Thought it would be interesting to prepare back to back notes on these two autumn Man Zhuan cakes (only later did one stumble on Hobbes post which also featured both these two cakes as well). Thanks to Hobbes for sending these guys last year in a big box of samples. The cakes are both available from Yunnan sourcing (see here and here). What makes them interesting is that they are from the same family farm. Found it interesting, but not too surprising, that they had such pronounced differences. Let's see what the two sessions have for us, the 2009 pictures are on the top and the 2010 pictures on the bottom both are above the relevant text.
The dry leaves of the 2009 smell of gritty, foresty, light, barely menthol, pungent odours in medium chunky leaves. A faint malty plum is also found in there but is very very faint.
The 2010 leaves have a sweet, light, fruity-floral smell over a sweet-tangy, wild forest smell. Already the differences are quite apparent.
The 2009 first infusion yields very watery, bland, sweet notes with just the slightest edge of strawberry in the aftertaste. Mainly there is just watery empty tastes. The mouthfeel is also very light.
The 2010 is watery, but with a creamy floral initial taste which fades into a faint spicy-plum over nice creamy notes. Minutes later a foresty taste is left in the mouth. The mouthfeel is chalky in the mouth.
The second infusion the '09 starts off with an empty-watery, forest and buttery initial taste with only a slight sweet edge. A slight, cool edge makes a ghostly return to the mouth with slight, barely fruit odours coming later. The mouthfeel is light and pasty up front, sticky on the tongue and root.
The '10 has a sour-dirty-pungent, forest initial taste that leaves a sweet-floral taste in the chalky mouthfeel. There is a dirty forest-tobacco like taste that comes up later.
The third infusion is still the same initial taste for the '09 but the finish is now a forest, buttery, slightly cooling, barely fruit taste. The mouthfeel becomes quite expansive and opens the throat to an increasing returning coolness. The mouthfeel seems to bind the aftertaste into something substantial from a rather empty initial taste.
The '10 presents a sour-floral, dirty-forest, initial taste with the creamy floral taste stuggling under the gritty base. The mouthfeel is a slightly coarse-chalky type with the top throat begining to open a bit. Minutes later a cooling, dirty, slightly tobacco taste comes up and fine floral taste is in the breath.
The fourth infusion of the 2009 starts an empty, watery, creamy initial taste with a very soft barely forest, buttery sweet, faint floral finish that feels like a cloud on the mouth. Its creamy sweetness seems fused with the sticky mouthfeel now coating the mouth and upper throat. Minutes later a soft spicy note mixes with the sweet buttery creamy. The qi si mild and lightens the chest when breathing. The substantial mouthfeel holds flavours in the mouth for a long time.
The fourth infusion for the 2010 was less revealing. I delivers sour, dirty-tobacco like initial taste which turns into heavy, malty, sweet florals. The florals slowly lighten into a more creamy sweet base. There is a cool sensation in the top throat. The qi causes one to breathe deeper and lighter as it disperses mainly in the chest.
The 09 fifth infusion offers up a very soft, sweet, malty initial taste which transfers to a creamy, sweet, fluffy aftertaste which lingers in the mouth. Overall very similar to the fourth.
The 10 looses some of the harsher sour edges in the fifth infusion. It presents with malty, slight forest initial taste which contains a sweet, malty, floral-cloudy, creamy buttery finish which is left on the tongue. A slight apple taste is had on the breathe now.
The 09s sixth and seventh offer a watery, empty, even bland initial taste with thick, buttery, malty, bland-sweet aftertaste. The aftertaste has subtle creamy floral dimension that also stays on the breath. The sticky mouthfeel continues to hold.
The 10s sixth and seventh offer a lighter, malty, slight forest initial taste. The finish becomes a obvious malty, sweet, creamy, long cloudy floral finish. The mouthfeel is a touch dry and lightly chalky. The qi is mainly felt in the chest and warms the head.
In the eighth the 2009 cake presents a bland, malty-pear initial taste which now has a spicy-malty edge over a predominately sour-bland base taste. The creamy tastes have now subsided and is just lingering in the background. The ninth infusion sees the bitter profile dominating the initial taste then slowly fading barely revealing any creamy sweetness. The tenth infusion sees a watery, barely sweet apple inital taste with barely creamy aftertaste. The eleventh is much the same with very faint spiciness in the aftertaste.
In the eighth, ninth, and tenth infusions of the 2010 cake, the initial tastes become more empty and watery with a sour-bitter edge now becoming dominant. The aftertaste slowly looses its long high note, creamy sweet floral finish after each infusion. The qi is starting to beat up the stomach a bit here and the mouthfeel becomes grainier with the chalkiness dropping off completely.
Link to Hobbes (The Half-Dipper) Tasting Notes