Marlon of Chanteas has kindly offered to send me a sample of this cake, at that time being Bulang costing $80. I gladly accepted his offer (why not, after all, if I am not pressed to write nicely about bad tea - which is certainly not this case). The tea may be bought at http://www.chanteas.com/products/2008-bulang-mountain-br-sheng-puer
Before I get to the tea itself - when I tasted it for the first time, I thought it quite unlike any Bulang I've had. It was much more a member of one Lincang taste cluster. My friend, Honza of Chawangshop has discovered that it is indeed from Lincang, Mengku, the tea also being available from Taobao for $8 (it may be a fake though, the tea is much better than that). Anyway, the tea is now listed as Mengku and the price has been lowered to still premium, but "ok premium" $55.
To the tea itself - upon opening the packaging (good packaging, by the way), sweet, candy-like aroma has punched me in the nose and I felt somewhere between "wow" and "ugh". The leaves are very nice:
Wet leaves smell more or less the same as dry leaves, except, of course, deeper and darker.
The liquor smells similarly...and tastes similarly. First it felt weird to me as I haven't drank similar tea for a long time. But after spending some hours with it, we eventually became colleagues, if not friends.
The color is nice, proper, unprocessed. That's how I like it. Now, back to the taste. It is heavily sweet, marzipan and vanilla-like, nicely fruity after a while. A bit of eucalyptus/camphor is present. Similar character, though not in this amount may be found in Xiaguan Happy Tuo. Czech readers might have met Longfeng Purple label of 2010 which, in my opinion, falls into the same/similar cluster in the way of taste (it has a different feeling though). Anyway, this tea is really inebriating, I see what Marlon means when writing that one could easily get tea drunk by this. The mouthfeel is very nice, the tea is thick and the mouth-tingling is clear and pleasant - definitely one of more powerful teas in this way.
In general, it is very powerful, lasts fiendishly many brews while being still strong.
I think this is a high quality tea, which is quite unusual (it is like an extract of a certain puerh taste) - actually, too unusual for me. Although I can see noticeable qualities in the tea, I'm probably too used to other regions right now to say I straightforwardly enjoyed it. Nevertheless, I'm very glad I've been offered this sample, it has been a very interesting meeting. I actually think that many people would enjoy this tea immensely.
The price...I am reluctant to believe that this would cost $8, the quality points much higher. I think that the asking price of $55 is not crazy.
As a sidenote, Marlon has added a nicely sized sample of his Tie Luo Han Wu Yi wulong. Not bad I have to say! In the way of price, it is somewhere between standard Wu Yi and the sample of Essence of Tea's I've had recently. This holds true in the area of quality too - it has a good energy and nice, complex taste.