čtvrtek 23. srpna 2012

2005 Changtai Peak of the cloud

In my rediscovery of the once-all-the-rage Changtai, I ventured into drinking this 2005 piece from the Chinese Teashop (tCT). The 2005 Jing pin from there was very enjoyable and although the Peak's dry leaves smelled a touch less attractive, I looked forward to tasting it too.

The leaves are good looking indeed, faithfully to the description on tCT. They emit a pleasant odor of lightly aged Yiwu (that camphorish "oomph") and honey with nuts. 

Wet leaves smell very complex and so much in harmony that I find it difficult to pick up single features. There is sweet wood, nuts, raisins and that bit of camphor. The list could end here and the tea would still sound good, but there is something extra, something like berries, that makes the aroma more complex and more fresh.

The liquor is a bit lighter than it seems from this too dark photo. It is lightly amber and pleasant to look and smell. The aroma is more luscious than in young Yiwu which, in my opinion, tends to smell quite similary to one another, or does not smell that all.

The taste is "appointing" (like non-disappointing), well together and intense enough. In most brews (the tea did not develop wildly), it was mid-heavy, rather thick (i.e., a bit less than most Yiwus of this age), the components of aroma are generally in the taste too. The honey sweetness is less pronounced than it could be, on the other hand, this tea may feel more balanced this way. There are the nuts and raisins - a most pleasant combination. 

The taste, although intense and balanced enough, does not quite reach the true peaks of "this is shockingly good" clouds. But very good, it is.

The aftertaste is also a positive feature here, departing from the nuts slowly and approaching the aftertaste of scotch whiskey (not Laphroaig :)), becoming light, fresh fruitiness after a minute or so.

The cooling and active mouthfeel is present which raises this tea even higher.

I do like this tea, as I did like the Jingpin. They both have good aroma, good taste, good aftertaste and good mouthfeel. Which of today's fancy $100 young teas can boast all of that? I can not remember any. They may become that, some of them, I guess. They may become better. However, how probable is that, given the great demand for good leaves? I guess that the correlation between great demand and overharvested trees (or entirely fake leaves) is a nontrivial one, thus it may be questionable, how strong with force will the young cakes be. Why to pay so much money for questionably good products when there are far cheaper teas that have "sat down" a bit and developed some actual complexity?

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