13 July, 2010

2009 Yunzhiyuan / Ruicaoxiang "Ailao Juse"

Yunnan Sourcing made some excellent cakes last year - the Guafengzhai was a favourite of mine, which appears to have sold out (and deservedly so).  This is one that I've just caught up to tasting, with thanks to Terje for the sample.

2009 YS Alilao Juse
Broken medium-sized leaves

Ailaoshan is a Simao mountain, and Scott writes that this comes from Wang Jia village, at an altitude of 2,200m above sea-level.  He also notes the presence of thicker, fatter buds that "make this more like a Jinggu tea" than the usual orchid-scented [lanxiang] teas from nearby Wuliangshan.

2009 YS Alilao Juse
The brew is a stable yellow-orange

An obvious buttery roast opens the aroma, and this feeling of heavy heat presence persists.  It is sweet, gentle, and approachable - but not the jaunty, energising affair of its sister cakes from 2009.

A portion of the leaves' original kuwei [bitter flavour] remains, but it really isn't enough to satisfy my desire for a tea with real content.

2009 YS Alilao Juse
The blend is obvious

Most of Scott's teas are priced quite fairly, and this is no exception - at $22, we shouldn't expect miracles.  This is a pleasant cake, but not up to the heights scaled by some of the others in the 2009 Yunzhiyuan series.  I look forward to tasting what 2010 has on offer from the same label.


Nick E said...

Speaking of YS label, Scott included a sample of the 2010 Guafengzhai with my last order. It was quite nice. Light, but energetic with some weird smoky flavors that were hard to describe. You should pick some up. :D

Hobbes said...

Dear Nick,

Thanks for the pointer! I had been meaning to try it out, but various Taobao forays have kept me busy. I filled a shopping basket with samples at YS recently, and was shocked to see the price had accumulated to over $100! Those samples really have become rather pricey. I'll have to focus down on those samples that I really care about - such as the Guafengzhai that you mentioned.

(The smokey characteristics that you mentioned may dissipate in time. One of Nadacha's cakes from this year was smokey when I first tried it, but has since become smooth and "normal".)