14 April, 2008

2006 Wenlong "1000 Year"

This is my first venture into a new vendor, Pure Puer. This company deals exclusively in the organic Wenlong brand. I remember a few similar outfits in Maliandao: organic claims; fresh, pleasant shops; exceptionally high prices. The folks at Pure Puer have been very pleasant and kind, and their offerings look very professional.

This particular cake is from Fenqqing, near Lincang. The leaves are very pretty indeed (below), being large and already dark, with the aroma of sweet tobacco. They really are very big.

Alarm bells begin to ring at the rinse, which comes out the bright green colour of lucha. The first infusion comes out more yellow (shown below) - it looks extremely, wonderfully clean, with nary a stray particle in sight. A consequence of organic production? It certainly looks attractive.

I look for frankness in a review of tea, so that I can make an informed choice, and in that spirit I must confess that I think something is definitely not quite right in this tea. It is very, very sour, but also very, very simple - it could be warm grapefruit juice. In that same spirit of frankness, this tea is almost absent much of what I look for in pu'er: huigan, acidity, complexity, yunxiang. It's rather a one-dimensional experience.

What sets this tea apart is its truly narcotic chaqi. Something in this tea is very active, and leaves me perspiring and reeling.

This is a really odd tea. I have trouble categorising it as pu'er, and I suspect that if you buy it expecting conventional pu'er, you might be disappointed. The price is $120, which seems out of step with what's on offer. I found that it needed to be overbrewed by 3-4x in order to obtain much character, and that's using a very large quantity of (the very healthy, large) leaves, such that the pot is stuffed full.

Phew... that chaqi, though! I suggest trying a sample of this tea just to appreciate the full range of what a pu'er leaf can achieve - it's certainly an interesting addition to one's "tasting vocabulary", but probably not to my tea collection.


Anonymous said...

Experience has shown that proper brewing methods repeatedly yield excellent results. Over brewing is not necessary to achieve delicacy of taste. The symptoms you describe suggest an underlying palateless condition, a rather unique palate insensitivity.

--Maurice Lyons PhD

lycanthropus said...

I also found this tea to be bizarre. My sample smelled strongly of smoked whitefish, and had a sour aftertaste. the only flavor I could get from it was one of licorice root. I tried the 2007 thousand year wild tree green puer also, and found the aftertaste so persistently sour that I think I won't drink the rest of the sample. I think something is wrong with this tea.

Hobbes said...

Yes, this was crazy! Thanks for the comment; you're the first other person I've seen who has tried a Wenlong tea. :)