Friday, May 17, 2019
Comparing Storage: 2003 HK Henry Conscientious Prescription Taiwanese Dry Storage Vs Malaysian Humid Stored
I was sent this sample thanks to commenter Spatulab. This Taiwanese dry stored version comes from Teas We Like and sells for the same $130.00 cake but has very different storage than the more humid Malaysian stored Essence of Tea version that I purchased and reviewed here. The Malaysian cake went through an interested change since trying it about a month ago which I documented in an edit to that initial post. You can check out that post for all the background about this famous puerh. Lets taste and compare this dry stored version, shall we?
The dry leaves have a much sweeter creamy wood penetrating odour than the much more humid stored Malaysian storage offered at the Essence of Tea.
First infusion starts a touch creamy sweet with a vegetal taste initially there is a mild cooling suggestion then a slight creamy sweet dry wood finish. Very clean, tight dry storage off the bat.
The second infusion starts with a slightly creamy dry wood onset, there is a vegetal base with mild cooling then longer pungent dry wood aftertaste. The mouthfeel is mildly sandy and mildly astringent here. There are light creamy woody sensations long on the breath.
The third infusion starts off with resinous pinewood, creamy sweetness underneath, vegetal taste deeper in the profile, then a pungency rings out with nice creamy sweetness balanced with woody pine notes. The profile is clean and clear and crisp. The qi is mildly relaxing here and mildly alerting. I can feel some qi pooling in the head. The mouthfeel is slightly sticky and barely astringent.
The fourth infusion starts off pine wood, almost vegetal, resin, there is a mild pungent coolness that opens up a little sweet creamy woody taste which attempts to stretch out on the breath.
The fifth is more piney and resinous throughout, a slight pungent taste comes through then slightly creamy sweetness. The pine wood taste dominates all the way through. The taste is clean, crisp, and long in the mouth. Good clarity. The mouthfeel has a tighter smoother feeling but not as gripping or deep feeling compared to the Malaysian stored.
The sixth infusion is very pine, resin, almost sour and astringent stimulating throat now a touch, pine dominates profile, some mild cooling and sweetness trying to push through pine taste. The sweetness is more distinct and untouched in this Taiwanese dry stored version but also the resinous pine note is more dominating- it is really dominating.
Taiwanese dry storage seems much more pure and true to the original material but in its purity it looses some complexity than a more humid storage brings out. The 2003 HK Henry Conscientious Prescription has pretty simple and clear profile, it isn’t super complex so this can be seen as a positive or negative here. Or to put it another way the more humid Malaysian stored adds complex storage humid nuance to the original materials.
The seventh infusion starts off with an almost vegetal pine taste with an almost soapy creamy sweetness underneath. The pine is less dominant in this infusion and the sweetness has almost a plumb and candy edge to it which is more distinct and long in the aftertaste here. The sweet plum taste is quite nice.
The eighth infusion carries a pine incense taste now slight pungent returning arrives then a clear woody long plum sweetness. The returning coolness and pungency is less in the dry stored version compared to the Malaysian but the sweetness in the aftertaste is now much more distinct, pure, and vibrant. The mouth and throat feeling is different as well. The dry stored is more stimulating the tongue and mouth with a tightness and mild stringency but is just mildly opening in the throat where the humid Malaysian stored has more throat feeling than mouthfeeling and a deeper throat feeling. The qi is mildly relaxing and it pools in the head, slightly alerting the senses, and visual acuity.
The ninth infusion nice pine wood profile, creamy sweetness lingers underneath, clean pure, simple taste, sweetness comes out a bit more in the aftertaste. Cooling pungency is mild here. The Qi starts to make the head feel like its floating. The qi of this Taiwanese dry stored is slightly less warming but seems to have more bodyfeeling in the head slightly.
The tenth infusion starts off with a touch off pine incense then to just pine wood then to a mild pungent then to wood over mild creamy sweetness. Pretty woody here. There are no earthy, foresty, soil tastes in this very clean dry stored version at all. Simulating sandy and tight coating on the tongue mild but deeper throat opening.
The eleventh infusion the mouthfeel becomes stronger and gripping, almost drying, a distinct dry wood onset then there is a woody resin returning with mild pungent. The sweetness is less here the pungent cooling is more with the stronger, tanic mouth and throat feeling. The Qi is quite relaxing now. The odour of the wet leaves smells of red Korean ginseng but it doesn’t show in its taste.
The twelfth infusion has more of a creamy sweet plum onset with wood that emerges slowly. The mild creamy sweet taste is still more apparent here. The thirteenth is more woody and dominating but still the sweetness is mild but throughout and more obvious than in previous infusions. Wood and creamy sweetness- simple tastes in these infusions but enjoyable ones.
14th is woody, creamy sweet, this tea is fading here if not the last few infusions. Plum note is clear and the mouthfeeling is milder here. Nice fruity wood. 15th is mellow fruity woody enjoyable thing with a touch of cool pungency.
15th infusion I push it with a 60 second infusion but get much the same maybe even a slight sour note in there as well. Woody more pine and resin. More cooling pungent.
16th I do a long infusion and it pushes out a lot of pine, more resin and some incense notes which mask any sweetness underneath. The cooling pungent is more obvious with this push the sweetness shows up a minute later. Nice.
17th I do another minutes long steeping and get a very resinous pine taste with cooling pungent aftertaste with no sweetness found. I enjoy the pine woodiness.
It’s put into an overnight infusion and comes out quite fruity plum after a few days. The Malaysian stored comes out tasting just dirt in these days long steeping.
Overall, I feel that this drier stored Taiwanese version is better at preserving some of the teas original essence and is will be a better option for long term aging in people who are looking for a slowly evolving puerh with age. It is closer to a Qing Bing type of storage and feeling and its stamina and flavor has not been pushed out by humidity.
However, I prefer the Malaysian stored version which is warming and harmonious to drink now. Will it age more interestingly than the dry Taiwanese stored version? I doubt it, but right now on these unseasonably cold Spring mornings I seem to be going to it instinctually and this dry stored version didn’t satisfy me in the same way. Part of this preference is my history of drinking similarly more humid stored cakes like this weekly around the tea tables in Korean teahouses. I still think it would be interesting to pick a dry stored one up to see how it will fair in 10 years.