After YS and Chawangshop, it's time for Finepuer/Sampletea again (Finepuer this time). I wondered what this Guang Yun is like, given the availability of 60s and 58 GYG at Essence of Tea. As far as I understand, Guang Yun Gong is not really a puerh so one can not expect it to be entirely puerhlike.
Which it is not. I remember quite well when I had it for the first time, out on a morning bike ride. It felt very strange, almost disgusting to me, too strange to enjoy. I think that I pinpointed the reason for that - this tea hates to be steeped for too short time.
When I steeped this too lightly, I got a peculiar, almost vulgar sweet woodiness, with something very strange which made the tea session not really pleasant. However, I think that this tea has something good about it when steeped for a bit longer than how I steep puerh.
The leaves do not look really like puerh from 90s either, they are darker and "more red" (please excuse the crappy photo, it gets dark quite soon and I do not yet have a good flash). The liquor also looks a bit different, it's deep burgundy red.
The wet leaves smelled like the weird aspect of this tea before they fell apart in the pot. I think that similar weirdness can be obtained if you take a chunk of shu puerh and leave it for a year on open air (indoors) - this happened to me once accidentally and the result was quite unpleasant, similarly to the aspect of this tea. The good thing is, that once the pot is full of soaked leaves, the aroma takes a turn towards dried plums, a pleasant, deep aroma which conquers the weirdness. It is not really that much puerh-like, but it feels aged and good. It has something in common with young-aged pu though - as young-aged tibetian bricks or Liuan do.
The taste reflects the aroma fairly well. Before the chunk fell apart, there was the strange sweet wood again, along with that "aired out shu" aspect. Also, the second half of taste was quite shu-like - along with the aspects I dislike about shu. However, since the 3rd steeping, when the tea went "full power" the taste of dried plums (quite strong and concrete) pretty much dominated the whole taste and made the drinking pleasant. "On the third hand", the full power lasted only a couple of steepings and after that, the tea settled into something inoffensive, decidedly dark and sweet, but without anything particularly lovely.
The taste holds reasonably well in mouth, the liquor is quite thick. I was not impressed by the aftertaste (there is not much to be impressed about, frankly) - there is also a some bitterness and some astringency (especially when I did the lighter steeping). On the other hand, I liked the good mouthfeel and throatfeel. It was not really cooling, but there certainly was an activity in mouth. Another positive is that it comforts my stomach.
I believe that this tea is kind of controversial, probably because of it's special processing. I have no problem excusing a certain degree of controversy in cheap 90s heicha, but from as expensive cake as this one, I'd expect more (well, less actually, in the compartment of negatives/strange aspects). Still, I'm glad that after the unpleasant first encounter, me and this tea found a way to each other and I learned to like some of its aspects and drinking it made me happy. On the other hand, there is still a good deal of strangeness which scares me.