Puerh is a subjective experience. As such my review is personally from subjective thoughts, feelings and tastes. I have been itching to try out this puerh. It would appear that this puerh is like the spread “marmite”. Some people love it, some people not so. The deciding factor in purchasing a sample was basically because I needed a new yixing. I have a really decent lao zhuni yixing that I use for younger puerh, but have been on the lookout for a decent quality zini yixing for aged puerh. My eyes lit up when white2tea announced they had some lao zini yixings for sale…I ended up getting one of these teapots which I have decided to dedicate to aged puerh. Whilst ordering the yixing I thought this would be a good time to order some of the 90’s Hong Kong stored puerh as well, to perhaps get the yixing off to a good start. I ended up having two tea sessions yesterday…one before work and one after work. Here are my notes…
This is my first every wetter storage puerh, so I was a little apprehensive to begin with. Many thoughts were racing through my head “Would I even enjoy wetter storage?” was the main question. My parcel arrives and I immediately open it with much anticipation. Despite a healthy post office bump on the package, the yixing is fortunately fully intact and it looks like really good quality. Off to a good start. I ordered 25 grams, so according to my logic that would be 8 grams per two session, and then one 9 gram session. I smell the dry leaves in the foil bag…yes there is definitely humid storage as it smells musty compared to my other dry stored. aged puerhs. Two, quick three second rinses and already the liquid is becoming very dark in colour…reminds me of shou to be honest. I smell the wet leaves and I get a big whiff of earthy minerals, rich, balmy and spicy aromas. Wetter storage sure don’t smell that bad.
First proper steep at 7 seconds using boiled water. Liquid comes out looking almost a blood red, bordering on black. Again I think to myself “this reminds me of shou”. I take a nice long sip…earthy minerals, very smooth and clean yet rich, reasonable thickness, dense complexity, muskiness, some pleasant sourness, sweetness in the finish. My verdict=Yum!. I devour the rest of the steep.
I take a second and third steep and the results are very similar except the resulting liquid is almost black. Again I am reminded of shou..rather very good quality shou. Now the camphor notes are beginning to shine and come through, spicy notes are also prominent. Sour notes also kicking in a bit more, however not obtrusive in my opinion. Regarding QI I did not feel that much, however this puerh put me in a very positive mood before a long slog at work. I steeped this to roughly 8 times before I left for work…by this time I was getting more sweetness and camphor, spicy notes. I go to work…just to add the finish is so long….I still had the taste in my mouth 5 hours after beginning my shift.
I decide to have another 8 gram session with this puerh after work, just in case my first tasting was a fluke. Again I am hit with all the taste sensations from my earlier session…this certainly was not a fluke. My final thoughts are “This is really good, but it reminds me so much of a decent quality shou”.
So, overall in my humble opinion, this is a stellar example of aged, wetter storage puerh. If you are used to the taste of dry stored sheng, like me, you will immediately taste the difference. For me the perfect blend would be a mix of dry and humid stored. For example the one tea I reviewed, Big Green Tea Yiwu 2001, is a perfect example of drier storage. However after tasting this puerh I am thinking “Imagine how it would taste with a bit of wetter storage added to the mix?”. My conclusion after tasting wetter storage vs drier storage is that there is no winner. It would be impossible to calculate the odds…drier storage for me means more youth, sense of adventure and of more things to comes, wetter storage comes out more mature and complex initially but I ponder upon its future. I am tempted to purchase a couple of cakes from white2tea…one for immediate drinking, and one to sit down for a while. I live in a European climate which is drier than the likes of Hong Kong…perhaps with a bit of dry storage we can balance things out a bit? Perhaps come to some mutual understanding?
Having said the above all that is left to say is that this is an excellent puerh. I love the mineral earthiness, the wetter storage, the spicy camphor notes, the sweetness and the ultra long finish. Weird thing is I still think this would make an excellent shou…mainly because of how dark the texture of the soup becomes, and also because of its later steeps. If you are into wetter store puerh I would guess this one is a no brainer…if you like dry storage this will take you out of your comfort zone, which is never a bad thing. As I said in the beginning of the review puerh is subjective, and this would be a classic example of that statement. Many thanks to white2tea for the great yixing and great tea! I am left to ponder on these lyrics from one of my favourite bands..
“Words can never justify
That I have never spoken
I try to understand
My wordless, little language
Is all you’ll ever need
To reach the bottom of my basement
She’ll guide you through her midnight hall
And offer you a place on the
Perhaps you’ll hear ’bout our history
She quotes from texts on papyrus
You gladly follow when she takes
Your hand and lead you further down
You peeled the fruit but threw away
did it taste sweet?"
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Sweet