise since it’s pretty old now. The leaf was pretty stuck together in the bag, but given the ingredients I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise either. I’m just surprised it’s kept so well, since it seems kind of sticky…
Anyway. The initial flavour is a lot of base, but it’s a great base so I’ve no complaints about that. It reminds me a lot of some of the “golden lion” teas I’ve tried, as well as last week’s Himalayan Golden Black from Nepali Tea Traders. It’s malty and sweet, but not in an overpowering way, with a light background floral that’s reminiscent of a darjeeling. There’s also a touch of pepperiness in the aftertaste.
Initially, that’s all there is to this tea. I think it needs to cool a little to really shine, because that’s when the honey flavours start to develop. I wouldn’t say it’s mead per se, but more of a light honey with an edge of beeswax. It’s sweet, for sure, with a thick-tasting syrupy quality, but the honey flavour itself is fairly delicate and remains mostly in the background.
I like this one. I thought it might be overpoweringly sweet, but it’s actually pretty subtle. I’d have liked the base and flavouring to have been a little more balanced, and I’d have loved to be able to taste more honey, but it’s pleasant to drink all the same. Happy to have this one in my cupboard!
Another Liquid Proust from my cupboard. I have a few, for sure! That can only be a good thing, though, since on the whole they’re up there with some of the best flavoured teas I’ve tried. They’re certainly some of the most inventive.
Blackberry Sage seems like an unusual combination in tea terms, but intuitive in terms of flavour. They’re two things I can imagine pairing really well together. Fortunately, they do! LP’s blackberry flavouring is good. Berry flavours in general seem to be either over or under done, but this one strikes a good balance between being flavour accurate and actually tasteable. It’s not cloying, over-sweet, over-tart, or hopelessly artificial. Instead, it’s rich and fruity with a little sweetness, and perfectly captures the essence of ripe blackberry. The choice of keemun for the base is particularly inspired, because it has a dark, jammy, fruity sweetness all its own that really complements the blackberry flavour, and probably helps to bring it out.
The sage is less distinct, but definitely there in the background. It adds a savoury, herbal flavour that checks the sweetness just a little and provides a depth that would otherwise be lacking. I think I’d like it to be a little more prominent, though, because as it stands it’s hard to identify as sage specifically. I get that it can be a hard balance to strike, though, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice my current experience entirely just for the sake of more sage. It’s already an excellent blend.
This one has made me feel sad all over again that LP no longer blends regularly.
This one’s been in my cupboard for a while (but let’s be honest, what hasn’t by this time?) I think that’s partly because I was in such a funk for a while, and partly because I’m just plain uncertain about this one. I rarely, if ever, drink coffee these days. I mean, I was a teenager the last time I drank coffee seriously.
It’s actually a lot nicer than I anticipated, though. There is a certain “thin coffee” flavour to it, but that’s easy to overlook in favour of its more engaging properties. It’s creamy, for a start, with a light roastiness, and the flavour of peanuts. Added together, it’s fairly reminiscent of peanut butter. I though this might turn out to be a fight between the coffee and the oolong, but it’s really not – they work together far better than you might think (perhaps because they were roasted together?)
This was my first cup of the day today, and I’m really happy with it. Hopefully I’ll get some extra energy from the coffee, because I could totally do with it right now!
Figured it was about time I tried this one, since it’s been sitting in my cupboard for literally ages. I loved LP’s French Toast Dian Hong, so I’m pleased to see a return of the vanilla from that blend. It’s deliciously creamy here, and more prominent than I expected. I’d go so far as to say that it’s the main flavour – sweet, heady vanilla. There’s also a fair hit of caramel, and a touch of pecan – and both of those remind me of Swann’s Way, which I finished up recently. Thankfully, the mixed base isn’t as conflicting as I feared it might be. The black sunmoon lake is most noticable to my tastes, but there’s a light, sweet, roastiness from the oolong and a mild earthiness from the pu’erh.
If this is what you get when you mix a few teas together, then it’s something that ought to be tried more often! I can pick out the flavours and characteristics of the original blends, but I think only because I’ve tried them. Overall, it’s more cohesive than I expected – and delicious!