26 January, 2012

2009 Douji "Youle"

Ages ago, a number of us embarked on buying a batch of 2009 single-mountain cakes via Taobao, through an agent.  I think it was "Taobaonow".  Since then, the same cakes have become available for comparable, or even lower, prices at outlets that have taken to specialising in Douji, such as Dragon Teahouse and China Chadao.

Of that stack of single-mountain cakes, I have been quite impressed.  While not reaching the heights of hand-selected cakes from premium vendors, Douji cakes are reliable and robust, and tend to occupy the upper end of the mainstream.

2009 Douji Youle

This cake from Youleshan is one of the few from the stack that I have not yet opened, and think it time to do so.  This has been on my shelves for over two years...

2009 Douji Youle

As with all Douji single-mountain cakes, it looks good.  The cake is chubby, the leaves are whole.  All the signs are right, so far.  The scent is quite delightful, being a forthright sweetness that you don't often find in a pu'ercha.

2009 Douji Youle

Youleshan is one of the historically "famous" six mountains, but it doesn't turn up regularly in single-mountain cakes, unless masquerading as something else.  I seem to recall a gentle, roasted 2009 version from Yunnan Sourcing and a solid 2003 6FTM version (thanks to Keng).  As a result of this limited exposure, I don't feel as if I fully understand the characteristics of Youleshan tea, and so this Douji cake is welcome.

As with the scent of the dry leaves, the character in the tasting cup (pinmingbei) is intriguing, being fruity - it eventually fades into leafy sweetness, but lasts long.  That fruitiness is a ripe, purple kind that fills the front of the mouth immediately, and makes it instantly appealing.  Meanwhile, an undercurrent of broad "tea" flavours fill out underneath, making itself known in the throat.  It is a good combination of savoury and fruity characteristics.

Douji always strike a good balance between price and quality, and I feel a little closer to understanding the region.  Some more data-points would be most welcome in reducing the bounds of uncertainty.


Jakub Tomek said...

Good evening!
If I send you some samples in future (which I hope I will), I'll add several You Le bits, I quite like the region...

This cake you've just described sounds definitely interesting! I haven't had such a young good You Le.

Hobbes said...

Brilliant - thanks, Jakub!