Friday, January 11, 2008
2005 Ming-Yuan Hao Yi-Wu
A 2005 harvest makes this one of the youngest shengs I've ever tried. I've had luck with Yiwu leaf before (2003 Keyixing), and was told this is similar, so I decided to give it a try. If I like it, I might buy a whole cake.
The leaves are giant, as long as my longest finger.
After two rinses, the leaves smell like crispy leather, sharper, a bit like a live animal, similar to hair.
From the brew I get a smell of dry, dead grass, and a light, dry woodsiness. The color is a healthy amber with some orange.
Taste: Surprisingly smooth! A warm welcome cup that is not intense with flavor, but has a hint of smokiness. Not dry or sharp, the third infusion (post-two rinses) has a smoothness and balance of flavor. The light, calm leather flavor lingers on the palate. VERY GOOD!
The wet leaf now has a smoky/mesquite hint, and a slight sandy smell.
The 2nd steep smells more of the dry-grass and also the barbecue smokiness. Again, incredibly smooth! Warm, and sensuous, this tea is very well balanced, with only a hint of astringency, which is actually welcome. There is also an odd sweetness that is actually a high note, not a deep sweetness, but an open, light, yet smacking sweetness.
At this point, I think I've decided on buying a whole cake.
The 3rd steep (5th infusion, after 2 rinses) has a flavor that is more smoky, a tad more astringent, which is contrary to the norm. Perhaps because of a longer steep time.
Feeling a little tea-drunk at this time, but the 4th steep is once again a brilliant balance of flavors. No unwelcome flavors to unbalance the tea; neither too much smoke, nor astringency. I feel that this tea lacks a strong character, and is instead a wonderfully smooth balance of many light flavors.
Well, 5th steep carries a woodsy aroma and flavor, perhaps giving this tea a character of light flavors of leather and wood in a very equal balance. Yet the overall flavor has become even lighter.
The leaf is slightly amber, past green, and reminds me of the '03 Keyixing Yiwu.
A longer steep-time for the 6th brings back a little bit of the leather, and a deeper woodsiness, and a bite of astringency. Also lighter in color. This is either the falling off point, or the saturation point of my taste buds.
This one was a great session. After two rinses the first cup came out smooth and rounded, with a good blend of light, welcome flavors. The tea lasted well into 6 infusions, and gave gave me a very satisfying drink. I still have about two-thirds of this sample, but I may go ahead and buy the cake, perhaps along with some more samples. This is the best young puerh I've had to date.