02 August, 2010

Summer Wulong, and the 2001 Jinchanghao "Yiwu"

The summers seem to be a lot hotter of late, which means that we have been drinking lots of lucha (Xinyang Maojian, mostly) and plenty of wulong, primarily qingxiang [green scent; i.e., not heavily roasted]. 

I usually consider Teamasters productions to be the most reliable, of which M. Erler's Dayuling has been by far my favourite for many years.  I was delighted to see Houde stocking tea from this area a few seasons ago, and this summer, I have been drinking a similar product from Essence of Tea.  The latter came in both qingxiang and nongxiang varieties, and were as good as I remember those from Teamasters.  When the sun is high, you would have to try very hard to beat the buttery sweetness of Dayuling.

Funnily enough, we have a honeysuckle bush growing along the fence outside our conservatory which has precisely the same aroma as both teas...

2001 Jinchanghao Yiwu
Small- and medium-sized leaves

The Jinchanghao sample pictured above also comes from Essence of Tea, where the whole cake costs £75.  I must admit that I don't usually buy tea at that price, and have done so on only a few occassions (such as the exceedingly friendly 1997 Henlichang "Bulang").  Hence, I tend to stick to younger cakes, with the ever-optimistic hope that they will grow pleasant under my care.  However, it's enjoyable to try samples of the more aged cakes, in order to educate the tongue a little, and, primarily, to enjoy some beautiful tea.

It is a clean orange, as may be seen below, and has an encouragingly long, sweet aroma.  It is well-oxidised (presumably through aging), and is sweet, clean, and heavy in the mouth.  Shengpu of this age tend to remind me of various types of wood, and this reminds me of rosewood: sweet, sharp, clean.

2001 Jinchanghao Yiwu

It is a touch to dainty and elegant for my tastes, which tend towards the beefy and robust, but it was a pleasure.  Its bright, refreshingly energetic character fits rather well to a day that promises yet more blistering sunshine...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all those great write-up's on the pu-erh reviews. They are the inspirations for me to try more pu-erh.
Noticed you used many different "xiang" to describe the aroma and flavors, qingxiang, chenxiang etc. Would appreciate if you could summarize them with the Chinese equivalent and a short explanation for each. Maybe in a futre article.

Thanks and cheers,

Hobbes said...

No problem! Courtesy of the mighty Babelcarp:

Nongxiang (浓香 or 濃香)
Dense or Robust Fragrance (浓香 or 濃香): in lucha, it could be a heavily sweet aroma; in oolong a heavy, fruity aroma; most or all hongcha has this.

Qingxiang (清香)
Clear Fragrance: in lucha, a light grassy aroma; in oolong, a floral scent from a lightly oxidized tea.



drumhum said...

Hi Hobbes,

I Love this tea. I find that the brewing this tea in different ways brings very different tea - in a good way. Less leaf and longer brewing for eg brings a much more sturdy brew. Its the reason I like this tea - you can brew it to suite your mood.

I find Its one of those teas that rewards you well for "getting to know it" and in my case a full cake was the only way to do this. Its one reason Im not a big fan of tea samples - for good tea samples can often only tell you part of their cake's story. If you know what I mean!

Kim said...

This tea got me right after the first brew of a sample.
Nada included it in an order and
just after trying it I had to order
this tea...

Hobbes said...

Dear Drumhum,

Less leaf! There's something I didn't try. I've got a little left in my sample bag, and so I'll take your suggestion. Thanks!

(It's a bit on the expensive side for me to get-to-know the whole cake, but I know what you mean.)

Dear Kim,

I was sitting right on the fence with this tea for a while, but came down on the other side of it to you, it seems. :)

Best wishes,