Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Familiar and Unfamiliar- 2005 Long Yuan Hao Bulang and 2005 Long Yuan Hao Gelanghe
The Bulang is no longer pictured on the website but had a near identical wrapper to the Gelanghe (below) with the only major difference is the area name and color of the wrapper was a blue/green color, I believe. Actually, I did not receive a cake of the Bulang instead I cleared out their last four large and intact 90g samples (360g in total for $27.96 or $0.08/gram). 2005 puerh with this price tag is seriously cheap!
Please, sit down and join me in drinking this 2005 Long Yuan Hao Bulang…
The leaves smell of lingering cherry fruits.
The first infusion starts with nice cinnamon and slightly pungent note which has a soft creamy, barely cooling aftertaste. There is a slightly lingering astringency underneath and rounds out the taste. The monthfeel and thoatfeel is fairly full chalky and smooth.
The second infusion is full of pungent, sweet creamy cherry and notes up front which transition to creamy full sweet aftertaste. There is a just a noticeable cooling through the profile with the creamy sweetness in the aftertaste. Underneath the taste there is just barely a lingering resemblance of aged Bulangesque bitterness that very faintly skirts around.
The third infusion has more of that slightly edgy slight fullness over a balance of creamy sweetness and slight strongish taste. The cherry fruit note is distinct here. It has a nice opening mouthfeel full of sweet creamy fruits and starts to finish a bit milky-creamy tasting as well.
The fourth is much the same very long fruity finish now. There is some bitterness to this tea but it is more of a full flavor than a true bitterness. This is how bitterness should evolve from a fresh newly pressed puerh to an 11 year aged purh. It is more of a bitter fullness than an intolerable bitter taste. There is a rubbery feeling left in the mouth.
The fifth and infusion has much less complexity. Things really fall off and thin out here. There are still some bright berry tastes to enjoy but they are less vibrant.
The sixth becomes much more of that astringent, barely milky-creamy, bitterness with just slight suggestions of sweetness and even fainter cooling aftertastes.
This Bulang has very classic Bulang tastes but sadly no stamina. Nevertheless, it is a great daily drinker and a real deal for the price. More importantly it has reminded me how much I love the Bulang profile. I have a few Bulang cakes from the 90s that I managed to not drink through that I now have quite an appetite for. This puerh has also sparked some interest in my next puerh mission- to find good semi-aged Bulang tea. Any suggestions?
A google search for Gelanghe puerh only gets one English hit- a 2003 Six Famous Mountains cake on the Half-Dipper. This is really a mysterious or forgotten Menghai region. I paid just $35.50 forthe last 400g cake at Awazon in my second order from them ($0.09/gram).
The dry leaves smell of sweet aged dates.
The first infusion is very watery with a strong sweet sugar cane taste that slowly evolves into soft date tastes. The mouthfeel is soft and slightly chalky. The aftertaste is mild with a sweet melon taste slowly evolving minutes later.
The second infusion starts sweet again but has a slight counterbalance of very mild sour and slighty bitter notes that are barely noticeable. The juicy sweet taste evolves in the mouth and from more sugar to honey to melon fruit. The mouthfeel remains a touch chalky in the mouth and tongue. A mild floral coolness faintly skirts the tongue and lingers in the breath.
The third infusion has nice full juicy sweet notes melded with slight bitter. The mouthfeel is full and chalky the groundwork where the sweet honey taste evolves into floral. There is a mild coolness on the breath along with a juicy melon finish. There are interesting minty tastes in this infusion as well.
The fourth infusion is more woody now with suggestions of sweet sugar evolving to melon tastes under the wood notes. The aftertaste is also woody with a slight cooling mint and cardamom suggestion.
The fifth infusion has a balance of juicy sweet and woody notes with a nice evolving melon taste. The aftertaste has a nice long cooling almost minty sweetness. There is some interesting faint suggestions of moss, wood, and even spices in this tea that are more apparent in some infusions over others. A melon cooling sweetness is left on the breath minutes later. The qi of this tea is quite mild and has a nice soft sensation in the body and mind.
The sixth infusion presents with a woody and almost spicy taste with the sweetness mainly pushed to the aftertaste as a slow to evolve sweet melon and mild coolness wash over the mouth and breath.
The seventh infusion there is more of a flater, juicier taste than wood but still quite a balance. The sweet tastes evolve nicely into a juicy melon taste with long cool aftertaste. The mouthfeel stays chalky and even a bit viscus but not drying. The throat doesn’t open up to much with this tea. A sour cherry taste is found on the breath minutes later.
The eighth infusion continues to be more sweet and starts with a nice melon notes over faint wood. The tastes evolve into something juicier, slightly floral and cool in the breath. Even minutes later there in a nice fruity taste on the breath.
The ninth infusion has similar profile and is still quite full of nice long sweet flavors.
The tenth starts to lose its tastes but still retains nice juicy fruity notes in slight wood and a long cooling fruity aftertaste.
This tea is steeped into eleven, twelve, thirteen, infusions still yielding quite flavourful and fullish tea with long cooling aftertaste.
This tea has a good taste and excellent stamina and has some decent complexity to it especially for the price. Overall I’m quite happy with it for its price and age. If there was more for sale for that price, I would not hesitate to buy a tong of it. It feels like it could be consumed now or aged a bit longer.
I am also left wondering why there are not more Gelanghe cakes being pressed out there? With just two reviews on the internet being both favorable for Gelanghe both pre 2006, I wonder why the modern trend for small pressings have passed Gelanghe? I hope to try to find more Gelanghe puerh in the future. Maybe one of the Westren producers will read this and press something in the years to come?
Overall, I quite enjoyed both the 2005 Bulang and Gelanghe from Dadugang Long Yuan Hao tea factory. I have been drinking them on and off. I hope to age them further but don’t know how long they will last the way I’m drinking them. If anything they confirm that at least the older puerh of a budget company like Long Yuan Hao should at least be given a chance.Peace