18 March, 2009

1996 Menghai 7532 "Green in Orange"

With cause to celebrate, I crack into a sample bought from Nadacha: the mighty 7532 from 1996. This is the "Green in Orange", referring to the fact that the cake has a green neifei [ticket embedded into the cake], while the wrapper has an orange "zhongcha" logo. This is a later blend from the year to the 7532 "Orange in Orange" which, unsurprisingly, has an orange neifei.

Mmm, orange...

Fruit Bowl

This cake costs £200, which I'm unlikely to be able to justify spending on a single cake, even if it does work out to be quite cheap per session. So, time to enjoy a sample while it lasts!

This is desirable tea. If my 7532 from this year age so well, I will be a happy tea-drinker.

1996 Menghai 7532

It's fascinating to compare 7532 from 1996 to 7532 from 2009. It allows us to try and extrapolate from existing characteristics to what may be observed in the more mature leaves - making the fairly strong assumption that the two are comparable in production.

The leaves, pictured above, are small once again, and the pleasant rusty orange of tips that have gained some maturity. While dry, the aroma is asleep. When added to the rinsed pot, it awakens to reveal beautifully rich, damp, sweet wood.

1996 Menghai 7532

Oh, this one is smooth - so very, very smooth! It opens with plenty of sweet vanilla in the wenxiangbei [aroma cup], while the soup is heavy in its red/brown colour. It has a golden meniscus, a sign of aging shengpu.

This tea is alive, and it cools the lips and causes tingling sensations on the tongue. The huigan builds, and endures for a whole minute.

1996 Menghai 7532

This cake is a real treat. The surprising smoothness is remarkable, and that citrus-like tang of 7532 lives on despite its years, but attenuated and smoothed out, becoming part of the rich, woody background.

Will our 7532 be this good in 13 years? Wouldn't that be something...


Tony Shlongini said...

Let's see, if I accelerate my cake of '08 7532 to .95c..... No, then I'll be old and the cake will be young.
If I accelerate myself to .95c, then my sheng will have aged, but so will my wife. That's out.
If I accelerate both myself and my bing, then I'll be young and my cake will be labeled as old, but surely it would be considered a fake.

This time dilation stuff is complicated.

Hobbes said...

Get a Delorean!

Zero the Hero said...

Gotta go back in time! I've got a guess as to which decade you'd pick this week...What a coincidence; I was just trying MY sample of this tea yesterday! There's certainly a lot going on, I thought, from spicy and woody notes to even a bit of unidentifiable fruit. With my limited experience, I find it hard to even imagine what else happens to a tea like this in, say, another 20 years. $300ish does seem like quite a bit for a 13 year old tea, but the Taiwanese and mainland pu-erh afficionado hype machine seems to know no bounds...

Hobbes said...

Dear Zero,

You know, I'm fairly sure it's not just hype at this stage - pu'er is a reasonably mature market, in that there's a lot of real demand, from a stable consumer base, for the limited supply. The demand is mature, it's from people who love it, like you and me. (I'm not counting PRC pop-stars swigging bad pu'er in advertisements!) The price rises in accordance with all of the pu'er folk getting interested in it, and disposable incomes among the Chinese merchant class getting (very) high.

I'm sure hype plays a part with some teas (1999 BGT, par example), but this just feels like general acclamation for something that a lot of serious drinkers apparently rather enjoy. Fair enough, I say!

If I didn't have a whole host of other higher-priority things to spend my $300 on, I'd be buying them myself. :)



Zero the Hero said...

Excellent points sir! I guess we all do need to accept that seemingly ridiculous price increase is actually pretty logical when the product in question starts its life with definite number limits that only shrink.

I'm very interested to see if you tried any of Nada's 1993 7542; I just blogged about it yesterday and am always excited to see what seasoned pu-erh lovers have to say about teas I've actually tried.


Hobbes said...

Superb, a new blog for my daily reader!

Zero the Hero said...

Thanks Hobbes! I finally got around to adding a blog roll to my blog, and yours was the first I added. Thanks for continuing to produce the classiest pu-erh blog online!