Sure is fun to run into good stuff as I trip along in my puerh education. Thank you for this chapter of study, derk.
Warming leaf is smoky… grilled meat, dried apricot, medicinal, herbal. Pours golden liquor that smells like smoky mushroom broth, hay, dandelion smear. The first steep is thick in the mouth, with hay and camphor. Clear apricot huigan.
Back at the wet leaf, whew: smoked white beans, kelp, cooling herbs, camphor. Drydown on the lid smells like ink. Pour still smells of smoke, with medicinal notes like iodine and some tobacco coming through. Some new astringency in the mouth alongside the smoke; body is surprisingly lighter than the first steep but quite smooth, with clear camphor… ah, there is the qi hit… biiiiiiiing!… apricot huigan is strong and distinct — no real sweetness in the actual liquor yet, it’s all in the return. There’s something a little sour in here, too, just accenting everything.
Wet leaf is now aligned more with the liquor — smoky-medicinal. The taste starts mellowing and melding everything together. Smoke starts dissipating, sweetness pokes through a bit more in the liquor.
Super chonky in the beginning… I think I’m on steep twelve or so as I write this, and it is still turning out lovely cups that lean more comforting than curious. Beautiful.
I connected little more open-heartedly with the 2010 Ben Pen I had recently, but this reminded me of that quite a lot — especially with that delicious smoke. I want everyone to love tea in their own way, but I can’t relate to not loving smoky puerh, hehe. I am absolutely thrilled that the Ban Pen is still available, a little sad that this one isn’t… but they are both going on my tea map as reference points of lurrrrrrrve. <3
I found this issue of Global Tea Hut’s magazine dedicated to the Mengsong area, and it covers Baotang specifically. Pretty great resource:
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Beans, Broth, Butter, Camphor, Dandelion, Dried Fruit, Grilled Food, Hay, Herbal, Herbs, Iodine, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Seaweed, Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco