02 June, 2014

Enter the 36 Chambers

If this 2004 Guafengzhai cake from Pu-erh.sk were a track from classic album "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)", then it would surely be Cash Rules Everything Around Me: it starts out friendly, but as we might later come to expect from Inspectah Deck*, it rapidly turns serious.  It is repetitive, it is caustic, it is bitter.  And before long, you realise that you've rather enjoyed it. 

*He's like that dude that'll sit there and watch you play yourself and all that right? and [he'll] see you sit there and know you['re] lyin[g].

We may never know the Inspector's opinion on 'Banna region tea, but I suspect that he would be in approval of this Guafengzhai.  It is dark, loose, well-made, and has the rich scent of humidity.  My own cakes do not acquire this jungle-like humidity, and I always enjoy it when it comes my way.

Like Cash Rules Everything Around Me, this Guafengzhai is built on a strong foundation of appealingly sweet notes: it has a big, bold characteristic in the wenxiangbei [aroma cup], and continues forever, over and over over.

Again, like "C.R.E.A.M.", it has a strange capacity to resonate with your expectations, and has the potency to endure well with the passing years.  Already aged to some degree (although, of course, less than the "36 Chambers"), the Guafengzhai has a traditional, powerful huigan.  It is not grand, but it is strong, and that counts for a great deal.

As you know, Gentle Reader, Cash Rules Everything Around Me is a duet with Raekwon the Chef*, and this Guafengzhai reflects his contribution: perhaps somewhat edgy, backward-looking, but without being too bitter.  It is an excellent balance.

Many thanks to Peter for the opportunity to try this excellent cake.

*He's always cookin[g] up some marvellous **** to get your mouth watering.

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