Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2007 Guoyan Classics 88

This review is long overdue. I've had this cake for almost a year and it's time I make a record of how it is now.

When I first got this bing I wasn't enthused. It was harsh, smoky, and bitter. Back then I was using a big kitchen knife to break off leaf which probably accounted more than a little to my bad experience. Now, using my tuocha pick (my preferred tool for tightly compressed pu-erh), I can hunk off nice whole chunks.

I still used a lot of leaf for this tasting, enough to mostly fill the gaiwan when wet. The color of the liquor is a golden amber. The aroma is sharp with hay. The taste is clean, not sharp, starting with a smokiness followed as delicately floral with lots of hay. The infusion has a high tone of lightly sweet and is quite quenching.

Supposedly following the 7548 recipe, the tea is well-rounded and has served as my model for the "young sheng" taste. Although quenching at first, over the steeps the tea is somewhat drying. The same sequence happens in every steep, the taste starts with a kick of smoke, then follows with much hay and delicate floral. A bitterness lays in wait, pronouncing itself if the infusion is any longer than a flash, as well as when the tea cools off.

I feel that nothing has changed over the past 9 months with this one (good!). Jittery energy and a slight headache surfacing... I add some Teriyaki Oberto turkey jerky to the mix and am again revitalized. I implore everyone to try this jerky with their sheng. It is the most excellent tea and food combination I have had the pleasure of finding. It's especially good if you feel bad about imbibing large amounts of young sheng. Hmm... I wonder if TCM has anything to say about that.

I have high hopes for the future of (what's left of) this bing.