Monday, June 20, 2011
Feminine Or Masculine- A Tasting of 2005 Changtai Bulang "Mr. Old Chen's Tea"
This tea that was cleverly named after the head of Changtai Factory in an attempt to market the brand as a high end puerh factory to Hong Kong during the beginnings of the puerh tea craze. There are a number of dealers still selling this cake for a very reasonable price so one can't help but think that their attempt failed.
One received this rather generous sample from Hobbes of The Half Dipper. There was a rather amusing discussion that took place in the comments section his post on this very tea a few months back. The conversation was between Nicolas of Le The et le Chemin on whether this Bulang was unusually feminine in nature, at least for Bulang puerh. Could it be? A soft feminine version of the rather masculine Bulang?
Let's boil the water, open the sample bag and find out...
The dry leaves emit mild florals and a very light sweet scent. They are very multicoloured with many still covered in hairs if you look a little closer.
The first infusion is prepared and yields a buttery creamy taste with slight florals and soft pine wood that stands out over a very watery bland base flavour. The inial tastes compliment the mild sweet tastes, a very mild sugary sweetness, which returns in the mouth. The aftertaste is of simple dry pine and faint mushroom with a watery-sugary simple base to support it.
The second infusion is prepared much like the first but comes out a bit different. This time a straw-tobacco sweetness is up front in a watery bland base that makes the mouth salivate as flavours of sweet fruits and florals dance in the aroma but don't really materialize in the mouth until late in the aftertaste. Here they are ghostly but long and enjoyable and share space with a deeper, but even more elusive, pine and mushroom base. Menthol notes sometimes share room with in the initial tobacco taste especially as the tea cools slightly. The mouthfeel is full and somewhat tight on the lips and mouth but juicy and smooth in the throat.
The third opens with a flowery, spicy, watery sweetness which retains the light spicy notes as a simple light sugary sweetness returns. The aftertaste contains the high notes of light fruits and florals for a decent time in the mouth- very light but flavourful... feminine. The mouthfeel shows its breadth here stimulating the full mouth and throat in a thin, pasty dry coating that seems just right with such light notes trapped here. The qi is very weak, light, listening to the body and mind and then moving freely throughout. It is sofly energizing and can be most felt in the midbody neutral or very slightly warming things there.
The fourth opens much like the third, light sweet and spicy notes, but this infusion develops into more of a juicy wood base. Very light florals and fruits return but carry a gummy sweetness. The aftertaste further exploits these cheery lingering flavours. The qi moves more into the chest making one feel a touch lofty. It also gives the head a floating into the clouds feeling.
The fifth and sixth infusions open spicy, sweet, and a touch zesty. They turn somewhat tangy before dropping to light florals and fruits in a watery base. A hardly noticeable light hay-wood base supports the inital tastes then it drops off for the lighter notes in the end of the flavour profile. There is an off bland note in the mix moderating the flavour. A simple pine wood taste is most noticeable. The mouthfeel remains whole.
The seventh presents a simple front of spicy wood turning into a light dry wood base. The high notes which added depth and uniqueness have all gone. Some sweetness returns to stay in the aftertaste.
The following infusions hold the line here. Sandy woody notes dominate with ghostly hints of flowers and fruits in the far distance. The aftertaste still attempts to woo with lighter notes just underneath the mouthfeel but not quite coming into fruition.
And so one drinks a few more pots like this enjoying the simple pine wood flavours and decent mouthfeel.