Cold days call for warm tea. Thus, when I returned from -15° forest, where I was struck by a panic attack, I felt in need of good tea. The other day, friends were supposed to come to taste some of more aged tea from Essence of tea, so I thought we'd start with this one.
I did not take any photos in both tastings I did, concentrating on the tea solely. This may seem as some kind of weird wannabe zen, but it is not, it just came naturally. Photos may be found at http://www.essenceoftea.co.uk/tea/puerh-tea/aged-puerh/1997-henglichang.html
First time brewing it with the other two teachums, I probably used too much leaves. First brews were strong, sweet, aged, but very bitter - the bitterness did not transform or go away. I'd dare to call the first brews unpleasant. After five or so brews, the bitterness gradually vanished and was replaced by a pleasant, rather aged taste. Having good stamina, the tea has produced another 10 brews, so we parted as friends.
More about the second tasting, which was better: I used less leaves and it payed an immediate dividend. The taste was pleasant right away. Although it smells, looks and tastes aged already, that good "sweet bulang granary" taste may be still caught. I'm very glad for that, I wanted to see where good Bulang may get and was a bit afraid this one would be so aged that the retracing of taste development would be impossible. My worries were unjustified and, ultimately, uprooted.
After drinking more and more aged tea, my appreciation of them shifts from taste (which is mostly rather similar) to general feeling they give and their mouthfeel. If one would drink aged tea for taste, he could be easily disappointed. A month ago, I did a side-by-side tasting of 92 Da Ye maocha from essence of tea and 2007 Lincang Te Ji shupu. The taste was sort of similar indeed. The mouthfeel was what clearly distinguished these two teas from each other.
I do think that tastes can be described by words, to an extent. I lack words to describe the whole spectrum of feelings a tea's energy does though. I can say that this Bulang is calming, yet vibrant on the tongue - but I can say that about most aged teas too.
Getting lost in words here, I'll finish this tasting note by saying this is a very nice and worthwhile tea for a price which does not murder one's wallet.
Wu Xing Cloud