63 Tasting Notes
So, I’m presently having the ‘06 Xiaguan Gold Thread tuo. This is the fifth Xiaguan tuo I’ve tried. Both productions of the Dali Tuo production I can get with. This one falls into the latter category, I’m afraid. It’s not as bad as the Nanzhao tuo or the Red Chamber, the latter I’m chalking up to still needing time, thinking optimistically. However, the Nanzhao and the Gold Thread share traits that I had chalked up for “storage.” It’s not. They’re from different vendors neither providing other items that gave me pause about storage conditions. Both the Nanzhao and the Gold Thread smell like foot. The Nanzhao tuo is undrinkable. The Gold Thread is drinkable, with hints of fruit, tobacco, ashtray, and minerals. Nice and sudsy. Decent storage with a deep brown color. Interestingly, the Nanzhao cake is great. The Dali Tuo are too. As far as raw smoky productions, I feel Haixintang makes the best.
Flavors: Ash, Dried Fruit, Mineral, Tobacco
I guess “petrichor” means petroleum. Very thick, with that taste. It not of wood too me, but that might be what it is. I’ve certainly had less unctuous ones that were drier, woodier. This one is very wet, not wet-stored, but what I’d consider sloppy drunk, causing embarassment to all at the party. The one hanging all over you with alcohol breath at the party telling you how much they love you. Maybe in five years but presently I’d avoid this one.
Such a wonderful production. The first time I had it it was over-brewed. When I got a crack at it, it proved to be a most luxurious experience. This is a righteous puer with a personality and depth, decidedly and complexly feminine. Depth. The balance between fragrance and Bulangness might be attributable to when it was picked. I don’t know the details. It’s not bitter, which accounts for reviews that say it is a lighter Bulang, but this is not a light treasure. The fragrance from the gaiwan (gaiwan only this please) is magnificent. The thick, cosmic communications when you hold the broth in your mouth, no words. Then you sense the grounding, not bitter, of Bulang. They, Bulangs, aren’t necessarily bitter, actually, but unwaveringly grounded.
Flash infusions for the first 5 rounds for certain, then, on the next day, for it will certainly give you the business those five, start increasing time from 15s. Very highly recommended.
I’ve done about four infusions and find it to be thoroughly delightful. Very peachy and at the early stages no hint of bitterness, which is rather surprising. Thick liquor, super sweet, excellent material. The shape of the leaves and pretty much everything about this production is unimpungable. I’ll be interested to discover what it is throwing down in later infusions but this is undoubtedly a good tea. My only question is regarding the lack of any trademark Bulang bitterness.
Flavors: Peach, Sugar
Baqi! The first infusion gave me gut ache instantly. I had eaten. Smelled easy enough, bits of that rancid grape and dry vanilla or something. I came back 1/2 later. Infusion 2, 10s. More floral, lively in that semi-aged sense, color isn’t to dark, bonafide Yunnan storage.
Tremendous huigan and qi. Great thickness. Gut bomb. Goes down and starts making a hot war in the gut. It just starts churning and churning, building heat in the gut. You don’t know if the experience will turn pleasant or existential, beads of sweat from forehead.
About three yrs ago, i.e., ’14 or so, this company started charging more handsome prices for their newer productions. Even 10yrs into the game with Yunnan storage, it still kicks ass, but its deceptive. I have a cake from the same year, which is called Mingqian, which by contrast is very tame, except for the qi, which is very powerful.
Belching. Yeah. That happens with this one. Infusions 3-4 I back off on the time to just flash infusing. I’m a lightweight. The hue is orangy-yellow, brass with lots of zinc. There’s a metalic effect and taste along with a bit of sour orange juice. I’ve tasted that before and it seems like a signal that it needs more time, possibly more humidity in aging. Those tastes are coming from the florality. Attacks the throat.
It’s a slow drinker. One pot every hour at the most. A most belligerent production.
Flavors: Bitter, Honeysuckle, Melon, Wood
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.