čtvrtek 13. června 2013

1999 Dadugan

This YYY-rated cake (it comprises Yibang, Youle and Yiwu) is, I have been given to understand, rather famous. I've been told that Cloud wrote about it somewhere, but I could not find the article... if some of you know of it, please post a link in a comment.

Dry leaves smell lightly of nuts (smells like Yiwu) and meadow flowers (smells like Youle). They are actually quite light, almost green in a couple of places. That is interesting, given that the tea was in Banna until 2006 (Kunming since then). The overall slower rate of aging could be also due to heavy compression, but it is interesting that the surface is not darker.

The dry leaves give away the Yiwu and Youle origins (the former via a sort of nuttiness, the latter via meadow flowers), I can't really pinpoint yet how aged Yibang tastes so I don't know about that.

The rinsed leaves emit a fairly strong and pungent aroma, with red fruit, various sorts of wood, a bit of camphor, a bit of pears, maybe. Anyway, there is a lovely "mysterious" sweetness which promises good things to come.

The color of liquor is interesting - while it is rather dark, it has an unusual tint. Possibly the result of mixed storage? Or an amount of small-leaf varietal leaves? I do not know. 

The taste very much depends on how you prepare this. I had much better success using less leaves. I believe that there is a lot of wild leaves in the cake and the drying bitterness it can pump up is absolutely brutal (I am really a fan of wild material). In my first session with the tea, I was beaten by a mile - I had to do four rinses before the searing lava became a drinkable tea. 

When too much leaves were used (which was circa 8g for 120ml pot), the tea was overpoweringly bitter, rather hollow, not sweet, nor good enough. Some taste components (the sort of fruitiness) was shared with Red Dayi cakes. After a couple of rinses, an elegant taste of precious woods and incense came up. While the activity and qi were good, the taste and bitterness were rather prohibitive.

When I later used less leaves (as little as 4g per 120ml), using a bit longer steeping times than usual, the tea suddenly became a lot better. The bitterness and tannins were still obviously present, but not anymore being the first and dominant thing one perceived - they ran in the background, so to say. There appeared a good sweetness and fullness of body, in the sort of pleasant, sweet-granary Yiwu. This base was nicely accompanied by the aged floweriness (probably of Youle) and the remains of taste of garden fruit. There was still some wood and incense, but it also tended to appear later in the session.

Overall, the taste is not yet in harmony, I believe. There are various small tastes and aromas which distract one from the "big picture" the tea conveys. Also, the wild bitterness is really wild and needs to age away (will it?) for the tea to become pleasant.

Despite the overall "dry" character (the feeling probably comes from the drying bitterness and not-too-humid storage), the tea had obvious and strong qi, though perhaps not as friendly as some other teas have. 

Likewise, the tea causes good vibrations and activity in mouth, especially the palate.

The tea rather reminds me of some Bordeaux wines... you taste it in a time, when wines from some other regions would be at their peak... and the wine is still harsh, tanninic and obviously not for drinking yet. Therefore, you wait another 5-10 years before opening another bottle; and that is precisely what I would do with this Dadugan. It has undoubtable qualities, but at its current state, it is really too brutal to be simply enjoyed.

8 komentářů:

  1. I think the bitterness part varies. My first try with this tea, this was not bitter. My recent second try of this tea, I was relatively surprised at the bitterness and lack of sweetness (which was true of the first, but now more experienced in older Yiwu tea, expecting some Yiwu sweetness).

    It does have a nice camphor and wood taste, but I found it too coherent and somewhat lacking in dynamic qualities. If it's lacking in dynamic qualities, then I want sweetness, comfortable texture and body, qi for that mellow drinking. There was some qi, but not so much as to be remarkable. This is one tea I consider to be very overpriced, and the (recent)best session of 2007 Sanhetang Yiwu Chawang is much better than either of my '99 Dadugang gancang tries. I much prefer the '99 Song Charactered, the '98 Yieh Sheng. I would, however, be happy to drink this tea. It's pretty good (especially as it has some qi), but pretty good is all it is.

    Will it age into better tea? I don't know. Even when you're dry-storing a tea, bitterness will mellow after about seven to ten years. That's the whole point of the first stage of maturity--newish flavor that's mellowed and less harsh. The Dadugang is definitely the most bitter aged high quality Yiwu I've had. It's fourteen years old.

  2. This Dadugan is the second compression, left on this pic http://www.cloudsteacollection.com/puerh01/A1867.jpg . Its different material with the first batch (which is pretty limited in quantity and its pure Yiwu). Also cant be easy compare with 99 Song Character which is pure Yiwu and also 3 times more expensive. Of course the 99 Song must be better ! Or 98 Ye sheng.....More info about the Dadugan cake is in Cloud´s website http://www.cloudsteacollection.com/html/webart/webart022_e.html .

  3. How do you know it's the second batch? If it is, then it's indeed quite consistent with the description of bitter taste. Cloud's article mentioned it in a rather implicit manner. When he said, in the second back, "da du gang factory materials were mixed in", I believe he means roasted green (what was produced by the factory at that time) was mixed in. The Uromochi article linked in Cloud's article tells the story more explicitly.

  4. This story (and the timeline involved) also indicates that whether Chang Tai's 99 Yi Chang Hao was produced in 1999 is rather questionable - not that it matters to the taste of the tea, but a lot of aftertaste about how Chang Tai handles the production year issue.

  5. Twodog: Do I have your address? I could send you a piece...

    Gingko: Honza told me that it's the second batch. Indeed, the bitterness is unusual. Is there a translation of the Cloud's article?

  6. Probably you need to use google translate. Cloud's article is mainly about the tea itself. The two links in his article have more gossip type of stories :-p

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