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.


Bill said...

It reads like you are getting your own voice and appreciation down. Good for you! Great post

Salsero said...

Yes, Bill, I agree. This is really a nice post. I found much of the same in this tea and will now have to taste that cake again (it's been eight months!), but your description brings it out much better than my notes do, and I'm excited at the prospect that it may have improved. Thanks for the post.