This puerh was a bit of a strange one for me. I recently added this to the Steepster database with intentions of adding a tasting note, however my tea session just did not go well. I was brewing this in a gaiwan and simply was not feeling the love…I had a hard time controlling some astringency that is still present and for some reason my taste buds just seemed a bit “off”. I thought giving a rating based simply on this one session would be premature and a little unfair.. So I decided to revisit this one tonight. This time around I have used my new 150ml yixing to see if my session would be a different experience. Here are my notes…
A word of warning first. In spite of its 14 years of age this is still a very powerful, robust puerh that still has a lot of youth left in it. I would say further aging is mandatory. Careful monitoring of steep times is also mandatory…brew this too much and the soup comes out too powerful and astringent. I would strongly suggest 7-10 second steeps for at least the first half a dozen steeps, possibly more. If you manage to conquer the steep times you will tame this little beast and end up with a rewarding puerh experience.
I pick away a healthy 8 grams worth of leaves and place them into my 150ml yixing. I decide to do two quick 3 second rinses…soup is already starting to look amber in texture. I smell the wet leaves…hints of smoke, malty richness, robust, deep aromas. Smells pretty potent! First proper steep at 7 seconds. Resulting liquid is dark amber which appears fairly thick in texture. I slowly sip my first steep…strong, very rich and heavy, nice thickness, woody smokiness, fairly complex aged flavours, mild astringency.
Steeping this further up to six steeps and I notice that I am beginning to sweat profusely from my head and also around my moustache/beard lol. Body is beginning to feel fully energised. Smokiness is beginning to die down a bit, replaced by some really excellent camphor notes. Some cooling on the tongue, not that much vibrancy in the mouth but I am experiencing a very long, complex finish. Liquid still remains nice and thick. This session is going a million times better than my previous experience.
I push this further up to about 10 steeps. Still this puerh is delivering on taste, however now I am beginning to notice some sweeter notes further adding to its complexity. This puerh has excellent durability. 10 steeps no problem…I push this past 15 steeps and still it refuses to quit. After 3 hours I finally decide to end my session. I think this powerful puerh has got the better of me…the leaves remain in the yixing for tomorrow.
So, overall this was a pretty special experience. No puerh has made me sweat as much as this one. It is difficult to believe how much power this puerh has. If I had to compare it to another puerh I would say that its tasting profile is fairly similar to white2tea’s 2002 White Whale. I personally think it has a little less smokiness and has more complex aged textures. Don’t quit at 10 steeps…you would be missing out on it’s returning sweetness which was a very pleasant surprise. From a price point I think £105 per cake is a fair price to pay considering how many steeps you will get out of 8 grams. At the moment this is an excellent, complex puerh that in 5+ years may be incredible. I am so glad that I did not write this one off…it deserves patience and full attention, not only with its durability but also those damn steeping times :) If you want to experience a puerh that has a great balance of aged and youth this one is definitely one to consider. Many thanks to EOT for this complex, powerful beast.
Flavors: Camphor, Malt, Smoke, Wood