Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 ChenYuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi Dragonball: Fresh Subtle Spacey Gushu

This free sample came complimentary from my last purchase from  It’s not yet listed on either site or the ChenYuan Hao site yet.  A bit different than the other 2023 ChenYuan Hao I sampled a few months ago as it is in a dragonball shape not sample from cake, and it is a blend.  You can’t help but wonder if this has any resemblance to the famous 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi when it was fresh off the press?

Dry leaf smells mildly woody pungent sweet.

30 second rinse the rinsed leaves smell really spicy and pungent with a really sweet mouthwatering berries floral odour.

First infusion is a 30 second infusion still quite watery but also sweet sugar and melon with a mouthwatering base and cool throat and breath.

Second infusion is left to cool and is a sugary sweet watery onset with a cool woody mid profile and bland sweet finish.  

Third infusion has a sweet vegital onset with a slight drying sandy mouth feel, slight gripping.   Bland sweet aftertaste.  Slight spacy slowing feeling.

Fourth infusion has a sweet faint sugar almost melon with a mild bitter.  There is more mouth puckering.  Slight spacy feeling.  Salivating.  Overall a bland mild vegital taste with lots of space and faint sweetness.  This one tastes more green and fresh than the other 2023 in this tightly compressed Dragonball.

Fifth is a bland mild sweet floral taste there is mainly this low level bland vegital taste but pops of sweet tastes melon, faint sugar.  It’s faintly bitter and astringent- very mild with this sandy mild pucker mouthfeel and long cool breath.  Building spacy Qi feeling.

Six infusion has a watery bland initial taste with a mild bitter gripping.  There is subtle woods, vegital, and almost floral.  Lots of empty space and mild tastes.  Strongest part is a spacy Qi sensation that is keeping me a little high today.

7th has a woody watery bland taste.  Faint distant sugar sweetness and some mouthwatering wet mouthfeeling.  Spacy Qi.  Cool breath with hints of sweetness.

8th is put into a long thermos infusion and is a bitter sweet clear sugar and bland woody almost coco makes the mouthwater.  Stronger chesty high with spacy and energetic feeling..,

The tight compression of this Dragonball has made this one taste over the top fresh.  It’s really has lots of space in its flavour lots of really light subtle tastes but obviously Gushu material.  The strongest aspect is its space out Qi.  There is a bit of movement throughout the session with the Qi as well to keep it a bit interesting.  The mouthfeel is also mild but gripping and at sometimes sandy and puckering but all very mild.  There is a nice cooling and mild sweet return.  Still too early for this one… 

The next day I pour out the thermos it has a slight oily buttercup floral sweetness Forest green taste.  Almost bitter.  Flat sticky faint lips and mouth dryness.  Subtle sugar sweet aftertaste.  Some spacey relaxing.

Hard to imagine that the famous 2005 Chen Yuan Hao Shanzhong Chuanqi had this type of material and processing but this is a nice rare fresh Gushu blend… 


Thursday, December 28, 2023

2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Spring!Yiwu Chawang: Aged Etherial Yiwu Gushu!


This is a rather expensive cake apparently- it’s the spring version of the famous Autumn 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Autumn Yiwu Chawang.  Paolo Of has some if you are looking to sample it…

The dry leaves smell of a sweet fruity odour no smoke at all.

The wet rinsed leaves have a woody sweet almost mesquite almost barnyard pungent odour.

First infusion has a bright sweet taste with clear watery feeling.  Fuzzy/ mossy mouthfeel.  

Second infusion has a light clear woody sweet taste.  With a mossy slight dry gripping salivating mouthfeel.  Peaceful Qi feeling.  

Third infusion has an oily sweet woody taste with some mossy dry slight gripping mouthfeel.  Clear taste profile with some qi felt in the arms relaxing Qi feeling. Slight sweet watery tropical fruit returning taste.  

Fourth infusion has a watery woody almost creamy sweet pure taste with a slight cooling breath and creamy sweet slight fruity returning sweetness over a mossy slight dry with some lips and roof drying feeling.  Chest expansion and calm Qi feeling with feeling in arms and shoulders.

Fifth infusion has a watery woody sweet creamy chalky taste.  There is a mossy slight stick mouthfeel very clear pure tastes.  Slight creamy slight cool aftertaste.  Peaceful calming Qi.

Sixth infusion is a watery pure and clear watery woody in a mossy mouthfeel.  Some faint cooling breath with slight sweetness.  No bitterness or astringency.  Peaceful calm.

