úterý 18. září 2012

2012 Pu-erh.sk You Le

Now, the one I've been looking forward the most from the 2012 Pu-erh.sk bunch. I really like the You Le (or Jinuo shan) teas made by Jinuoshan TF (some of them, while not all very good, are available from YS and Chawangshop).

Dry leaves smell rather interesting, not just green 2012-iness, but fresh apricots too! Goodie.

Wet leaves smell quite good and rich, heavily sweet (it is a good, textured sweetness) and with sort of heavy floweriness. A slightly disturbing glue-ish aroma is there, but it is not really annoying or anything. I guess it is just too much of the floweriness in one place.

The taste is much alike how I imagined these young Jinuoshan teas to be. The sweetness is still there, with good Youle fruitiniess (which I find somewhat similar in some aspect to Jingmai fruitiness; here, it is mostly like apricots), meadow flowers and a bit of young "spring flowers" (Lily of the Valley, or blooming acacia). These spring flowers are like a light kiss of Mao Xie or green TGY, but go well with the rest. I guess that they will be gone in a while anyway. The tea is reasonably bitter and astringent. It's better not to push it too much in my opinion.

An interesting mouth-drying feeling happens when one sips the tea.

Aftertaste is long and fruity, a nice piece of silky bitterness tends to stay on the palate, numbing it a bit. Although I have waited for significant cooling mouthfeel in vain, the after-taste performance as whole is good.

The taste is not too long, but I believe that this shortcoming should be repaired by certain period of aging. 

Around 4th steeping (the exact steeping when it happens is, of course, dependent on how you steep the tea...), the floweriness tends to go away, being replaced by more intense taste of apricots with rather strong sugariness and a some mushrooms (I guess that's what is left of the flowers in the tea). There is still a pronounced bitterness, but it dances away rather quickly and does not annoy one in any way.

It seems that the apricot taste tends to go away next, leaving us a generic mushroomy-sugary liquor which is entirely inoffensive, but not a heavy hitting superhero either.

I enjoyed this tea the most from the 2012 pu-erh.sk offerings I think. However, let me note that I do not think it is as much a matter of quality (the rest is of good quality too) as matter of style - I just like Youle and I tend to be much more picky when it comes to more "conventional" style of puerh. I think this tea is quite accessible - not all young Youles are (e.g., Guanzizai Youle).

Also, it is fun to taste this tea after I've had countless litres of  various Jinuoshan Youles. It's as if you have a good friend you have known for years and then you see photo of him when he was young (i.e., drinking this 2012 Youle), it's fun to try to interpolate when the said friend's nose started to grow, how his facial bones moved as he developed and all that. 

Now, this tea costs the equivalent of $56 for 400g which is a lot compared to Jinuoshan's Youles (and I do not think this tea would be better, it can not be, given its age, obviously), on the other hand, if you enjoy young puerh, consider giving this tea a try - it is cheaper than most young fancy puerhs and for me, it is more interesting than most of them.

Further reading:
Cha & Kung Fu
Tea dropping
The harmony of tea (in czech)

2 komentáře:

  1. Jakub, as usual a great post - especially the bit about seeing a photograph of a good friend as a child and positing guesses about their development. I look forward to trying this tea, I have a sample waiting for me in America, but it will have to wait until Christmas.

    I just recently tried a traditional stored Jingmai from 2007 that you might like - it sounds like it would hit some of the notes you like about this Youle (but be different in several other areas). It probably can't hang in this weight class, it's cheaper material (see:plantation) but enjoyable anyway. Anyway, it is what some of your descriptions triggered in my recent muscle memory. Keep on postin.

  2. Hi TwoDog, thanks a lot!
    Indeed, Jingmai is another favourite area of mine. And I feel it has a lot in common with Youle actually. So what you say sounds good.

    I have no problem with plantation leaves as such. I think that lower quality of some plantation material is more a matter of overharvesting than of the very fact that it is a plantation.

    Plus, 2007 and traditional storage sounds way better than fresh 2012 :) At least for consumption, I'm not speaking of aging.
    All the best!