It is questionable whether it is reasonable to buy a whole cake upon a recommendation of a fellow blogger. However, a recommendation of the venerable Hobbes was enough for me to try this cake sold by Yunnan Sourcing. And, although I'm getting ahead of myself here, it was a good hit.
The cake is wrapped in nice, firm paper:
And the dry leaves (the empty piece has been consumed by me, not by mice):
And the card containing more information about the tea:
I love reading these notes. I thought that this cake was "contained with" puerh wrapper paper... but to say that this puerh is contained with high-series, high-Amino Acid of XishuangBanna Menghai Yunnan provice sounds so much cooler, does it not?
The compression has been done probably by osmium hydraulic press. It is the most densely pressed cake I've met so far.
The aroma of dry leaves is quiet (not surprising, given the degree of compression), slightly smoky, like some Bulang teas.
Wet leaves give a more interesting aroma, woody, spicy, quite rich. And almost without smokiness, I consider that good too. The aroma is still quite green and young, but some tones of dry-storage aging are presenting themselves already.
The taste brings me an immediate pleasure. It starts as woody, spicy and leathery (with just a hint of smoke), but gradually moves to more fruity tones which I enjoy. Also a bit of "sweet granary" appears. These new tastes are still mixed with earlier tastes, which gives us a nice complexity. I have to agree with the card contained with the cake here - the taste truly does evolve noticeably. The thickness of the liquor is good, as well as its sweetness. The tea is very strong, but not really harsh. Tannins are unusually high (again, they were similar to en primeur Bordeaux) - luckily they are silk smooth and not quite as disturbing as they could be. They prevent boredom, to say the least. The aftertaste is long and very pleasant, mouth activity is very nice (especially considering this is a big factory production). It is a highly energizing and inspiring tea - there is a lot of things going on in the taste - this is not a simple tea, although the first brews suggested it could be.
Actually, I felt the tea was, especially at the beginning, quite similar to many Bulang teas. Not knowing where Mengsong mountain lies, I looked it up on google maps...and to my pleasure, I found out that it is in the line of Bulang mountains, some 40 km from Bulang mountain itself. My guess at the taste was not completely off then (however, the distances between tea mountains are not that large as one might guess). Compared to most Bulang teas, this cake has more fruitiness and more tannins.
I enjoyed drinking this tea a lot. It is already very nice and nontrivial and I think that it could age into a really great thing - if I had the money and space, I'd buy more of it certainly. It is still not expensive at $31 and it has reached the age where one may reasonably tell what may happen with further aging. Ok, maybe next year I'll buy more.
My spirit is aroused!
Further reading: Half-Dipper