Seventh infusion is a bit grains with wood clear pure watery ethereal feeling puerh this is.  Mainly just woody tasting with dry gums, teeth and lips. Some chest beats and slight warming face.  Relaxing and calm and peaceful.

The eighth infusion I put this into an hours long mug infusion… it’s comes out pretty woody with a bland woody not that sweet at all.  There is a dry sandy mouth feeling cool breath and deeply relaxing qi.  There is some bready warming spice root cola cooling medicinal woody sweet complex taste in there but underneath a strong dry woodiness bitter base taste.  Had to push it pretty hard to get it out of these leaves.  There is some bitterness and mouth puckering dry mouth.  Stronger face warming qi with spacy relaxing tranquilizer feeling.  I finish up the cup and give it another long steep…. This one has more of a watery not that sweet woody taste.

One of the best examples of a clean pure ethereal Gushu puerh from the early GuShu era of puerh production.  It has good stamina and subtle complexity and depth when pushed.  I would have guessed this a few years older if sampled blind.

Vs 2006 Autumn Guang Chen-He Tang Yiwu Chawang-  The Spring production is much smoother and ethereal tasting and feeling.  The spring is much more delicate and it’s Qi really peaceful with more pronounced bodyfeeling.  When pushed a bit harder you also get more complex subtle tastes.  The Spring tastes like a few years older.  The Autumn can be a bit bitter.  The Autumn has stronger Qi, Smoke, more old school feeling but a balance between that an Gushu nuance.


Sunday, December 24, 2023

Famous Puerh in the West: 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Autumn Yiwu Chawang


As stated in the comments here, this puerh is sort of historical in the West.  Like many puerh that have become popularized in Western puerh lore, it had an early fresh off the press release from Houde.  I remember when it was first released and the stir that it created with the early online puerh community.  As I stated in the comments of an introductory post on this puerh, 

There are two main sources that you can still access that give you an idea of the initial response to this 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang (Autumn) Yiwu Chawang.  One is from the famous Hobbes of the Half-Dipper Blog.  Hobbes and Marshal’N, the most old school drinkers/ Bloggers at this time, really dig their heals in and you can see the resistance to this new way of puerh in the comments.  Also you can see that Hobbes does give this one a 7/10.  The main criticism of this one is the price which was $80.00 for a whole cake which was at the higher price bracket at this time, unheard of just a few years before.  Globally, this was at the very peak of the puerh bubble before it crashed so there were many discussions about if a certain puerh was actually worth its price.

The other way hype was spread for this 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Autumn Yiwu Chawang was through a comparison tasting of another 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Yiwu also released at Houde- the 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Autumn Yecha.  The comparison tasting was organized on Puerh Live Journal by the grandfather himself Marshal’N with famous puerh people Phil Sheng and Davelcorp with detailed contributions among others.  The Yecha is a wild tea and was selling for much less and was not as well received as the Chawang.  If fact, the Yecha is still available for purchase at Houde.

The good soul that he is, Hobbes of the Half-Dipper, sent me some unsolicited leftover Chen Guang-He Tang Houde samples around a year later.  One of these was the 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Autumn Yiwu Yecha.  However, I never did try the Chawang… at the time I thought the prices of the puerh at Houde was mad.  I was spending my money on $20-40 cakes.

As far as I understand from these early reviews this tea had good potential.  It sounds like it had fairly good processing with tightly rolled leaves, a nice somewhat bitter backbone, strong Qi, and some old school smoke.  Then take that knowledge with a preferred storage option coming from Daniel (aka Old Man, a source from which I have a handful of puerh) and the offer to get exclusive access to such things seem pretty hard for me to resist.  This 2006 Chen Guang-He Autumn Yiwu Chawang sold out at $375.00 for 357g cake or $1.05/g but 25g samples of these cakes are now on offer at for those who are interested in a bit of puerh history…

Dry leaves smell of delicious mouthwatering sweet tobbacco leaves.  It’s a sweet smelling smoke that a lot of Yiwu would smell like from around this era… I like it.

First infusion has a fruity sweet watery smoke woody with a long cool breath.  The sweet taste see is almost banana and melon and there is a slight mesquite BBQ taste.  Nice mouthwatering mouthfeel with subtle sandy roof of mouth.  Instant deep sigh relaxing and notacable head floating spaciness.

