Thursday, October 31, 2019
2018 Bao He Xiang “Wu Jin Hao”: A Very Menghai Blend
Just like in some white2tea blends, we don’t get much from the description of this blend. “"Wu Jin Hao" is a blend of semi-aged mao cha from old tree harvested tea leaves that was pressed in 2018” as stated on the Yunnan Sourcing page. This one goes for $170.00 for 357g cake (or $0.48/g). The absolute mystery and semi-agedness of this one lured me in…
Dry leaves are of chicory, licorice-y, black licorice root sweet odour.
First infusion has a blank onset with a slow to build sweetness. There is a bit of floral under clean woody and almost mushroom suggestions. There is a mild pungency then a high noted creamy sweetness attempts to push through. The mouthfeel is silky and oily and has a full elegance to it. The long sweet creamy aftertaste is noted.
The second starts empty almost vegetal, toffee, sarsaparilla, mushroom, then a long creamy sweet uninterrupted taste. There are some nice layers going on here. The base is a nice clear fermented mushroom and woody. There is a richness in taste and feel. Develops a heady type of relaxing and stimulating Qi.
The third has a woods, sour, licorice root, chicory, mushroom, mildly smokey nuance with a velvety almost sandy mouthfeeling and opening mid throat empty feeling in throat. The aftertaste taste has a long pungency creamy sweet to it.
The fourth infusion starts off with a mushroom, slightly smokey, woody deep note, there is a pungency slightly cooling that is faint then a sweet creamy note over smoke, woody, and mushrooms. A slight caramel faint sweetness is lingering with smoke a minute later. Pasha, Menghai, type of blend I would guess. I’m fond of such things. Qi is sedating on the mind but races and powers through the Heart.
The fifth starts a slightly sour, smokey, woody, and mushroom, there is a slight floral note before a mild quick pungent then a lingering mild-moderate sweetness overtop mushrooms and woody tastes. The mouthfeel is becoming sticky the throat opens pretty deeply. The Qi is powerful in the Heart and starting to stimulate the mind. The Qi is building into something quite powerful.
The sixth infusion starts slightly sour and sweet and mushroom and woody. There is a pop of floral sweetness before the mild pungency brings some creamy sweetness. The flavor tastes nicer than I can describe here and more nuanced Menghai type of feel to it. The mouthfeel is moderate and velvety almost sticky. The throat opens to midthroat. A very mild sweetness is left on the lips. This infusion is as sweet and highernoted as deeper mushroom woody noted. Qi is really nice and gives the body a mild shivering type thing.
The seventh infusion starts a sweet creamy mushroomy smokey woody taste which is quite enjoyable. There is a faint pungent then a creamy sweet finish. This tea has a base of woody, smokey, and mushroom that stays throughout the profile. Its subtle elements like creamy sweetnessses, slight caramel, slight pungent even light floral that either comes and goes or doesn’t infusion to infusion. There is a slight sour astringency but not really bitterness. This infusion has more of a nuanced sweetness and even a sunflower seed taste in there as well. Strong powerful Qi sensation here, lots of jittery powerful energy, head unfocused under the power and Heart racing.
The eighth and ninth infusion starts with a sweet, smokey, woody taste. There is a mild astringency and soft sweetness in the finish. The woodiness and smoke are more prominent than the sweet here. There is a sunflower seed taste.
The tenth has a sweet nuance to it almost but not really fruity, mushroom, woody, smokey, sunflower seed, and slight pungent, returning creamy sweetness over these base tastes. It’s a nice full taste with a deep, mid and light aspect to it. So Menghai in taste, feel, and Qi.
The eleventh starts to feature the smoke first then woody and barely sweet. This is what a lot of these smokey shengs end up doing when the initial flavours drop.
The 12th has an almost juicy fruity onset. The bassier flavours drop to the background and the juicy sweet flavor is mellow but prominently featured here.
The 13th has a juicy almost oily taste and feel with very mild smoke, mushroom, woods in the distance.
The 14th infusion is slight bitter slight fruity slight smokey taste there is a progression to creamy sweetness on the breath but the smoke is building again…
15th infusion is much the same with a bitterness starting to significantly build as well as smoke. The closer the time between these last infusions, the more bitter-astringent they are on the guts as well as the mouth.
I decide to end here… my head buzzing as I break into a Qi sweat.
Overall, this puerh has a balanced taste between deep mushroom woody smokey tastes and light sweet creamy and sometimes almost fruity tastes. It has enough to keep it interesting. It has a pretty classic smokey Menghai character in here that I enjoy. This blend is a nod to a more classic puerh taste and feel that you can touch in some 80s and 90s style cakes which I value and enjoy but that which very few vendors seem to be able to produce these days. The mouth- and throat-feeling sit more in the background and just keep things running smoothly. Look at those wet leaves- there is a diversity of aged material in there with a feel of a 5-8ish year old Guangdong storage. The Qi is a big strong type. Overall, this puerh is pretty good, its just hard for me to justify a purchase at this price. There is something about the classic feel to it that twists my brain into thinking that it should also have a classically low price… but its 2018… so this is what we get.