06 February, 2012

2010 Sanhetang - Xizihao "Laowushan"

The days of frenetic Xizihao excitement may be long past, but they still retain a place in my affections.  The 2010 Xizihao "Manning", however, does not.  Even my mother found it to be bland.  

Everyone deserves a second chance, and so I (eventually) return to consider the second of the 2010 Xizihao cakes sold by Houde.

2010 Xizihao Laowushan
Houde makes pretty bags, does it not?

This cake is a tidy $95, and is a Simao cake, approximately from the Jinggu region.  My love for cakes from the region has been often described in these humble pages, and so I will avoid repetition.  Hopes are high, suffice to say.

2010 Xizihao Laowushan
Observe the human hair, sticking vertically upwards!

Even looking at the photograph of the leaves, some time after actually drinking the tea, reminds me just how lovely this cake looks.  The blend is rugged and robust (read: containing everything except the kitchen sink), which can be a good sign for the tea.  In the hands of the charming chap that runs Xizihao, I expect good things.

Straight away, the differences from its sub-standard "Manning" cousin are obvious: this tea pours a bright yellow, whereas the Manning was more orange.  As shown below, it looks rather appealing, and appears suitably active, such that it gradually darkens as the action of the air works upon it.

2010 Xizihao Laowushan
A plucky yellow brew indicates its clean, "honest" status

This is a vibrant and pleasant mixture of fruity, sweet "top notes", with a husky, savoury base befitting of its Simao origins.  It sits nicely in the mouth, keeping my attention with some decent gushu [ancient tree] characteristics: vibrancy, cooling sensations, promotion of mouth-watering, and a late, welcome huigan.

It is, while an accomplished tea, a little light and delicate for my tastes, which call for a rugged, rambunctious soup.  It can seem a little ordinary if the attention wanders, but its qualities become obvious if you focus on it sufficiently.

$95?  Perhaps, if delicate, fragile teas are to your taste.  For me, the hint of low Simao is just a reminder of how dissimilar it is to the Simao cakes that I adore.  De gustibus non est disputandem.  (Not that such sentiments stop me from disputing.)

After the really quite mediocre 2010 Xizihao bamboo tube, this Laowushan was a welcome return to form.


MarshalN said...

You're never quite sure if that's indeed human hair.

Hobbes said...

Or, even if human, from which part of the human...