Dayi 2009 7542 storage and batch comparison
1. 901 vs 901
First a simultaneous tasting of two storages of 901-7542. Both were stored in Taiwan.
On the left is my own tea, on the right is a sample from Stefano. The sample on the left is more aggressively stored (perhaps at a higher temperature and/or humidity).
On the wash: more Taiwan mintiness on L and more funk on R. Wet leaf has a sweet aroma on L and a strength aroma on R.
- Darker minty aroma on L, classic sheng aroma on R. Grains, sweetness on R.
- Good tartness on L beginning, very light tartness on R. Good pungent elegant powder ECA on R.
- More tartness now on L, a bit of wateriness and lightness on R but good salivation beginning on R.
- More salivation and increasing tannins on L, less aroma on liquor and a darker overall tint in aroma. On R, delicate light tartness. Clean and good aroma of pungent resin. Good mouthcoat, with plenty of tannins.
- Lots of TW storage aspect on L in comparison with R. R is a bit watery, medium thick, has a better ECA and has a light incense note.
- Quite strong tannins on L. On the R I get a strong and quite special musk note which I get in the 901-7542 in general.
The above comparison is not so informative, I admit. But the difference is quite easy to detect, with L opening up more quickly, with more storage notes, more tannins, earlier plumminess, and more colour. On R we have a more gradual development of flavour with more subtle aromas, more powder/resin, and the interesting musk note. I have a clear preference of R (6.0) over L (5.8).
2. 901 (R) review
I’ll now summarize four tastings of the winning tea above, the 901-7542 (R) version.
Dry leaf is not too aromatic, has a tiny bit of funk and not very pungent. Wet leaf has cinnamon, quite sweet, and no smoke detectable.
- Light yellow-beige liquor. Oily, smooth. Very sweet aftertaste, mostly in the front. Like a throat losenge or honey drop.
- Muskiness (a very characteristic note for this tea) shows a tiny bit now. Black tea taste, a ringing sharp black tea note which I don’t like, but it is small. Almost like a green Darjeeling note.
- Very concentrated now. Oily, more tannins and consequentially richer mothfeel. sweet aftertaste reaches a bit further back, to mid-back tongue. It begins a bit blank/bitter/watery but there is a salivation of sweet plumminess which eventually builds to a gripping and pleasant juiciness on the cheeks and mid-tongue. Quite intense if you push the tea a bit and can be very tasty and pleasant indeed. The musk is also pleasant and impressive combined with the plumminess.
- Crystal clear dark orange liquor. The tartness continues, but is much reduced. Juiciness is much lower and sweetness is also much reduced. At this stage there is increased bitterness and it can on occasion linger.
- Slick oily nice texture. Clean. Incense. Not much salivation but there is sweetness after. Good but much less impressive. More of a delicate experience, almost like the later steeps of a boutique style gushu tea, but without the qi experience.
- More bitterness and still has good thick texture but the amount of flavour is much reduced. Losing interest.
The standout features of this tea are the thick texture/mouthfeel and the ability to build the mouthwatering juicy plumminess in steeps 3-4. It generates a bit of heat too, and it has a certain interesting incense/musk aspect. The profile is quite delicate though, not high power by any stretch, and it peters out quite quickly. Compared to the 001-8582 for example, it seems to have much less to give, and it is much less strong than 50x-7542 or 50x-8582 in terms of overall content. But it has a finer texture in the mouth than those teas. Importantly, the energetic effects of this tea seem to me to be quite subtle and difficult to discern. On one occasion I had the FT 2003 purple Dayi several hours after my 901-7542 session and it was extremely qi-rich in comparison. This is the main reason that my marks for the 901 are in the B- range.
3. 901 vs 903
Next, I put the winning tea above up against a Taiwan-stored batch of the 903-7542. I found relatively big differences between these two batches, which is not surprising given the fact that 901 is more than twice the price of 903.
I’ll summarize the main differences between these teas:
- The 903 dry leaf is more pungent and the empty cup aroma is more interesting than that from the 901.
- The 901 wet leaf had a nice sweet grains aroma whereas the 903 tended to be darker and more bitter greens
- 903 was darker in colour throughout
- 901 had a much creamier thicker texture, which got more and more pronounced with each successive steep
- Smell on the liquor was much better on the 901, giving a rich sweet woody puerh aroma, whereas the 903 was somewhat blank on the liquor.
- 903 was significantly more bitter than the 901.
4. Final conclusions
What can I conclude about all these tests? At approximately .21/g and .10/g respectively, one could argue that the 901- and 903- are cheap enough to be good value. My instinct is that they are not interesting enough to focus on — if it weren’t for the prestige of the 7542 label I would, frankly, ignore them. Will the 901-7542 age into what the 501-7542 is today? I don’t know, but here is my prediction: definitely not; it is just too delicate and weak, and I don’t feel the kind of waves of energy I get from the 2005 or 2003 versions. I also wonder what will happen to this black tea note — I suspect it won’t go away but I’m less confident of that prediction. In any case, if you are seriously considering a tong of 901-7542 you need to sample to test the storage, it makes a huge difference at this point (almost 10 years).