11 July, 2010

2003 Yiwu Manluo - Changdahao "Yiwu Zhengshan"

Three cheers for wet storage!

2003 Changdahao Yiwu
How zheng is your zhengshan?

I do love me some shicang [sher-tsang, wet storehouse]. Thanks to Keng for supplying us with a fine example of the genre.

Judging from its clean aroma, this one has been in dry storage for its recent years.

2003 Changdahao Yiwu
A disc of shicang

You can almost smell the beautifully acrid stench of flinty shicang from the photograph.  As pictured below, the leaves are, however, very clean.

2003 Changdahao Yiwu
Clean and separate, with not a hint of white speckling

This one has been quite heavily stored in its past life, and it has affected its longevity.  You can't hurry greatness.  That said, this is a cake of very decent quality, providing a gloopy, thick soup that coats the interior of the mouth like an adhesive.  You can almost slice it.

Cooling sensations abound, with sticky, syrupy flavours that combine very nicely with its orthodox shicang character.  I can't see this getting much more complex or refined with age, but it matters little, as I enjoy it to such a degree that I can't see it lasting long enough for us to find out...

P.s. I just realised that "Changdahao" is the brand of one my favourite cakes, the 2005 Yiwu Zhengshan, which I previously knew as "Yiwu Manluo" (which is the tea company that makes the Changdahao brand)...  So, in some ways, this 2003 cake could be seen as a precursor to my old 2005 favourite.  They are not dissimilar, though the 2005 has greater endurance.

P.p.s. A quick update after trying this one alongside the 2005 mentioned above: the 2003 is more "tar-like", and a touch emptier.  It's harder to get started, and doesn't unfold quite as well.  I notice from Taobao that Manluo / Changdaohao have two overall types of cake: the stork-logo cake (as with this 2003), and the zhong-cha-style cake (as with the 2005).  It could be that the latter are the stronger cakes - I'll order a few random examples of both types from random vendors.


Anonymous said...

Recent editions of both cakes are to be found at The Red Lantern


Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for your very interesting description. Personally I have not tasted this tea, although I have a tong sitting somewhere. I have been trying to find out how shichang tea taste like, so this will be a good opportunity for me. Cheers! Keng.

Hoodia Gordonii said...

The description is really very interesting..I heard of shichang tea the very first time..lets see when can I have it..

Hobbes said...

Dear Terje,

Thanks for the indication - they are decent prices. It's good to see Changdahao cakes on offer from Western vendors - my secret treat...

Dear Keng,

It is definitely worth opening a tong to enjoy! The shicang characteristics are quite light, and they are only really evident in the aroma - the brew tastes dry-stored. I suspect that the vendor from whom you obtained it bought it from a supplier with some wet-storage in its distant past; it's as if it had some shicang a long time ago, but has since dried out and become more orthodox. It's good stuff!

Dear Hoodia,

If you're after full shicang, this cake won't be a good indicator. As I described above, it has dried out, and the shicang exists only in the aroma. I reviewed a cake from Houde a few days ago that was very wet, however!

Toodlepip all,