Second infusion has a fruity sweet onset with a woody smoke BBQ finish.  There is a mouthwatering effect along with some sticky roof of mouth and cool breath.  Strong sigh relaxing Qi with arms light and chest sensations.

Third infusion has a sweet melon potato mild watery onset with mouthwatering mouthfeeling underlying BBQ mesquite.  There is a sticky sandy mouthfeel with done deep throat simulation and long cool throat.  Stronger spacy relaxing qi with light limbs and chest.

Fourth infusion has an oily fruity melon woody sweet taste. There is a long cooling breath and faint smoke now with sticky squeaky gums and roof.  Bready melon sweet aftertaste gives a slow returning taste.  Really clear flavours.  Strong spacy Qi with chest radiating and energy down arms.  There is a deep throat sensation where the after taste of bread and sweet melon lingers minutes later.  Strong Qi is nice- the chest has deep but strong beats and the mind is clear and relaxed spaced out some body floating.  Slight warming energy.

Fifth infusion has a somewhat oily mouthwatering sweet melon bready woody onset with faint smoke underneath.  The mouthfeel is becoming slight drying lips dry with roof and gums sandy squeaky.  Strong complex Qi- energized but spacy limbs light chest radiant and warming. Cool breath. Long deep aftertaste minutes later of sweet woody bready melon.  

Sixth infusion has a watery woody onset with subtle incense smoke some warming spice faintly bitter.  None to little sweet onset now with a sticky dry mouthfeeling and deep throat feeling.  There still is that returning sweetness but much less mainly sweet woody bready now.  Strong complex Qi.  

Seventh is a long thermos steeping… I take a sip a few hours later and it has a bitterness and woody taste up front with a sweetness underneath.  There is a deep throat stimulation with a long blueberry/Strawberry jam like sweetness that lingers.

The next morning the taste is a light sugary almost melon sweetness with saliva gobs and returning creamy chalky sweet taste there is some sandy sticky mouthfeeling with deep throat stimulation and solid lingering returning sweetness.  There is a creamy sweet almost berries after taste which lingers on the chalky tough coating and into the deep throat.  Full feeling and sweet in this overnight infusion of spent leaves.  Aftertaste lingers minutes later in the throat and saliva.

Did this puerh turn out to be amazing after such a long wait?!??!? I’m not sure about that but it is pretty good and has some great qualities that I look forward to in puerh- old school sweet Yiwu, smoke clear Gua Feng Zhai character long sweet taste, nice strong transforming Qi and bodyfeeling.

Vs 2006 Yang Qing Hao Chawangshu-  I dragged this one years ago mainly because I was quite disappointed with what Yang’s processing and storage did to this one.  The 2006 Chen Guang-He Tang Autumn Yiwu Chawang has much better storage and processing.  It shows of the Gua Feng Zhai profile nicely especially in the first infusions also is bitter which the Yang Qing Hao is not.  The Qi of the Yang Qing Hao is so so much better though and the reason I have already drank through a cake- strong euphoria and body feeling.  


Friday, December 22, 2023

2012 Legend of Puer Bangdong Shen Gu You Lan: Good Value Gushu!


As I sampled the 2014 ShengChun Hao XiGui yesterday, it really reminded me a lot of this 2012 Legend of Puer Bangdong Shen Gu You Lan (Orchid In the Valley).  It goes for $121.00 for 357g cake or $0.34/g.  They both have a similar processing, location, quality, and age.  I hit this one pretty hard many years ago and I definitely don’t regret it.  It’s aging well in my super dry storage…

 Something that caught my eye when I was reading the description on the site many years ago is that the Legend of Puer observed auspicious astrological dates when they picked this tea.  I learned about all this interesting stuff when I was picking and producing my own semi-wild green tea in South Korea decades ago but not too many puerh producers seem to follow these astrological signs.  It used to be common for puerh to state it was picked before QingMing (April 4th). But that was really all that was stated and it’s rare these days that “Pre- Qingming”.  The dates which were chosen to pick this tea are 5/6 days before and after the Spring Equinox on March 21. This would impart both an attempt at centring the powerful.  I think this actually describes a bit of this puerh’s essence…

Dry leaves have an ultra almost perfume floral fragrance with hints of orange and wood notes.  Dry leaves smell amazing.

First infusion has a very very sweet creamy floral cake taste with soft chalky mouthwatering oily feeling.  There is a distinct light floral almost orange blossoms taste with a woody base taste in a thick chalky mouthfeeling.  The qi is also quite strong with a spacy euphoria already building.

