After the ultra-mighty Yiwu and still-a-lot-mighty Mengsong from Wistaria, the Nannuo comes. I hope you excuse me calling these cakes by their origin and not by their name. Unfortunately, if you got half as lost in their real names as I get, you would not know what I'm writing about at all.
Hobbes has recently written how he dislikes Nannuo in general. We certainly share that. However, while it is too namby-pamby for him, I dislike it for being too brutal (the young ones). But I believe I do not have to remind you of the story when Hobbes was kidnapped by terrorists and with no ransom paid, they decided to execute him. They agreed that forcing him to drink pure sulphuric acid is a good and painful way of execution. Esteemed Hobbes, though, gulped the acid and said "Ah, this is jolly good, strong. How much for a bing?" Thinking they confused acid with another liquid, the terrorists drank the rest of the acid to verify their confusion. They died screaming... and so Hobbes became free.
As much as I prefer not to drink young Nannuo tea, my limited data on slightly aged Nannuo suggests, that it may get very good eventually. The 2001 Gu Puer Nannuo was a decent tea, certainly not too brutal. And this Wistaria Nannuo is much better.
When I opened the pouch with the sample, a friendly aroma of slightly aged leather greeted me. The leaves are pretty, with a nice color, given the 10 years of age. As far as I can tell from the sample, the degree of pressing is high.
Putting the leaves into a preheated pot makes them release an interesting sweetness and more agedness.
The wet leaves offer a good and balanced mix of aromas: wood, leather, perhaps tobacco, animality, dark fruitiness (plum jam, black cherries).
The liquor is lighter than the of Yiwu, but it's appropriate for a 10 years (reasonably dry stored, I guess) old tea.
The taste is heavy (the liquor is megaultrathick), like lightly aged leather, some black cherries, and herbs, maybe some tobbaco too. As with other Wistaria teas, I find it difficult to describe it. Nevertheless, it is powerful (though, due to the thickness, slightly distant).
Bitterness is very low (unless you want to have some; it can be done), astringency is nontrivial, but not really disturbing.
The aftertaste contains some woody smoke. The smoke got into the main taste when I prepared the tea in a tester. Nevertheless, it's a rather nice sort of smoke, I do not mind it. The later phase of aftertaste is accompanied by a very good cooling (with camphor taste) and activity.
The qi of this tea works strongly with me! It went especially to my head. It has effects unlike any other tea I have drank.
This is, in my opinion a lot more masculine tea than the previous one, the Mengsong, which was light, fruity and flowery. This one is darker and "more serious", but not unpleasant in any way. From the world of wine, it reminds me of some less fruity Syrahs. From a world of tea, the Haiwan Purple Bud of 2007 (the 2006 is quite different) offers similar spectrum of tastes. It is simpler and some of the tastes are mixed in a different ratio, but I still find the similarity interesting.
It tasted less sweet to me than the Yiwu and Mengsong. It was actually a bit too little sweet to me when I used tap water. However, with stove water, all is fixed and the tea presents luxurious, smooth and sweet liquor. I'm looking forward to the next Wistaria tea!