3 Tasting Notes
This is another absolute steal. One of the few cakes I’ve bought without bothering with a sample first (partly because I’d read some positive reviews, partly because of the price), and I don’t regret it. I really like the strong tobacco-flavor and smokiness (although it’s definitely not for everyone), and the endurance is just superb. Can easily go 15 infusions or more. It doesn’t come with a lot of surprises (or development throughout the steeping), but it’s a nice tea for everyday consumption for those of us on a limited budget.
Flavors: Smoke, Tobacco
Brewed in gaiwan (approx 100ml, 10g leaf), boiling water, gonfu style, you know the drill.
First few infusions (1-4) come off as rather weak and a little uninteresting. However, the tea quickly improves, and remains energetic with good mouth feel throughout subsequent steepings. Had to stop after about 10 infusions, but I’m sure this could have survived at least another five (and perhaps more).
So this tea came as something of a shock to me. Having only really gotten into puer a couple of months ago I’ve been sampling widely the selection of reputable vendors. Most of what I’ve had is fairly young stuff, so a necessary caveat emptor for this review is that I don’t have a lot of experience with aged teas. (Other than the White Whale under review here I’ve had some Mid 90’s CNNP Red Mark and a tea whose name or producer I don’t know, from 2001).
Anyway, this is aged tea and it’s very reasonably priced (I would say its downright cheap, but that sounds so derogatory). That calls for skepticism. I guess the reason for the pricing must be the lack of wrappers, for in terms of quality this really is a very good tea. It is earthly and deep, with a pleasant aftertaste. I didn’t find it all that complex, but it’s very smooth and it really has a lot of endurance (in terms of how many steeps you get out of it). This latter point surprised me the most, as I found myself really liking the first few brews I thought this might be one of those teas that dies before you’ve reached double digits. But no, this one delivers. I actually kept it in the gaiwan overnight and continued next day (something I normally don’t do) just to see how it would fare. Not bad at all! For reference I brew gongfu style with a good amount of leaves, not the most economical way (but at these prices, who cares?)
To repeat myself, I don’t have a whole lot experience with aged teas, and I certainly don’t know much about the differences between “dry stored” and “traditional stored” (or even wet stored) other than what I’ve read … But this really is a fine tea, justifying the name.