After our delightful exploration of 7542s through the ages, Apache was so generous as to give Lei and me this 2006 cake from Baichatang, a factory that I cannot recall coming across before.
I've since had it on numerous occasions, the results of which I present today. Oddly enough, I write from the "club room" in my professional institution in London, on the banks of the Thames. There seems to be something odd about describing a pu'ercha while drinking a very English Darjeeling, in a typical London club-like setting. The oak-panelled walls muffle the booming laughter from nearby bearded grandees, and my spoon vibrates quietly on my saucer.
The beauty of this cake is quite obvious; the photographs above and below attempt to convey some of its chubby charms. Perhaps the five-year-old darkness comes across in the images. Fittingly, the name of the brand is "Chenxiangpai", roughly "aged aroma brand".
This currently sells for a respectable £30 at Dragon Teahouse, which is an eBay shop with whom I have had nothing but good experiences.
The soup is a suitable orange. I am a little concerned that a cake would be named "aged aroma" even while young, as if it has been cunningly adjusted such that it has had such an aroma from birth. The scent of the leaves is sweet, but somewhat reminiscent of cakes that have experienced such interventions.
..and yet the charcater in the mouth is quite a surprise: it is vivid, lively, and "tingling" on the tongue. The body is packed with heavy camphor and spiced wood, and it bubbles and fizzes along as if it is very much alive.
Apache found this cake to be not quite to his tastes, but it suits me well. I think that my dear wife may side with our guest on the matter, as she observed "Strong and bitter - not the kind that I enjoy."
It is very strong in the throat, and could do well over the years. My diary at one points has "pungent, potent, and penetrating" which must surely be a compliment.
Many thanks to Apache for such a pleasant and lively gift. Not a cake for refined palates, but perfect for mine.