Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2001 Xiaguan 8653 Huang Yin: Best of Xiaguan

This one is billed as the King of Xiaguan!  This fully Huston dry stored cake of 2001 Xiaguan 8653 Huang Yi Special Order comes in at $450.00 for 450g or (clearly $1.00/g) Qing Bing!

Dry leaves smell of hay and cardboard with a bit of creamy sweet smell.

The first infusion is of watery almost metallic almost bitter straw.  The taste has a flat straw bitter taste to it.  With a tiny bit of tongue feeling.  There is an almost strawberry fruity taste underneath that comes out on the tongue.

The second infusion has a strawberry fruity complex dirt, metal, creamy sweet bitter onset.  There is a lot of complexity in the initial taste that dumps all at once.  The mouthfeeling is flat and sandy but stimulating on the tongue.  I feel a bit of heart racing and warming in the chest and stomach.  There is a mild strawberry aftertaste.  The bitterness and harshness of this puerh can still be felt in the digestive system.

The third infusion has a strawberry/ berry with bitter onset.  There are notes of hay, metal, mineral, but mainly a bitterness is developing in the mouth.  With a flat sandy finish on the tongue.

The fourth is a woody slight smoky papery almost fruity and more caramel sweetness with the long sweet caramel finish.  There is also minerals and almost metallic taste but less bitter.  This infusion has a returning aftertaste of sweet tastes over a sandy tongue coating and faint upper throat opening.  Feel the Heart stimulated and racing.  Get a strong mind invigorating Qi.

The fifth infusion has a strong incense smoky note with some dried date and strawberry nuances with a significant bitterness underneath.  It conjures up a juicy fruity taste in the aftertaste with a bit of bitterness and smoke.  There is also lots of complexity in the background- mineral, paper, wood, almost metal, caramel.  Nice engaging mouthfeeling on the tongue with throat stimulation that traps the saliva in the upper throat.  Strong powerfully alerting Qi.  Still has the harshness of a young sheng on the digestion.

The sixth infusion has a syrupy sweet smoky slightly bitter but mainly smoky caramel type long sweetness in the mouth.  There are nuances of metal, paper, fruits, incense.  The thick sweetness paired with bitterness and nice returning caramel with slight cooling throat is really nice.  This is probably the best Xiaguan I have tried.  Very nice.  Strong - still too strong to drink and needs more age… but very good Xiaguan.

The seventh infusion a thick syrupy sweetness with underlying bitterness.  Very thick fruity and caramel sweetness balanced with mild-moderate bitterness and smoke.  Brilliant.  There are some mineral and metallic and wood in the distance but is not that pronounced as that strong syrupy sweetness with a backbone of bitterness and smoke.  Strong heart pumping Qi.

The eighth infusion has cooled a bit and gives off a juicy fruity syrupy smoky mineral taste.  The mouthfeel is a bit sandy but there is also saliva producing in the throat.  The aftertaste isn’t as long or vibrant but still nice.  The underlying complexity continues to wane.  The power of this factory puerh is strong.

The 9th has a menthol woody onset that lasts long in the mouth with a papery aftertaste and secondary sweetness.  There is a smooth woody incense taste in there primarily.  Still strong Qi.  Incense and fruity and smoky and tasty.

The 10th has a fruity woody menthol in the breath and throat with a strong incense base taste. 

The 11th is a fruity sweet cherry with a nice long smoke that is not off putting.  The complexity is gone and all that is left is smoky fruity taste with a subtle bitterness.  These last infusions have not been so hard on the stomach.  By mid-session it feels almost warming on the digestion instead of bitter cold.

The 12th is much the same but become more smoky and less sweet and fruity now…. Still strong Qi… still a bit of a pungent cooling with creamy sweet returning under smoke.

The 13th is more incense as the dominant taste with a strong smoke and lessening sweetness initially and a bit in the return now.

The 14th has a woody incense taste with a menthol breath.  Late in the session the taste is not that sweet with incense smoke and retuning menthol.  Still strong powerful alerting Qi.

The 15th mainly smoky now with not that much sweetness.

Overall, this is a really good dry stored Xiaguan probably the best I have ever sampled from that classic factory.  It is powerful, and tasty syrupy thick sweetness, sometimes too harsh on the digestive system.  Strong Heart pumping Qi.  For $1.00/g of the very best I’ve tired of Xiaguan I definitely pondered a purchase.  I still can’t get my mind around spending that kind of money on Xiaguan so just couldn’t pull the trigger on this one.  Those who did have a real gem on their hands!



  1. There is a new set of dry stored Houde stuff dropping in a few days, so everyone has to have that engine started and revving and making decisions *fast* on what they want and whether they're willing to pay for it.

    The real issue is that there are very few tea of that age that are truly dry stored, and the further you go up the quality ladder, from regular factory teas, the more this is a material consideration. That 2001 Jinyehao was great, almost in the sense beyond its original material, because of how carefully extant and detailed the aged taste and feel was.

    So one can guess that there is a substantial likelyhood of people cleaning out the shelves in days, of the good stuff. Before you even get to try that sample before you buy.

    1. Shah8,

      Yep. I 100% agree with you here. Sampling their first round of Huston aged releases with time to ponder is probably a luxury that we won’t have this time...

      Let the impulse blind buying begin!!!!

      Lucky for me I am aware that I have at least sampled some of these young so I am better off than others.


  2. Finally got around to this tea today. It has a lot of woody, pine bark, caramel notes and I wrote cherry, but I think you are more accurate in calling it strawberry. This tea really wowed me at the beginning but while it doesn't give up too quickly, it does lose the powerful face-melting energy after a few steeps.

    Agree with you and Shah about the storage. Seems like some of the best examples of these teas you can get your hands on these days. The blind caking seems scary in the sense that of the handful of samples I purchased last round, I don't feel any were priced in a way that justified immediate purchase.


    1. Ignoramous,

      Great notes, similar to mine, thanks for sharing that. Agree that, like a lot of factory puerh, it only has a small window of optimal steeps.

      I 100% agree with you as well! Hahaha

      I sampled a handful as well but could not justify a purchase on any of these. Mainly because they are not great deals or underpriced but probably priced about right for what they are and what they are is optimally stored puerh of the early 2000s. They are also being sold at a time that commands higher prices as a lot of these would sell for 1/2 the price 2 years ago. I did this for some puerh of similar quality. The time for a deal on this stuff was a few years ago and of course Houde was still holding it at that time.

      However, I feel if I did blind buy any of these cakes I would be equally satisfied that I took the plunge. It’s difficult for someone used to buying low to pay full market value.

      This is probably what is holding us back on purchasing these!