The second infusion has an oily juicy orange fruit and floral clear clean taste.  Really mouthwatering and salivating with spacy euphoria.  You can feel the chest beats strong ascending energy with deep sighs.  There is a mild astringency underneath that tugs on the throat and empty stomach.  Creamy cake like sweet returning with mild wooodiness.  A lingering astringency felt on an empty stomach and increases urine.

Third infusion has a sweet almost cake like orange woody floral onset with some faint mouth pucker. Chalky on the tongue stimulating on the throat pucker in the mouth.  Nice pops of clear delicious flavours.  The astringency is building so is the Qi with big mind melting euphoric energizing and chest sensations.

Fourth infusion is left to cool and gives off a very sweet floral woody caramel taste.  Smooth mouthwatering feeling with slight mild chalky feeling and throat stimulation. Nice euphoria high feeling with chest beats and energy.  Long sweet cake pastry creamy almost woody orange taste.  Mild astringency now.  Deep breaths sighs.

Fifth infusion has a creamy sweet taste with a mouthwatering lubricating feeling on the tongue.  The returning sweetness has an orange blossom woody sweetness. Very sweet long faint cool breath with strong euphoric Qi and chest beats.  Nice creamy cake-like sweetness with strong mouthwatering effect and ling cool sweet finish.  Very clear pure tastes.

Sixth infusion has a smooth creamy sweetness watery wet mouthfeeling with long cool breath and an orange cake like aftertaste with slight woody nuance.  The astringency is gone now.  Long cool breath sweetness is really nice as is the revitalizing euphoria.  

Seventh infusion is a blander woodier taste but still mainly sweet creamy cake and florals.  The mouthfeel is a touch sandy now with a subtle grains taste.  Chest radiating Qi feeling.  Slight dry mouthfeeling now slight pucker.  Long cooling sweet breath.  Nice stamina because it’s still quite sweet here.

I put it into an overnight infusion… the next morning it comes off quite sweet floral caramel still pretty oily.

Vs 2014 ChengShun Hao XiGui-  biggest difference between these two is the density of taste in the XiGui.  It has this really compact sweetness that is really nice.  The XiGui has more intensity and power where the Bangdong has more long drawn out strong but delicate, as the site description states, more feminine qualities.  XiGui has a stronger mouthfeel and astringency and the Qi has a more intense body feeling and deeper energy. The bangdong has a stronger throat opening and more euphoric feeling.  They both have that Lincang astringency, as the site states, bit it’s a bit different for each one.  The 2012 Bangdong has an astringency that makes you pee whereas the 2014 XiGui, being a bit younger, can feel it in your empty stomach.  If you are not a fan of a bit of nice astringency you might want to pass on these…


Saturday, December 16, 2023

2014 ChengShunHao / ZiZaiXi Gui: Dense Savoury Sweet Power!


This 2014 ChengShun Hao/ Zizai XiGui (approx $390.00 for 250g cake or $1.56/g) was one of the three cakes offered exclusively for those who bought into TCE2 Hunter Package the days before Black Friday.  I still can’t believe I did that!  There was another 2014 ChengShun Hao / ZiZai which I was less interested in and did not purchase a cake it was a 400g ManZhuan Gushu for approx $310.00 or $0.78/g.  Paolo mentioned that the processing is maybe similar to Tea Urchin cakes on these ChengShun Hao/ ZiZai .  All three cakes were favourably stored by” Old Man” aka Daniel which is a hot/dry storage.  I was curious about this one as more of an expensive tuition cake on the XiGui producing area one of the most famous puerh producing areas which I still have very little experience with…. This one turned into being a real treat…

Dry leaves have a sweet subtle smoky grains odour.  

Rinsed wet leaf smells like woody percing sweet caramel reminds me of the odour of a good Bangdong area puerh.

First has a watery caramel sweet woody grains with a watery slight stickiness in the roof and tongue.  Some faint fruity bangdong vibe with a touch of super faint astringency.  Faint cooling breath.  Was told that this has a processing and feel similar to Tea Urchin and it’s spot on would have thought 100% this is from Tea Urchin.  Cooled down it really tastes like a sweet caramel Bangdong with slight woody astringency.  A little spacy mind feeling.

