2009 Yunnan Sourcing Wu Liang Lan Xiang
With January gone, I look ahead into February. This is often a most daunting month for me, as by now, I have usually had it with winter. Rhode Island’s 2009-2010 winter was incredibly mild and I found myself walking beaches with little to no snow on the ground and temperate conditions. 2011 has seen round after round of ice-sleet-snow-mush, unsuitable for skiing, let alone walking. These conditions have made embracing the qualities of winter more than difficult. As always, some new young sheng puerh in my cup helps.
I recently acquired four samples different Yunnan Sourcing commissioned cakes from 2009: Wu Liang, Bu Lang, You Le, and Ban Zhang. The samples smelled so good that I decided to go ahead and start in on them, with intentions of posting thoughts on each here. One of the particularly enjoyable elements of these cakes are the wrappers. While they lack the eccentric timeless charm of a Zhongcha brand paper, they do exude a certain amount of graceful elegance that causes me to pause and appreciate them a bit longer.
Easily the most outstanding character of this particular cake is the dry leaf and cupped aroma. It has a strong red currant and fresh cherry tomato scent. Incredibly “red” and vegetable-like. Not in a starchy way, but somewhere between green plant stems and fruit. Much as many garden-fresh tomatoes would smell like if heated just slightly. In the flavor, this translates to a lightly sweet herbal and delicate floral character, with marked pungency. Perhaps the Lan Xiang (orchid aroma) the producers are referring to?
From the forward flavor notes on, this tea is a little flatter. There is detectable astringency towards the finish, but it’s missing a certain bitterness balance and lingering swell. Longer steeps develop a curt, punchy upfront bitterness that’s somewhat unpleasant. Considering this sample employed fantastically large leaves, I may begin to sense that teas with mostly large leaves are able to put off fantastic aromas and front flavors, but lack a certain roundedness in the finish. This tea has endurance for its youth however, as it crosses the ten steep mark without much noticeable loss in depth.
The Half-Dipper - 2009 Yunzhiyuan/Ruicaoxiang “Wuliang Lanxiang”
The 39 Steeps – Review Series Pu-erh 4: “Delta” by Yunnan Sourcing
My Private Collection – Tea Tasting Event ( Half-Dipper / YS )
Tea Goober – Yunnan Sourcing Tasting (Delta) Wu Liang Lan Xiang