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This just in: the Lancang Year of the Tiger has been declared “a good puerh.” Sources agreed to speak on anonymity.
Four Lancang productions have been gathered by yours truly. Their most famous production is is a Jingmai, which I’ve yet to try. Focus alternatively has been on their lunar series, including the years of Rat, Tiger, and Ox, as well as a 100g cake of premium early spring buds from ’05. There is a consistent florailty to them all, with varying levels of bitterness and plenty of astringency. For those favouring the genteel effect, these productions are not the most easy drinking, but likely quite attractive to those keen on black teas.
This 250g tuo is moderately pressed, separating easily without crumbling. The dry material still gives off the fragrance of granny smith, but spiced wood is now more prominent in the first three infusions. Wet, it gives off a the aroma of floral vanilla
This round in the green clay teapot produced a liquor that is turbid, brown, and sudsy for the first six infusions. It attacks the gut. The fragrance hangs in the mouth for a lengthy duration. Cheeky and throaty. Difficult to tease out all the tastes, which can be easily overshadowed by the numbing astringency. You have to sit with one as you would scotch.
On the other side of the boldness is a velvety vanilla that is evocative of root-beer, a signature of my most favourite puerhs, raw and ripe. This root-beer taste is either starting to gain a foothold as tuo ages or perhaps my tastes are maturing, perhaps a bit of both.
In sum, it is a well-balanced production, which in its seventh year is a delight to drink. It is decidedly less like the green apple it was a few months ago.