13 June, 2011

2011 Essence of Tea "Bulang"

The 2011 Essence of Tea "Bulang" is, like its predecessors, strong tea.

2011 EoT Bulang

While drinking this tea, a suitable simile from popular culture came to mind to best describe its position relative to cakes from previous years.  If the 2009 Bulang and 2010 Bulang are, for example, regular Taxmaster (pictured below left), then the 2011 version can be none other than Omega Taxmaster (pictured below right).

As I exhaled noxious menthol fumes from this tea, Omega Taxmaster came to mind.

I think that's all we need to know about this cake, and so we could end the article here.

TaxmasterOmega Taxmaster

For those of you who wish for a few more details, I'm glad that you stuck around.

The dry leaves are tippy, and medium in length.  This cake comes from the same family as previous years, and so we might expect that the maocha should look fairly similar to those from older cakes.  What is surprising about the dry leaves are the extraordinarily potent scents being exuded.  Recalling the melee of previous years, I err on the side of caution when selecting a quantity of leaves for this session.

2011 EoT Bulang

Good bitterness arrives from the very first infusion, combined with heavy, low tobacco notes.  After just two tiny cups, my head is reeling. My skin tingles as the cold is pushed outwards, the tea working its way through my body at great speed.

Its character is very sharp, something like grapefruit to my reckoning.  I actually enjoyed the aggressive nature of the tea from previous years, but this is so significantly more violent that it prohibits any great degree of pleasure.

Perhaps it will age well - it certainly has the power for it.

2011 EoT Bulang

The significant price increase of 27% from previous years (from £40 to £51) prevents me from buying more than a cake of this tea, which I retain to see how it goes.  

Revisiting the 2009 version after two years, I observed that it had settled into a darker, quieter mode - we might assume a similar trajectory for this latest production.  I seldom encounter cakes that are genuinely too much for me to enjoy, given my love of bitterness and aggression, but this is definitely one of them.


Anonymous said...

After reading you review on this, I don't think I need rushing to try mine. I find the last year 2010 Bulang already mellow a little bit or I became a harden tea drinker? Which ever, I find it become more accessible.


Sébastien said...

"significantly more violent"

Damn ! I ordered one cake a few days ago...
Last year, when a brew the 2010 EoT Bulang, I had a mouth traumatism. Brewed shorter with less leaves, I really appreciate this puerh. However, your review of this 2011 Bulang is quite scaring me.

At the same time I would like to thank you for your blog.

Hobbes said...

Dear Apache,

This cake certainly needs some time, yes indeed. :)

Dear Sebastien,

Thanks very much for the kind words. There's nothing to be scared of with this cake, as I'm sure it will age well. Just brew with fewer leaves, as you mentioned. It will still take your head off!



Anonymous said...

Ah , the Beast of Bulang ! I very much enjoyed reading your review earlier this week , and have been itching to have a session with some of mine ever since . I finally managed one this morning . " As I exhaled noxious menthol fumes from this tea " , oh so true ! Just wonderful ! I enjoyed every moment of my session with this tea , and am very pleased that I invested in a tong to age and a sample I mean a cake to drink whilst the tong is ageing . I remember how potent and apocalyptic my 2009 and 2010 cakes of this were at this age , so I took the advice that Nada originally gave me and used 50 - 60 % of the amount of leaf that I normally use - this takes the edge off the brutality and lets the complexities shine through . I recommend you try another session using less leaf , I think you'd enjoy it ! If Badger and Blade ever gets up and running again , I'll post a review for this on the sheng of the day thread if your interested ( user name - Tofu Miso ) . All the best Hobbes ! Simeon .