Second is a woody incense caramel sweet with cool throat.  There is that sticky almost dry lips and tongue feeling.  Some moderate throat stimulation.  Some moderate astringency.  There is almost a metallic taste in the initial but that is not really how to describe it.  Also a slight salty nuance in the aftertaste. Spacey qi sensation.  Some chest Heart beats with strong deep energy building in the chest and Lungs.  Qi has a spacy warm strong transformational quality to it.  This really tastes like a 2012 Tea Urchin stored Bangdong Gushu cake I have and will review next post but with much stronger Qi! The strong Qi and astringency makes this one hard to enjoy on an empty stomach.

Third infusion has a woody sort of metallic flat taste with sweet creamy returning taste over a chalky full mouthfeeling.  The astringency is building as the Qi completely melts my mind and the chest beats strongly.  I cower under the power of this tea.  The cooled down infusion has a creamy sweet almost metallic and a bit salty taste with strong salivating returning feeling with long chalky creamy sweetness and astringency that comes close to gagging.  I need to eat here….  The sweet woody caramel is caught in the saliva.  This is a pretty strong puerh and does better when a bit less leaf is used…

Fourth infusion is a smooth woody chalky creamy sweetness with some salty savoury taste it has a mouthwatering effect and long sweet creamy salty chalky returning sweetness.  Strong Qi makes the heart beat strongly and pushes the mind into a bit of a frenzied mindset.

5th infusion has a creamy sweet watery almost salty taste.  There is some almost metallic taste with a salty woody creamy sweetnesss returning that makes the mouthwater.  Much less astringency now makes it enjoyable especially with the mouthwatering sweetness.  The energetic pushes me to an overwhelming sigh.

6th is left to cool and has a creamy fluffy/chalky sweetness with a salty balance.  Smooth sweet salty mouthwatering.  Oily mouthwatering feel with some mild throat stimulation but not any astringency any more. Nice energetic calm (after the storm).

7th is put into an overnight thermos steeping…. I dip into it an hour or so later and get a really nice dense creamy sugar with a salty savoury taste and full chalky mouthfeel.  Really delicious savoury and sweet dense presentation is really unique.  Strong deep high feeling here too… next day it is quite sweet with a creamy sugary sweetness that pops in the mouth there is a thicker chalky mouthfeel with nuances of custard and almost fruit berries.  Super delicious this next morning with a full mouthfeel.

I keep wanting to go back and try this puerh again which says something. This puerh is a bit interesting and unique for the things I’ve tried before.  Something a bit different with the really strong presentation, strong Qi and dense complex flavours and solid chalky full mouthfeel.  The best part is the salty sweet dense mouthwatering taste.  I’m not sure if this is a characteristic of XiGui area puerh or not? If it is I can see why it is so valued.  My only other experience with Xigui area also had a notable dense sweet taste as well as some savoury almost vegetable notes and a full chalky mouthfeel.

Anyone out there have any experience with the XiGui area and want to give me their personal take on it? 


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

2005 Nan Qiao Purple Peacock: Leathery Sweet Deep Energy


To me that TeasWeLike has seemed to release its Malaysian puerh in different waves.  The first wave within their first year was the release of their three Malaysian dry storage cakes.  The 2006 Rustic Zhongcha, a favourite of mine, is doing better than most of my cakes in my horrible Canadian dry storage (see recent notes here in comparison with the 2004 Red Label).  Then there is the 2003 Zhongcha 7532- which unbelievably I have not tried yet because it always seems to be either sold out or I have other pressing interests haha… I promise you a review when I track it down!  There is also the 2001 Iron Zhongcha, another favourite in my 2001 iron cakes comparison last year.

Not long after that they released the dry natural Malaysian stored 2005 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion which, again, (see the trend) is also a favourite.  In the description for this 2005 Nan Qiao Purple Peacock TeasWeLike quotes 4 other quality NanQiao productions that they have offered and for which the quality of this 2005 Nan Qiao Purple Peacocks can be compared- the 2005 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion, 2006 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion, and 2004 Nan Qiao Bulang King I will take and compare them at the end….

Then last year or two they released a bunch of dry Natural Malaysian stored cakes which include this 2001 Red Ribbon as well as the Colours of Malaysian cakes.

Sometime in the last few months or so they finally released their first full on more heavily Natural Malaysian stored cakes - this 2005 Nan Qiao Purple Peacock ($310.00 for 357 g cake or $0.87/g) is one such cake…

Dry leaves smell of faint woody leaves.

