107 Tasting Notes
Buddhas in the Hourglass
When I shut my eyes the world folded me up like a paper airplane and shot me out into space. Upon my arrival in that void, I was cradled in a massive endless blackness, floating. Out of the blackness I saw a enormous heaving swarm – at first it looked like sands falling through an hourglass, but as I drifted closer, I noticed that each grain of sand was actually a person. Billions and billions of people swirling and falling through an hourglass. It was as if Michelangelo’s Last Judgment had come alive inside this kaleidoscopic, planet-sized hourglass. Most of the people were struggling, fighting, tangled and twisted with one other. But some of the people were Buddhas, in the literal sense – seated full lotus, serenely gliding on a gentle unseen current, slightly above the sea of humanity, unperturbed by the chaos and completely at peace. And then the absurdity of it all hit me, and I laughed and couldn’t stop laughing. My field of vision grew wider, and I was together with the giant laughing corpulent Buddha holding the hourglass; we just laughed and laughed as we watched people struggling and twisting and falling. I was Buddha and Buddha was me; I held the hourglass, I was in the hourglass. When I woke I opened my eyes to sunlight and the taste of wildflowers on my tongue.
EDIT to add:
TL;DR: drank Treachery and it reminded me a lot of the time I took Salvia Divinorum and met up with the Buddha about 100 million light years from Earth.
This tea is amazeballs. It’s unusual and brilliant. Flavorwise, cowsdef’s review hits it spot on, so if you want to know more about specific flavors, read that review. If you love aged oolong and you haven’t tried this one yet, you really should.
Long overdue PU TTB review obligation.
The first two steeps are absolutely lovely. Leather, camphor, hint of menthol. You find yourself amazed at how much of a mellow aged flavor is present for a tea so relatively young, but then by the third steep, the bitterness comes out of nowhere, punches you in the face, steals your wallet, and leaves you on the ground in a dark alley thinking “I should have waited another ten years.”
From the pu ttb, round ?
I really like this shou. I regret I didn’t get the opportunity to try it sooner, when it was available for purchase. I agree with other reviews for the most part (earth, petrichor, wet wood etc), but for me the dirt/earth is something I would categorize as mineral, much in the way an aged wuyi oolong has a mineral note. I haven’t had many shou like this. For me it’s what makes this tea very enjoyable. Definitely worth trying if there are still samples floating around one of the ttbs.
From the Puerh TTB:
Very astringent, but also pleasantly sour, which I quite like. Despite being very pleasant going down, huigan is nonexistent for me. I don’t taste any smoke, but plenty of tobacco, camphor, and leather.
This is not a strong tea at all; considering its age, it’s one of the lightest in terms of flavor that I’ve had, even when pushed. Speaking of pushed, I don’t find it particularly bitter either, but not particularly noteworthy. It’s not bad at all, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase more.
Now, having said all that… it might be that it’s Friday night. It might be that my wife bought me cronuts, or that she’s giving me The Look. But nine steeps in and I must say I am in an exceptionally good mood.
It was hot as hades today, with nearly 100% humidity, and it rained on and off. I spent most of the day making trips back and forth between my storage unit and my house, prepping for a coming yard sale. I moved the contents of a 10 × 15 storage space filled to the rafters; furniture, dozens of boxes, and was so determined to throw the Stuff Monkey off my back that I attacked the accumulated craptastica of my life with a ruthless disregard for sentiment. Still, this was emotionally taxing work, and when I was finished for the day, all I wanted was a shower and some tea. I had neglected to make some cold tea in advance of my endeavors, so I needed a hot tea that was going to be light and not make me sweat. Also, something easy. I was in no mood for jacking around with steep times and persnickety brewing parameters – sometimes I get in a mood like this and I just want to fill my pot with some leaves and put some hot water in it, count to ten or whatever and not be disappointed with the result. So this tea was the perfect choice. Fruity, light, sweet, floral (but not in a nasty gut-punch kind of way), and cooling. Refreshing, and calming. If there’s a 2016 version of this tea coming, I will consider purchasing a cake for the summer.
Oh, huang pian, how you flummox and befuddle me. I huangpianed twice before Fade, the first time on some Jingmai sheng from Chawangshop that tasted ok but was a bit too much with the florals, which often seems to disagree with me, gastrically speaking. Then there was Brown Sugar. Sugar? Not so much. Brown Hydrochloric Acid more like. Now, I like a deep, dark, sweet, motor-oil-like shu as much as the next person, but this stuff was like a footballer doing a slide tackle into my gallbladder, studs up. So when the Fade came I was concerned, but I went ahead and had it anyway because there was 200g of it and the wrapper just looked like it needed opening. Fade. What can I say about Fade? Well, I saved it for my 100th tasting note, so that says something.
I’m a Bosch freak, and yes I taste the Bosch in here in a big way. Funny thing is, everyone kept talking about how tea drunk they got on the stuff, and I’d had it about five times and not once was it anything more to me than a very pleasant Boschy cuppa yummy. As it happens, the arrival of the Fade brick coincided with the arrival of a new 50ml gaiwan from Teaware.house, with which I was immediately enamored and began to use almost exclusively for several weeks. Thing is, a 50ml gaiwan holds about 2g of huang pian, give or take. You see where I’m going with this. So tonight I decided to go big or go home. Well, I am home already, so big. My largest sheng pot, the one I use for aged stuff, is 80ml. The other one is 75ml. I usually brew no more than 4g of anything. So…… I’m teadrunk as shit right now, about 750ml in (that’s about 25 ounces for the metrically impaired) because I brewed up 10g in a 150ml shibo. Like, all at once.
shit damn motherfucker (oops, wrong tea?) This stuff smells so frickin good! Seriously, I would like a small Fade atomizer I can take with me to work, so that when some idiot starts dancing on my last nerve, I can give myself a little spritz and feel right as rain again, and not have to suppress the urge to choke a fool.
I feel like I’ve been writing this review for hours.
I took some photographs. Here’s what 10g of HP looks like, not even steeped out yet:
Here’s my big fatassed shibo with his enforcers from the Empire, staring down my little sheng pots:
Here’s another of Shibozilla eating a 50ml gaiwan as an appetizer while the sheng pots run away yelling “run away!”:
Best part is that my tummy is fine, so far. Or if this tea is eating a hole in my intestines, I sure can’t feel it. Now off I go; I have about another 450ml to brew up before I can say I drank a 40 of Fade and lived to tell about it.
From the PU TTB:
This is a fantastic ripe. Enjoying it while at work today and I’ve lost count how many steeps I’m in, but I’m guessing it must be a lot because I’m really feeling the caffeine! This tea brews up rich, deep and dark, with a sweet, earthy, somewhat chocolatey flavor and aroma, and not much in the way of fermentation funk even in early steeps. I would highly recommend this one to lovers of dark and sweet/mellow ripe pu.
From the PU TTB: I much prefer this one to the Green Peacock. Soft, with a hint of sweetness. No musty old basement to this one, which suggests it’s been well stored. And the mouthfeel is absolutely smooth/creamy/lovely. I’m eight steeps in and feeling a wonderful relaxing qi, and so far not much in the way of bitterness. This sheng is right in my aged sheng wheelhouse and I am gutted it’s sold out :-(