05 April, 2009

2008 Gujun "Korea-Export Bulang"

Alert! The likes of Scotto, JB, and other gentlefolk have long been extolling the splendours of a 2008 Bulang brick, sold by Puerh Shop. It was about $12, seemingly, and was very nice. So they say, and I trust 'em. Mostly.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled on a product at the same vendor listing this brick as being "restocked Bulong". Oddly, the vendor description read "Bulong" throughout. (Do please let me know if I've missed a major tea-production region by that name!)

Groucho Marx said that anything beginning with the letter 'k' was automatically funny, and I find the same with words that end in '-ong'. So, I confess that I was tittering like a schoolgirl while I read the description. In fact, I'm still smiling now as I remember it.

2008 Gujun BulangKorea

Forgive me, there must be something wrong with me, as it just caused to sit back in my chair and chuckle some more.

So, Bulong aside, I was very happy to see that this little fellow was back.

Spookily, this product was made by the "Gujun Tea Company", whereas the advertisement for the original brick listed the "Yiwu Zhengshan Tea Co." I was always surprised that the latter was attributed to this brick, as they are the manufacturers of the Douji brand. The previously unheard-of "Gujun" company sounds a lot more believable for this product - but it does leave me wondering why the company attribution has changed. And, given that it's changed, how can this be claimed that it is a "restock"?

Perhaps the answers to some questions are beyond the ken of mortal men, and "ours is not to question why".

(Tennyson in your tea blog = +10 pts)

2008 Gujun BulangKorea

With all these questions of authenticity knocking around in my empty cranium, I was expecting very little from this tea. The wrapping is a nightmare (once opened, never resealed), and the compression is so tight that it drew blood. I still have the resulting deep wound between the finger and palm of my left hand, making it difficult to flex.

I jemmied off some small leaves, pictured above, desperately trying not to break them, to avoid impending bitterness.

A hot but odourless beidixiang [initial aroma] turns into a sweet, sugary lengxiang [cool scent] - very pleasant. The soup comes out a beautiful, pure yellow pictured below - "Yellow Ground" or "Babouche"?

2008 Gujun BulangKorea

My low expectations were considerably exceeded, for this is really rather nice: it has a sweet leather flavour, then a sudden rush of huigan [returning sweetness] that persists well in the throat. It has tons of potency - this is surely Bulang.

I am careful with the brewing, treading softly for fear of creating a bitter monster. Overall, it is clean, potent, simple, yet really rather tasty. It remains stable throughout its course of infusions. After a long night at a friend's house for dinner, this turns out to be the perfect revivication - energising and purifying!

The real name of this brick is, according to the vendor description, "Xiao Hanguo Qiaomu Chunliao Qingzhuan": Korea-market tall-tree pure-material green-brick. This obviously isn't qiaomu [tall-tree] or chunliao [pure-material], and it's a bit depressing to read such claims on a $13 brick, but it is very nice.

If you like them sweet, powerful, and stable, and can cope with bleeding hands and high compression, then it's a good way to spend $13.


Wojciech Bońkowski said...

Is this the only wrapper? Wrapping in no-name grey paper sounds like commercial suicide. I confess never having seen this before. Especially with fakes!
Thank you for the Tennyson, and the great idea of using a colour index with tea - will surely borrow that!
Best, Nerval

Hobbes said...

Dear Nerval,

Those are the only wrappers, yes indeed. Perhaps they wrapped up in something a little more appealing/comprehensible to the Korean market at the receiving end.



P.s. I'm sure it goes without saying that the colour chart was entirely incidental, being useful for the selection of paint colour for a spare room... :)

speakfreely said...

The part in the description that has me snickering is: "The keywords here are: Bulong, Wild Arbor, Export to Korea, Small Batch. Sounds hot, isn't it?"

Hobbes said...

I'm so glad you wrote that, as I deleted it from my original article so as to avoid sounding too critical. I remember that this particular phrase made my day, and I said "Sounds hot, isn't it?" to at least three bemused colleagues during the following 48 hours.

Bulong and thanks for all the memories,


"Hope you love it Bulong time" - M. Schlongini

"All your base are Bulong to us" - Kimble

Bill said...

Interesting Hobbes!

I may have to pick up a brick.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great review.

I have updated the web page on the product, adding more information for you guys to talk about.

Jim at PuerhShop.com

Tony Shlongini said...

Having enjoyed this tea some six months ago in its original incarnation (no nitpicks about the misuse of the word- to me, tea is a living, breathing, sentient entity), I now kick myself for not getting more.

The reason I didn't reorder is simple- I thought it was not the same product. Had I known it was the same simple yet satisfying brick as before, I would not have hesitated.

My opinion of Jim's site, already quite high, would be even greater if I didn't have to wade through such obfuscatory verbiage just to buy a brick of tea.

Hobbes said...

Actually, I still don't know if it's the same brick as that which was originally labelled "Yiwu Zhengshan Co.". Is it a restock of that brick, or a previously-sold "Gujun" brick that I didn't notice?

Beyond the ken of mortal men...



Scotto said...

I'm glad I led the vanguard on this one, since it is a nice tea. I revisited it this week and was again impressed given its price and ridiculous packaging.

Ir reminds me of creamsicles - that childhood (in the US, anyway) summertime ice cream confection of orange sherbert and cream. I'm not sure it has the guts for the long haul, but for now it is a nice tea to have around.