1992 CNNP 8582
31 Dec 2016, 5g/100ml gaiwan -> 90 ml Yixing after 5 steeps
Thanks to @steanze and @pwcosmos for the opportunity to try this remarkable tea.
I prepared for this tasting by arranging to have sessions with the Dayi 801-8582 and 502-8582, followed by a CNNP 2003 8582, as well as a 1994 8582.
The first three (younger) teas were dry Taiwan and Guangzhou stored, with no humid storage notes detected. The CNNP 1994 was heavily wet stored, to the point that it was very shu-like. Shu-like in terms of mouthfeel, lack of bitterness, earthy mineral/mildew dominant note, and very dark-brown leaves which form brown stains on the empty cup. But not shu: there was absolutely no fermentation odor or taste, and while the liquor was dark red-brown it was not at all opaque. Also, there was some sweet pungent resin aroma in the early steeps, which I typically don’t get with shu.
Now to the 1992: In terms of storage it was between the dry-stored examples and the 1994. At this point I need to pause and make comments about the storage notes.
Theory about the “wet storage note”
There are many distinct notes associated with wet storage, and while experts “know one when they taste one” they don’t always describe it in the same way. As a result I have been confused about it for a long while. For me, and in my limited experience so far, the tell-tale wet storage note is that of *geosmin*.
Geosmin is an alcohol and its name is made from the Greek words “Geo” and “Osmi” meaning “Earth” and “Smell”. It is produced by Streptomyces bacteria and is released when they die; it has an earthy aroma and taste, and it is also partially responsible for petrichor, the earthy and mineral smell after a rain. It’s also responsible for the earthy taste of beets, another note I have used to try to describe this dominant storage note.
Another odorous product of Streptomyces bacteria is a chemical which smells somewhat like camphor. This would explain why I sometimes want to describe the storage aroma as similar to camphor.
So, the theory is that traditional storage and perhaps even wet piling for shu involve a lot of Streptomyces (known to be found in puer in any case), leading to a lot of geosmin production. If geosmin is present, and if it comes from Streptomyces, then we might expect the additional presence of a camphor-like aroma.
Anyway… back to the ’92 8582
Dry leaf: Dark leaves, not dusty. Aroma of sweet perfume and dark fruit jam, with faint wood sap. Also, geosmin.
Damp leaf: Much more earthy and wet geosmin aroma, combined with a sweet graininess/bread.
Wet leaf: Quite like the ’94, sweet fruity funk together with geosmin and camphor.
Wash: Light peach colour, aroma of fatty soap and tiny wisp of smoke, doesn’t smell at all like the wet leaf. Very sweet arrival, sweet resin on empty cup, and a camphorous geosmin taste corresponding to the leaf aroma.
- (8s) Soft texture, thick liquor, sweet camphorous arrival with salivation on aftertaste. Very mild but clear energy, cool breeze in the ears and upper back, trembling on exhale. Full mouth coat, very low astringency and no bitterness. Wood spices. Sweet wood oils on empty cup, no pungency.
- (8s) Orange-brown cloudy, slight geosmin and camphor, much sweeter aftertaste, and pungent resinous florals emerge afterwards in the mouth and on empty cup. Waves down arms. Relaxing and warm uplift. Sides of face are very slightly numb.
- (10s) Darker orange. More balanced, some bitterness, almost no geosmin now. Eye qi. Flushing-type waves from face to shoulders, tingling on face and skin on upper body. Gentle paralysis effect. Specific sweetness on the very tip of tongue and lips.
- (12s) slightly more astringent. Bold mouth-coating texture and flavour, even sweeter aftertaste.
- (12s) Lid aroma is *rosin*, no pungency but the rich woody sap aroma. Qi waves reverberating and plunging down deep into stomach, hollowness feeling.
- (Transfer to Yixing 12s) Seems less astringent but perhaps psychosomatic. High thickness persists, Rosin prominent in aroma and taste. Aroma of wet leaf has clove, cardamom.
- (15s) Mild but full-body frisson. Intense only on sides of neck. Earthy and camphorous still, this note becomes more refined and clear.
- (15s) Some savoury elements become apparent now. Deep stomach hollowing effect together with strong uplifting qi. Continues to have low astringency and low bitterness. Sweet baking spices, nutmeg, cardamom.
At this point I started lengthening the steep time, highly recommended, maintained flavour and texture for over 30 steeps and is in the fridge steeping out for the past couple of days. These are some of those steeps
- (60s) Great at longer steep time, highly recommended. Really nice thick mouthfeel, high cohesion, and wonderful huigan over several minutes. 5 minute tidal qi waves coming in and out.
- (90s) Roasty now, yancha-like, sweet but only in aftertaste. Much greater amplitude qi waves.
- (2m) Less thick, quite a bit more astringency. Roastiness more dominant
- (3m) Banana, caramel notes. Savoury strength comes out of late aftertaste.
- (5m) Great yancha-like experience mouthfeel and sweetness with roasty rocky profile. Brown sugar and caramel…. etc…
Very interesting tea with high longevity, thickness and cohesion. Qi is mild in strength but clear and interesting, as well as persistent over very long period. Aroma is less pungent and more wood sappy oils, rosin rather than resin. Taste is mainly complex sweet and geosmin earthiness with associated camphor, transforming to a yancha roastiness in the late steeps. Storage is very interesting intermediate between traditional and natural storage.