After the last tasting round by Yunnan Sourcing, I'll move to teas that Peter from Pu-erh.sk kindly sent me. I'm looking forward to this round too - Scott's teas were mostly from northern areas of puerhmaking, which I do not particularly crave - Peter's samples are, I believe, from more southern areas. Not knowing the pricing/background, I started today with Naka, as I remember reading about how lovely the place is. What a good start!
The leaves are large and wholely whole. They smell pleasantly of sugar and grass - but in a good, puerh way, not lucha..
Rinsed leaves smell very good. There are dark flowers, brown sugar, a bit of leather and light fresh fruitiness at the end. Overall, very pleasant, sort of similar to Mengsong from the last year, but more complex and penetrating.
The liquor starts yellow (dazzling yellow :)) and gradually heads for orange.
Tastebuds are first shocked by short burst of powerful, but transforming bitterness and medium astringence (which lasts a while, though not too long), but quickly rejuvenated by pleasant and swiftly coming huigan and good taste. Even though this is still a young puerh, the usual mixture of garden fruit and floweriness is more interesting and powerful than usual. Also, it is not too distant, which is unfortunately the case with some of old tree teas. The main taste is lightly bolstered with (brown sugar)-like sweetness and then shifts towards very fresh fruitiness in the aftertaste (Mengsong/Jingmai style). The aftertaste is long and good (it goes on for minutes).
The good stuff does not end with taste. The activity in mouth is strong and clean, goes even back into throat and lasts long (again, in strong steepings, it can go for minutes, which is quite rare, imho). And qi is strong with this one. I never had a tea which would feel like this one, qi-wise (it sort of feels like I'm an old forest in a valley, with a crystal clear stream running through me, though such comparisons are very inaccurate), though some were close. Anyway, it is very strong and obvious to me, which is good.
The used leaves are strong, thick and almost free of broken bits. Also, the degree of burning/overoxidation is very low.
This is a mighty good tea. It is very expensive (something like $160 per 357 bing, if one could buy whole cake, which you can't, as the purchase quantity is limited), but there are many cakes that are very expensive and not all them deliver the necessary quality - this Naka does, at least now. If its aging does not suck, it might become very complex and all-around excellent. When one looks at it in context of other teas of this age, it already is.
I'm very glad that someone from near here can make such a good tea. Congratulations, Peter!