First infusion has a deep almost earthy woody with some hard to grasp fruits and florals that push through a pop through leaving a nice cool breath with a floral grains sort of grape creamy sweet taste underneath.  There is some salivating with the returning sweetness but a silty chalky mouthfeel overall.  You can feel some chest beats in this deep based complex infusion.

Second infusion as a deep woody heavy but also light sweet creamy almost fruit floral.  Here is a nice cooling with sweet creamy sugary that pops in the mouth over a base of deep woods, leathers, and faint prunes.  Mouthfeel is a chalky silty full feeling with deep cooling throat.  Qi is both alerting, chest beating and calming while being very comfortable in the body.

Third infusion has a deep woody leathery taste with a lighter creamy sugar cool sweetness that returns in the thick deep aged base taste.  Deep calm focused feeling.  There is a fruity prune leathery sweetness that is almost bitter at the end.  The qi is nice and warming and pushes me into a sweat.  

Fourth has a sweet woody deep prune silty touch smoke full feeling dense presentation with cool breath and light creamy sugar sweetness able to punch through. Deep cool breath deep relaxing calm and warming qi with steady energy boost.  

5th has a deep woody slight smoke silty leather taste with a cool breath with less sweetness riding there now but big warming qi with chest swelling and deep calm and energy rising.  A incense with deep woody silty taste.  Strong deep energy built up feel a bit peppy energy.

6th is left to cool but has a sweet bready mineral sugar taste up front with cool breath and sugar finish.  Nice full dense taste.  There is a silty mouthfeeling a bit fluffy silty.  There is less heaven deep base taste in this cooled down infusion 

7th is also left to cool and gives off a deeper woody slight smoke incense there is a stewed plum sugary leathery taste to it. Almost sour astringent but not really.  Softer silty almost slippery feeling.  The effect excentuates the sweetness and makes it taste quite fruity and long in the aftertaste.  Warming chest Qi and a bit calmer here.

8th is a thick full deep woody subtle smoke incense leather almost mushroom with an underlying growing bitterness.  Deep strong chest earth and energy charged up restorative but also superficial energy boost.

9th has a woody ashy incense smoke which is not that upfront in the thick leathery woody taste.  There is some significant cooling on the breath.  There is a woody deep silty almost bitter taste throughout.  Strong warming and energy boost.

The 10th I put into a long overnight mug steeping and it comes off light creamy sugary sweet with a subtle bready mushroom taste.  Mainly sweet now.  With slighy dry silty mouthfeeling.  

The brilliance of this cake is that it has pretty heavy relativly wetter Malaysian Natural Storage but yet it retains lots of its complexity.  We see that in the Qi sensation with it being superficially energizing but also a long deeper energy boost that might keep you up at night.  Also can have a simultaneous calm feeling in some infusions.  Some mild body feeling of swelling in chest but a strong warmth that can push you to sweat.  The mouthfeel and flavour is similarly complex with deeper leather woody and sometimes prune notes but still not washing out a sugary creamy sweetness that sometimes tastes fruity.  

Ranking of the four premier Nan Qiao releases from TeasWeLike:

1- 2005 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion- Medium dry-ish natural Malaysian stored delivers strong sweet flavours of long plum sweetness and bittersweet coco dense taste with a lubricating oily mouthfeel.  Strong immediate energetic Qi and touch of smoke makes you remember that it’s Bulang!

2- 2004 Nan Qiao Bulang King- Taiwanese dry stored with a similar storage feel to Wistaria storage.  Lots of complexity and subtle nuance to it due to the storage.  Pulled this one out of some deeper storage sampling it first time in years it has done well, lost most of its bitterness and simply has a nice dry storage woody subtitles.  Nothing off about it not really any flaws.  This has to be the best cheaper puerh that TeasWeLike has sold.  Has the best qi out of these I think with a strong energetic euphoria.  So refreshing and enlivening!

3- 2005 Nan Qiao Purple Peacock-  the heavier Natural Malaysian storage gives the taste and feel of aged puerh while not drowning out what this nice complex Menghai area blend.  It can give off sweeter lighter and deeper aged flavours.  Still some bitter and astringency left in here somewhere.  The qi gives a deeper energy boost with stronger warming energy.

4- 2006 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion- dry Natural Malaysian storage, the most straightforward Bulang of the bunch with a herby vegetal bitter profile and slight dry gripping squeaky gums feel.  Stronger Qi alertness and buzziness out of the group.


Monday, December 11, 2023

2006 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion: Straight Up Bulang-ness!


