After the excellent 2001 Yi Wu by Yong Pin Hao, let us have a look at 2001 Yi Wu by Jin Chang Hao. Same year, sort of same area, it should be similar. Actually, they are not similar at all, due to different storage. It confirms that puerh is quite a multidimensional thing - I see five dimensions - area of origin; age; storage; age of trees; cultivation of trees. Preparation is another thing. The high number of dimensions may be confusing at first, but on the other hand, it gives us great complexity - I generally drink only puerh these days and I am never bored.
My tea setup today, the Yiwu teapot prepared...
The difference between this 2001 Yi Wu and the Yong Pin Hao one is obvious at the moment when one smells and sees the dry leaves. Mild wet storage aroma is present and the leaves are already brown, while the YPH still had hints of green and had no aged aroma.
The aroma of liquor also suggests what I think from looking at and smelling the leaves - the tea has gone through some wet storage, but not too much/not too wet. Interesting and not too usual hints of cinnamon complement the aged aroma.
I do not really feel any remnants of the Yiwu taste in the tea, but that is usual price one pays for aged tea. The taste is nutty and aged and a bit of plums. Not as deep, sweet and thick as more aged tea, but still pretty nice. It does not have that sourness and unpleasantness of teas that have undergone heavy wet storage. But what I like about Yiwu is the fruitiness or taste of cocoa - these do not appear in this tea really. If you tortured me brutally (young CNNP?), I would maybe say I found some overripe apples in later brews (from 8th brew .or so on), but nothing too intensive. Sadly, the cinnamon is not present in the taste.
The mouthfeel is not really that strong either, but it, at last, lasts long. The tea overall lasts long, giving many consistent infusions.
The wet leaves are not really that strong, nor firm, when rubbed, they tend to break - again, as one would expect when a tea went through mild wet storage. Heavily wet stored teas break even more easily upon rubbing.
Where the 2001 Yong Pin Hao was complex, intense and noble, this tea is actually rather simple and only "nice", both tastings I've had came out like that. It does not yet have the energetic/mouthfeel complexities of older teas.
Where I felt I would pay the high price for 2001 YPH, I feel that this tea is too expensive for me, for what it offers (being slightly cheaper, but much less interesting). From the aged teas I have tried, I thought the 1980s bamboo-wrapped tuocha from EoT to have the best performance/price ratio (and the Xiaguan 8653 to be the best overall - but the 88 Qing Bing will soon challenge it).
I still have not freed myself from the shackles of taste in tea (and I see little reason in forcing myself to do so). Not that I would not enjoy aged teas where the taste is not that crucial, but I do not feel the need to drink them on daily basis (where I enjoy to drink tea from 2001-2005 daily).
Further reading: Half-Dipper