03 February, 2008

1993 Nanjian "Phoenix" Tuocha

I don't drink enough tea like this. Delicious leaves today courtesy of TA - copious thanks, for they are delicious indeed.


This comely little chunk has been prized from a tuocha of very well-aged shengpu, originally sold by Houde (though it looks as if it has sold out), which TA notes was quite a pricey purchase. Money well-spent, methinks.

Nanjian factory have used tasty little spring leaves, with not too many breakages, and compressed them using serious force. Such tight compression usually means that they age slowly, but this one has done very well.


It has the best of both worlds: the depth and refined subtlety of maturity, combined with the vigour and energy of youth. If only we could all be so lucky.

The chaiqi, huigan, and texture are excellent. The overall feel is liquid library - molten mahogany. A touch of vanilla, some rich maltiness.

And before you know it... it's all gone. What a fleeting pleasure. Top stuff.

11 comments:

Brent said...

Sounds lovely-- thanks again for your notes.

I also thought your comment on it being a fleeting pleasure was interesting. It seems every time I read a review of puerh, there is mention of a tong or a few cakes, and the ephemeral aspect of it all seems missing. The fact that you don't have 20 kg of this stuff makes it seem even more precious, I think.

-Brent

Hobbes said...

Howdy sir,

I think the frequency of mentioning tongs and cakes decreases with increasing age of the tea, much as I wish to the contrary. :)

It is times like this that I am reminded of those happy (and justifiably self-satisfied) individuals who are sitting on tongs of 50s tea! The swine.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

yiwu said...

I had some of this yesterday. I too bought from Houde. I have had it in dry storage for over a year. When bought it reeked of cigarette smoke. Now it has changed hugely.

My view of the initial steeps was, thick milky body, light flavours of wood little scent. Then after steep 4 the heavy body began to recede, with the lightness came a sweet scent but barely perceptible and subtle. After steep 6, for 2 more the flavours were lightly floral. In the lid of the gaiwan was a strong scent of menthol which didn't carry over into the liquid. Qi was gentle at the neck at first, then it went up into my head. There aren't any strong flavours in this tea but it is subtle and I am glad that my patience with storage has paid off.

Hobbes said...

Dear Yiwu,

It's interesting to hear that it was particularly smoky when you first bought this tea - the sample from TA thankfully didn't have that, and I'm glad to hear that yours has recovered. I'd love to hear how you stored it.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Heatheronhertravels said...

Hello Hobbes, I thought you might be interested in my blog article about a tea tasting I enjoyed in Bristol - I gave your blog a mention

Hobbes said...

Dear Heather,

Many thanks both for the kind words, and for the notice about the new shop in Bristol! I travel there for research every now and again, and will try it next time I'm near Redland.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Jamus said...

I've been told that the only way to learn more is to read and ask questions, so here I am. I'm newer to the world of Pu-erh, so forgive my ignorance if the answer is rudimentary. I love to read all of your reviews, and normally when I come to a term I'm unfamiliar with, I hop over to Babelcarp and look it up. However, I saw chaiqi and was unable to find it's meaning. I thought maybe it was two separate words, so I broke it up to chai qi, and it found qi as 'to steep or infuse' but found nothing for chai...then I thought maybe it was also written cha, and found chaqi; "in Chinese Medicine and Taoism, the vital energy in tea." Same thing?

Hobbes said...

Dear Jamus,

Please do feel free to ask any questions; if I can't answer them, there are many readers here much more knowledgeable than I.

Chaqi is just as you say, the vital energy in tea. It's a subtle effect, which leads some to discount it. Trying some older teas really makes it obvious, I believe. Suspend your skepticism for just a while - I remember being skeptical myself when I first started drinking good teas. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Jamus said...

Trust me when I say there is no skepticism had on my behalf in regard to the energy of tea, especially good pu-erh. Thanks again for getting back to me.

yiwu said...

Storage was completely dry for a year and then a water tray on a shelf in a cupboard which is regularly opened and ventilated. The initial smoky taste wasn't a natural wood smoke but an acrid cigarette smell.

Later tastings suggest that the wood aspect of this tea tends towards walnut and flax-seed.

Hobbes said...

Dear Jamus,

I mean skepticism in a good, healthy sense! It's always wise to question, question, question all of the old assumptions and retain the ones that turn out to be true (for us). I think Buddha said something along those lines. :)


Dear Yiwu,

Walnut wood I can see - rich, sweet. I'll keep my eyes open to see if it ever becomes available again!


Toodlepip,

Hobbes