This is one of the premier Nan Qiao cakes offered by TeasWeLike.  This is the second Bulang Double Lion release, the first being the famous and twice the price 2005 Nan Qiao Double Lion.  This 2006 Nan Qiao Double Lion goes for $165.00 for 357g cake or $0.46/g and is billed as a good value proposition compared to the 2005.  These are actually quite different… let’s see if it’s worth it to pay less…

Dry leaves smell of bready sweet smoke is quite delicious.

First infusion has a creamy sweet BBQ taste that has this squirt of mouthwatering with a flat almost metallic taste.  Long cooling breath with some sandy grains taste and mouthfeel that is sandy in the mouth.  The significant sweetness and long cooling breath are notable.  You can definitely feel the Qi in the chest.  It’s strongly beats the heart and has a release of heat.

Second infusion has a slight smoky less sweet quality upfront.  Slight mesquite.  The mouthfeel is sandy and the energy is pretty strong in the chest and warmth.  The mouthfeel is slight drying and in the breath an almost berry sweetness in the throat.

Third infusion has a more bitter with a flat woody almost but not coco.  There is an earthy tree bark almost vegetable herby taste in there that is characteristic of some Bulang.  Strong mouth puckering dry feeling in the mouth.  Dry bitter feeling with teeth squeak.

Fouth infusion has a herby woody smoke bitterness and an underlying trying to be creamy sweetness.  More bitter smoke here and much less sweet.  There is a bready sweetness building in the aftertaste located in the throat. The energy comes from the heart and moves upward.  Dry grabbing squeaky mouthfeeling.  

Fifth infusion has a vegital herby woody less Smokey bitterness.  There is some lesser sweetness and more flattening of tastes.  Sandy drying slight squeaky gums and teeth mouthfeeling.  There is still a strong energetic feel especially in the chest and mind but also a slight high from the resulting energy surge.

The sixth is much the same a bit more bland but still strong. Slight vegital herby woody bitter.  Not much sweet anymore.  There is some strong chesty heart beats and rising energy. Strong powerful surge clears the mind.

I come back to the leaves the next day…

The cooled down left overnight remaining liquid of the 6th infusion tastes of mesquite BBQ.  With a slight gripping, slight drying mouthfeel with squeaky teeth and gums.  

7th is a bit sweet creamy and oily with some faint herbs and BBQ mesquite more of a silty finish.  

The 8th is put into an overnight thermos infusion…

Vs 2005 Nan Qiao Bulang Double Lion-  The 2005 Nan Qiao is significantly better and the price is around twice as much ($325.00 for 357g cake or $0.91/g) but why???? First of all in sampling the 2005 after the 2006 they are a lot closer in back to back sampling than my memory tells me. The 2005 is much more sweet and has thicker denser flavours, the 2005 also has more coco chocolate bitter sweetness.  it’s this very strong long sweet taste with the bitter coco that really elevates this 2005 Bulang.  The 2006 has only glimpses of this but has an overall more complex and evolving taste throughout the session with very obvious classic herbs Bulang taste profile, the Qi is similar maybe the 2006 is actually a bit more intense… the Qi is pretty close, the biggest difference between the two is really the mouthfeel- the 2005 has a thick oily mouthwatering feeling where the 2006 has a more undesirable dry gripping squeaking gums and teeth feeling.  As result of the above, the 2005 has more stamina than the 2006.  I feel like the 2005 has more humid dry Malaysian storage compared to the relatively drier Natural Malaysian stored 2006 but the description of the 2006 suggests the other way around… Overall the 2006 has an undeniable Bulang character and complexity where the 2005 sort of does fancy things… depends on my mood if I’m going to want to cake this next time and save a bit or just stick to drinking the 2005?  I like the straight up Bulang-ness for the price … yeah I’m thinking cake it! Hahaha …


Saturday, December 2, 2023

2004 Ai Lao Natural Malaysian Storage: Recommend Aged Value


Correct me if I’m wrong… But it has taken four years for TeasWeLike to start curating Northern area puerh (what about this nice one?).  I was trying to give Marco a little nudge-nudge when I sent my last blind sample package of Northern everyday drinkers last year… hahaha.  So I have been really looking forward to this release… and when it finally came I was like Ai Liao … really?

