Sunday, September 22, 2019
2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long vs 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long
The 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long ($161.63 for 400g cake or$0.40/g) is one of my favorite of the Zheng Si Long I’ve sampled over the last year or so. I was excited to try the 2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long complimentary sample (the 400g cake goes for $129.30or $0.32/g).
Dry leaves are a deep dark foresty rubbery deep forest like underlying sweetness.
First infusion has a woody watery onset with underlying icing sugar sweetness. The mouthfeel has a tight mild astringency to it. The throat almost seems open for things to come. There are faint ghostly lingering fruits and florals in the far distance.
The second has a creamy sweet woody onset. The creamy sweetness has a milky richness to it and turns into a stone like sweetness. A fruity taste expands in the mouth in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is silky and has a faint astringency to it. The throat has a nice opening where creamy and fruity tastes feel like ghosts in the throat. The aroma coming from the throat is nice floral, creamy sweet and almost but not quite fruit.
The third infusion has a woody tart that traverses quickly to sweetness that is a bit plum fruity, almost sour, and a bit creamy. The sweetness pops in the mouth nicely then the aftertaste expands into a floral sweetness. The mouthfeel is faintly astringent and almost velvety. The throat opens to a mid-depth. The Qi starts to feel relaxing in the head.
The fourth infusion starts off sour and slight bitter creamy fruity taste like a plum that is not ripe enough to eat. There are mild layered woods underneath and a floral quality as well. There are lots of different taste dimensions in here. The mouthfeel is velvety and almost astringent and the throat feel opens to a nice mid-level from the faint astringency. There is a mild lingering cotton candy taste minutes later on the breath.
The fifth starts with an increasing tart and bitter nuance. The mouthfeel is mainly tart, puckering astringency. It pushes out floral and creamy sweetness and in the aftertaste a faint cotton candy taste. The astringency pushes the flavours deep into the throat. I would say floral wildflower and almost honey distinctly lingers there.
The sixth has a plum and green apple fruit onset that is somewhat bitter sour and bitter. The fruit tastes kind of expand into sour notes. The qi is somewhat relaxing with a heavy head feeling.
The seventh is a bitter, astringent moderately fruity green apple and plum taste under the stronger tastes. A strong floral sensibility expands in the aftertaste. The tastes are interesting and nuanced but cloaked in bitter astringency. The long sweet floral expansive aftertaste is enjoyable. Back to back infusions cause the mouthfeel to become pucker.
The eighth infusion starts with a sweet splash with bitter and sour underneath. There is a sweet creaminess which expands into a floral nuance. The taste is full and nuanced in the mouth. The Qi is stuffy in the head, mildly warming, and mildly relaxing.
The ninth infusion starts with an astringent pucker- you have to really space out the infusions to mitigate this, but let’s be honest, a tea like this is for aging. The sweet almost tropical fruity onset and creamy sweet finish is made complex by a deep floral layering and deeper throat feeling.
The tenth infusion starts creamy sweet tropical splash of quick flavor before astringency and bitter overtake. The foresty, floral taste layered with creamy and almost candy sweetness juxtaposed with bitter astringency gives this puerh lots of taste depth. The mouth is very puckered up but not at all throat choking. The head starts to feel spacy and floating.
The eleventh is a mellow tasting almost sweet fruit but more floral with bitter and astringency underneath. The mouthfeel is a flat tartness. The sweet floral taste is most obvious here.
The 12th starts woody, astringent, and bitter with a faint butter floral underneath. The floral almost creamy sweetness shares space with a dry astringent wood. The Qi is mellow and a bit warming.
The 13th has a fruity sweet starfruit onset with a sour and moderate bitter finish. The taste has very little floral here and is mainly a flat fruit sweetness. The mouthfeeling is slightly slippery.
The 14th becomes a bit more woody fruit moderate sourness and bitterness and a subtle candy nuance in the aftertaste. There is a sour fruity sweet note on the tongue and in the throat the floral taste is less now. Qi is a moderate/mild heavy headed feeling and relaxing thing.
The 15th has a chalky almost creamy mild fruit taste with sour and bitter tastes much less now. The mouthfeeling is slippery. The 16th is a bit more bitter and sour but there is mainly just this mild fruity sour taste with a mouthfeel that is becoming increasingly sandy.
I decide to put this one into a long overnight infusion next to the 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long that I conveniently drank the day before…
A bitter very floral taste is left in the broth the next day. There is an underlying melon fruit sweetness to it.
Left are the 2015 wet leaves and right are the 2019 wet leaves.
This is quite a distant comparison because the 2015 Wa Long underwent 4 years of dry Xishuangbanna storage. So really it’s at a different stage of aging compared to the ultra young, pressed just a few months ago, 2019. Also, it should be noted, that I quite like the 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long and purchased 3 cakes last year. It was the intense Qi sensation (the warmth, the alertness, and the chest sensation and Heart racing) that made this one a worthwhile purchase for me. This 2019 Zheng Si Long Wa Long has a more heady type of Qi, relaxing, more moderate-mild, and no stronger body sensation.
The interesting thing about this young 2019 Wa Long is the astringent bitterness and reasonably layered complexity of taste and deeper throat sensation (although this sensation isn’t consistent throughout the infusions). I image the 2015 Wa Long also had this type of astringent bitterness and stronger throat sensation when it was this young but it has aged out at bit into something quite nice. This is likely the reason that it didn’t sell out early- when it was young, it was probably a bit unpalatable, like this one. The 2015 Zheng Si Long Wa Long is basically for aging into something enjoyable, much like the 2015.