sobota 31. srpna 2013

2008 EoT Bulang & 2013 Guafengzhai

Today, it will be the last two of the new offerings by EoT (I'll write about the chemical tasting set later, I still could not get to it - but it's high on my TOTASTE list). Let's start with the one I liked less...

2013 Guafengzhai
Even though I enjoy GFZ teas very much in general, this one was a disappointment.

It starts with aroma. You can blame some Yiwu teas for lack of taste/aggressivity, etc., but only seldom for bad aroma of rinsed leaves. Here, it is not downright bad, it's just not too interesting - some wet straw, flowers and incense. It smells like a GFZ, but without some important components.

In mouth, the fact from the last sentence is accentuated. When you drink this, it's obvious how alike it is to good GFZ, but it lacks the deep sweetness and some other heavier tastes I like so much. It is more leathery, with some sort of floralness, but nothing too great. 

Both gongfu and tester preparation were disappointing with ordinary water. I attempted to redeem the material with stove water. If stove water does not  make tea good, nothing will. It helped... sort of. First two steepings were again not very interesting, but third and fourth were quite nice - some fruitiness and depth appeared. These two were all right. Unfortunately, the tea then degraded back to ordinary ordinariness...

It is reasonably thick, but the rather high astringence prevents that "liquid gold" coating feeling.

Mouthfeel is decent, but you'd probably expect more from this calibre of tea... The qi is easily detectable, but it's only like an echo of something stronger and more original.

Visually, the leaves look all right - thick, furry, obviously from old trees... but it just does not work too well together, I'm afraid.

This all is not to say that I did not enjoy the sessions with this tea at all - I did, to an extent (I always try to enjoy even not-great teas), it's just the price that's sky-high, while the quality is not.

08 Bulang
Now, a lot better tea, in my opinion. This is precisely the sort of Bulang tea I like very much and, unfortunately, it is not that easy to come by. I don't say there is no tea like this, but when you Monte-Carlo buy a Bulang, there's a good chance it won't be like this. The closest representative of that cluster is 2003 Liquid gold, with a bit more distant cousin 2001 Golden melon tribute  and even more distant, but still similar, 2003 Bulang Jing Pin.

The dry leaves smell very nice, sweet, with a bit of mint. 

The wet leaves smell dark, thick sweet (caramel-style), with, again, a minty component, which gets a lot stronger as the tea cools down. When I revisited the leaves left overnight, it was almost mintier than my toothpaste. It is completely free of smoke, which is good. Nada notes, at his website, that there are hints of something that was once a little smokiness... I'm generally wary of such claims by vendors, as tea labelled this way often tastes as leaves that spent a couple of years in a chimney, smoking a cigarette, containing hints of anything but smoke. 

The liquor has good color, clarity and aroma, bolstering my belief that this was indeed very well stored. Not too dry, not too wet, not too hot, nor cold - it seems just right.

It tastes of deeply sweet wood and forest honey. These two aspect very nicely mingle with the mintiness, which is quite uncommon - definitely different from, e.g., Mengku-style camphor. Now, this description is not that long, is the tea any good? Yes, it is. A tea does not have to have million cooperating tastes to be good - this tea may have fewer discernable taste, but it concentrates on making these tastes strong, elegant and well rounded.

The aftertaste is very good, the fresh plums - mei zi. It is accompanied by good activity and cooling (when one lets the leaves cool down, the mintiness is almost extreme). The qi is medium-strong, which is a rather good feat for a tea of this age.

The tea, despite being pretty good, has some imperfections. There is still some of that Man'E-sort-of-bitterness that does not like to go away. The bitterness and astringency can be pleasant in some sort of tea, but not in this one - they should go away. And third, the tea could be a bit more full. It's not hollow by any means, but when one recollects the great 03 "Liquid gold" cake, it was even more rounded and concentrated. Anyway, as all these matters should go away as this tea ages, I would not be worried they'd spoil the tea for much longer than 5 or so years... Of course, only if you have a place with decent aging conditions, which, I think, is not nearly as common as some think. I suggest reading MarshalN's recent post.

One last issue one could have with this tea is its declaration - I just don't think it's completely from ancient trees... maybe a half or so... But a) it's just my opinion, b) age of trees means nothing on its own. 

This is also not exactly a cheap tea, but the price sounds rather justifiable to me, given the overall rarity of this sort of Bulang tea and expected improvement with aging. I might consider buying one when I get to the UK...

2 komentáře:

  1. I preordered last years gfz and was similarly disappointed with its performance. But it has since grown in to a very nice tea .I have not tried this tea.But possibly this is going through a similar period.

    1. Hello Bradley,
      it is possible indeed... Well, I guess we shall see after many years how things really are. With pu, it's always difficult how much it changes and oscillated throughout its aging...