We have all tried lots of Ai Liao area puerh in our lifetime.  It was a staple of the early Gushu movement of teas as featured in Yunnan Sourcing’s first releases amongst many others.  Despite all the fresh Ai Lao area puerh I’ve consumed I have never tried any that was substantially aged.  I wondered aloud the last time of consumption what exactly could Ai Lao puerh possibly age into? … and finally now we have our answer… well sort of…

“I’ve seen that wrapper before “ is something that has inevitably entered into the consciousness of all long time puerh drinkers… when I saw this 2004 Ai Lao Natural Malaysian Storage ($120.00 for 400g cake or $0.30/g) on the TeasWeLike site.  It’s most definitely of old school factory production and pedigree.  I don’t think we can really expect the Gushu productions of Ai Lao that we have gotten to know will age similar to this old school tight compressed chopped leaf… so now I’m getting pretty excited about finally finding out how this stuff could sort of theoretically age out…

Dry leaves have a sweet plum cherry sweet odour with slight fallen leafy background.

First infusion is left to cool and is an oily sweet plum cherry slight sour woody viscus treat.  There is a woody resin almost bready base taste.  Quite oily and mouthwatering.  Obvious fruity aged tastes.  Slight cool mouth and open throat. Happy qi feeling.

Second infusion has a woody resin sweet bready taste with fruity sour pops of fruity flavours underneath.  Sour cherry, sour berries- sweet and sour dominate here.  Still nice oily mouthfeel with a faint mouth dryness.  Slight warming.  

Third infusion has a woody sour fruit taste over an oily slight silty dry mouthfeeling.  Sort of woody bready sweet faint sour fruit left in the mouth.  Nice happy vibe with some mild warming.

Fourth infusion has pops of sour cherry with woody almost mushroom taste.  Slight roast incense underneath now.  Has a bit of oily texture but with an increasing dryness in the mouth, gums, roof slight squeaky dry.  Slight relaxing energy.

5th has a rich woody fruity sour taste.  There are layers of an almost sugar sweetness, a woody base and sour fruity sweetness.  A bready almost fruity sweetness is left in the mouth.  Nice happy relaxed feeling.

6th has a sweet roots and woody ciccory sweetness.  The mouthfeel gets slightly tighter and drier with each infusion but still a touch of oily texture.  This infusion has a warm spice almost Ginseng taste note here.  Less fruity and sour and more sweet and spiced.  Nice mind relax happy.

7th infusion has a nice deep rich sweet woody taste upfront with slight resin and incense.  Sweet rich woody bready taste dominates with still some oily texture.  

8th has a sweet flavour woody rich almost jam sweetness with some faint bitter astringency nice chalky silty mouthfeel.  Uplifting happy qi. Mild warming. Slight incense smoke in distance but mainly woody sweet.

9th I steep out the next day… and it’s a mild sweet mild sour woody taste… slight gripping mouthfeel with a very faint chalky bubble gum taste which did not come up in the session or sessions before.  

Vs 2003 Shuangjiang Mengku (Rongshi) Da Xue Shan Wild-  when I started to sample this 2004 Ai Lao I immediately found lots of similarities between these two.  Both Northern puerh with areas close in proximity, almost identical production year, both old factory productions with tight compression, very similar natural Malaysian storage taste.  The big difference is that the Da Xue Shan is a wild tea not conventional variety and as such there is lots more space with less dense flavour but on the other hand a bit stronger Qi.  The 2004 Ai Lao has much more complexity and more evolution across the session.  It’s much more dense, delicious, warming- my favourite is the woody resinous taste and oily texture in the first few infusions!  The 2003 Da Xue Shan is at the low-ish end of acceptable occasional drinker tea.  It’s quite touchy for getting a delicious session- if too much leaf or steeped with an overly heavy hand it becomes astringent woody brackish.  Sometimes the session ends this way if you are pushing out long infusions.  The 2004 Ai Lao can sometimes get a touch sour if steeped too heavy.  The 2003 Rongshi Da Xue Shan Wild was actually restocked and the price doubled since I purchased it to only $0.24/g whereas the 2004 Ai Lao is $0.30.  The Ai Lao is in my mind at least three times better!  Great work on your sourcing TeasWeLike!

The description on the TeasWeLike site seems like a half hearted endorsement though.  It states, “ perhaps not as exciting as its southern counterparts, but an attractive and affordable example of aged puer nevertheless”.  Can anyone answer me which Southern puerh offering on the TeasWeLike site is as cheap, as aged, and as engaging as this 2004 Ai Lao Natural Malaysian storage????? I will have a hard time not reordering this one!