sobota 20. července 2013

2005 Zi Pin (Yiwu, Wistaria)

As the 2003 version of the Zi Pin felt so good to me, I wondered what it would be like to taste its younger counterpart. Due to extraordinary kindness of Wistaria, I got a sample of that for tasting.

The last session was a night one, sorry for flash photos...

... and a comparison to 2003 (the big fellow to the right):

The 2003 Zi Pin is a bit browner, compared to dark green-brown of the 2005, but the difference does not seem to be huge.

The rinsed leaves have that trademark Wistaria house aroma, with some sweet wood and red  fruit, accompanied by light woody smoke (Xiaguan <=2003  style); if one inhales deeply, there are some dried herbs. It is not really that attractive, being similar to the 2003, but lacking the ellegance and inner harmony the latter has. While the actual difference is probably quite small, it makes a big impact on my perception of pleasantness. 

The liquor is just a bit lighter than that of 2003 - not a big difference here.

The taste... The tea is reasonably thick (not as much as the 2003 though) and quite pleasant, though not really shining awesome. The first steepings contain a taste of clay (young, not aged), sweet dry wood and red fruit. There is also a some smokiness, which is not bad, but not that great either. Slight plummy taste (sort of like in Cheng Guang He Tang's autumnal Yiwu of 2006) is a good addition. The components I described, plums aside, tend to be quite awful in too dry stored teas, but as the storage of this one seems to be just right, it works rather well. Anyway, the taste in the first (circa five) steepings is not as easygoing and harmonized as that of the 2003 version.

Luckily, after a while, things get better - the smoke goes away and the taste gets cleaner and more pleasant. After the 4th or 5th steeping, it is really very similar to how the 2003 version tastes. The not-that-great red fruit turns into more pleasant overripe variant, the sweet plums become more pronounced and the tea enters the state of harmony. It is dark in feeling, I think, but warming.

Feeling in mouth is good, lubricating, with pleasant activity, which is nicely accompanied by light and rather pleasant astringency.

Qi... that's the reason why I was semi-crazy about the 2003 Zipin and, unfortunately, I find it quite lacking in the 2005 version. Throughout the session, enough qi accumulated and harmonized me in the end, but it was nowhere near that qi smasher the 2003 was.

This tea is quite a lot cheaper than the 2003 version (about 70% of the 2003's price, according to my notes), but where I grabbed the 2003 cake as soon as I could, I don't think I'd be that keen to buy this 2005 cake. In the second half of the session, it was quite good in both sessions I had it, but the first halves were rather disappointing, unfortunately (still, we're talking "this is quite good, but not nearly as great as the 2003", not "this tea sucks"). The 2003 was 70% about qi to me, with the other 30% being "decent mouthfeel and taste" - if you cut that qi bonus and some of the taste for the initial phase of steeping, you get a tea which is clearly not as good as the 2003 version. I wonder whether it is more a matter of aging or material. I'm guessing material, but it would be nice to be wrong.

Nevertheless, thank you very much, Wistaria, I enjoyed this tea!

6 komentářů:

  1. Next time, ask for the Youle from 2006. Virtually the only Youle I've had that's anywhere close to the 2006 Sanhetang in quality, and it's a bit different in taste such that it's a bit fruitier. I don't think of it as a qi-monster, though. I also liked the 2003 Round Cake Youle that YS sells (I think, if I'm wrong, it's a 2003 6FTM)--and I think my experience of that tea is important because it's in the same genre as the 2006 XZH, and gives me a good clue how my cake will age. It's mostly plantation though, and will have some nasty plantation tendencies, but careful brewing gives a good experience, and late brews after the plantation dies is nice.

    I'm always impressed that you and others think so much of the Zi Pin. The 100g tuo I drank up was nice, but rather not as hearty as I'd like it to be, and I've never had much qi from it. Perhaps it's just the lower quality leaves that went into the tuo. Then again, most Yiwu I've had with strong qi was GFZ, one way or another. Was well worth the money I paid for it, anyways.

    1. Hello!
      Thanks for the tip on Youle, sounds good.

      You know, this tasting of 2005/2003 showed me how little difference can mean so much. In things I could easily describe (taste, mouth activity), the teas are 80-90% the same. But the overall bodyfeel and qi, or whatever you call it, makes all the difference. If the tuo was more like thi 2005 cake, no wonder that you were not impressed - I was not really as impressed with this either, even though it is undeniably decent.

    2. I gave Biohorn the last 15 grams of it, and he reported that enjoyed it very much. Definitely a nice 2003 tuo (which I kept thinking acted like a mengsong because of a certain way it was heavy and slightly sour in the very beginning, but as you went on, it would have refined wood and leather tastes, but only delicately so)

    3. Wait, I re-read your original review of the tea, no, that sounds like what it is. You just seem to get a heckuva lot more qi from it than I do.

    4. Aye, that could be so. I mean, even this 2005 is quite like the 2003, except for being less strong in qi. Thus, I think that there two possibilities - either the tuo is weaker in qi overall, or the particular material does not work for you, which is also perfectly possible. I think that TwoDog wasn't that blown away by the 2003 Zipin either...

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