20 September, 2013

Big (and Fake?) Dayi

I am, perhaps like a lot of people, rather keen on the better Dayi cakes and their proven record when it comes to aging.  They range from the simple-but-excellent to complex-and-excellent, and are one of the few near-certainties in the highly uncertain world of pu'ercha.  Dayi special productions (although not the regular recipes) are currently the subject of market speculation, resulting in crazy price-rises for those particular cakes.  It is a very localised form of asset bubble.

While not a "special", the Dayi 501 (pictured below) is very good and well worth a look.  Apache and I have tried, and failed, to find much available in the way of 501, having to settle for 502 instead.

Dayi 501

This article concerns an alleged sample of 501, which turned out to be anything but.

Dayi 501 Fake?

Apache noted that the wrapped of the 501 potentially-fake tuocha that he bought had been opened, and that there was no neifei - hence his concerns.

Dayi 501 Fake?

The leaves look good, being large and reasonably dark, although they are obvious red with respect to the genuine darkness of actual 501.

Dayi 501 Fake?

The rinse has a suspicious brown-yellow colour, which only becomes orange when there is sufficient quantity of soup in the gongdaobei [fairness cup] to mask its original appearance.

Dayi 501 Fake?

Its flavour is classically fake: it is not potent (where it should be, given the strength of 501), but the aging process has given it a simple, mellow warmth.  There is no pine-like charm, no huigan [returning sweetness], no Dayi character, just gradual maltiness with a calm sweetness.

The tang in the mouth has the curious character of lingering chemicals, not the cooling vibrancy of real tea.  I abandon it immediately, and will clean the pot carefully.  Silly me - I should have used a glazed gaiwan.

The 2007 "Anxiang" is textbook speculation.

2007 Dayi Anxiang

Pictured above is the shupu version; the shengpu version is a different colour.

2007 Dayi Anxiang

"Anxiang" refers to a dark, mellow, and light scent.  I remember one of the few classical poems that I actually know in Chinese, and hazard a guess.  "Yes, that is where it comes from!" says my dear wife, as surprised as I am.  The name of this cake is sometimes rendered as "secret fragrance", which isn't quite right.

This cake started out at around £30, and is currently topping a rather pointless £100.

2007 Dayi Anxiang

The leaves, pictured above, are tiny and dark, with the faintest of scents.  Added to the damp, warm pot, they reveal an aroma of dark, dried fruit.

2007 Dayi Anxiang

I am greeted with a proper scent, heavy and sweet.  As you can see from the above, the soup is a rich orange.  This is good Dayi: it is clean, smooth, silken in texture, cooling, and has good kuwei.  It is dense, fun, and has just the right degree of challenge to be appealing, and to suggest that its best is yet to come.

2007 Dayi Anxiang

I was impressed by the Anxiang, but it needs a lot of leaves to get the most out of it.  The cooling kuwei even corresponds to a vivid feeling on the lips, which is quite unexpected for a Dayi cake.

While this is very solid and enjoyable tea, it needs to be bought at its original price rather than the inflated new price, I suspect.  Certainly, I would not feel comfortable buying it at £100 - I remember looking at these cakes in 2007 when they were produced, and cannot imagine paying so much for them.

There are, after all, plenty more Dayi fish in the sea.  The teasphere tends to get a bit over-fixated on certain cakes.

Dayi 501 Fake?

Shown above, the fake 501 and the 2007 Anxiang.  I leave it as an exercise, Gentle Reader, to determine which is which.


shah8 said...

I have just had this tea yesterday. My soup is lighter than yours. I used more leaf than I usually do, and it worked out well for me. I thought it was somewhat like the Jin Dayi in that it had a pretty broad (at factory tea volume, mind you) refined wood taste, except more feminine, and the base isn't the kind of Pasha or Bada sweet mushrooms, but more Mengsong/Nannuo honeyshrooms. The huigans were not pungent, but there is an aftertaste liked some aged tea huigans, where it seeps up from the throat. These were good, but the best thing about the tea today was how it felt like swallowing after sucking on hard candies like Jolly Rancher. Wasn't sweet, but it felt like you were drinking something sweet. Jin Dayi has better body and some more durability, while the Anxiang had more complexity in the cup and more dynamic session while it lasted.

The amazing thing is, people are still willing to pay a hundred pounds for this tea in Taiwan.

Hobbes said...

Dear Shah,

It is not a bad tea, by any means, and, especially for Dayi enthusiasts, it is very appealing. The sheer magnitude of the price just feels negative, though. If you bought it at the proper, lower price, then you did very well. :)



apache said...

Both 501 and 502 tuos are around 10p per g now, so a 500g 502 would cost around £50. Some vendor suggests they have some feral plantation / wild arbor (野放), depend how you define it, material in them. Whether this is true or not I don't know but they do taste better than most same period tuos. This vendor sold me this lemon the same price of a real Dayi tuo, bast*rd!

I won't send you any more fake or doggy teas, as I don't want to poison my friend, also I think by now I could tell whether a cake or a tuo are fake in most cases by myself.

The sheng Anxiang is the nicest 2007 cakes in my collection, I think it beats the eternal youth 2007 12 Gent. and XZH 2007 8582 hand down. Present market price is around 1000 rmb per 400g cake. It tastes like candy floss to me. The only down side of it is it doesn't last many steeps, just over 10 or 12 times, but perfect for a short session.

For those who are interested, this cake is very very tight, almost like a xiaguan iron cake. The seal and inner ticket doesn't fluorescent under black light, this is also the case for the shu version as well. To determine whether a cake is legit for this one, you have to rely on the level of compaction, leaves on the surface and shape of the cake as well as taste of it. I haven't discover any secret code / sign on the outer wrapper yet.


Hobbes said...

Fakes are always good fun. :)