2005 Dayi Mengsong and Bulang Peacock
I recently bought these two cakes from Mike Petro, a pioneer of the English-language online puerh world. For various reasons, he sold off his entire collection and I picked out this couple of cakes from the hoard.
These cakes were stored since 2006 in a normally climate-controlled office together with a huge quantity of sheng puerh. The cakes generate 55% RH today, significantly lower than the average 63-66% I normally measure from Taiwan-stored mid-aged sheng, but not as low as some of the problematic cakes I have measured in the 40-50% range. From breaking the cakes, it is clear that they are not excessively dry, but they are strikingly young in appearance and aroma. I experienced a cake like this before – the 2007 LBZ from Tao Tea Leaf: aged in Toronto with monitored humidity and household climate control, it was not lacking in humidity but did not experience higher temperatures and so maintained a great deal of its youth.
Dayi Mengsong Peacock 2005 (6.5)
High compression, with some looseness around the edges, like a young Dayi cake. Familiar young Dayi aroma of perfume and smoke/roastiness. There is a distinctive perfume note, maybe lavender, which seems to be from Mike’s storage. The wash has some suds, smoky, very light colour, I immediately feel like the tea presents like a 5-year-old tea.
- Young, some smokiness but not too much. Good penetration on the tongue in the aftertaste. Roasty. Very calming, downer, relax and some spaciness. Quite surprising how early this hits.
- Hay, roast, green, deep downward pressure sensation towards the floor. Classic empty cup aroma. Inspiration in a fine central colunn. Feels good. Not very sweet. Strong heat. Seems to be stimulating digestion and movement. Aftertaste coating is quite good. Green. Roasty.
- I feel extremely relaxed. Very much a downer. Stoning type of energy. I am spacing out and laying down. Green roasty notes. Slight tartness. Lavender notes continue.
Dayi Bulang Peacock 2005 (7.1)
The wet leaves give sweet grains and tomato vine.
- Pungent, very pungent beautiful aroma, powdery resins. Cedar?
- Good aroma on liquor. Rear throat activation. Inspiration. Wow.
- Very nice inspiring energy arms, very active motion of energy. Emergent aroma in nose and mouth, active sides of tongue. Long aftertaste coating on tongue, juicy sides for quite some time.
- Longer steep gives strong bitterness with quick sweetness. A very good example of this phenomenon. Mid-rear throat activation. Some roastiness but not as much as the Mengsong. Very good. Intense juiciness. Slight heat, lots of tingliness, uplift, mellow excitement. Frisson in the extreme.
- Roasty bitterness. Huge impact in terms of tingliness, frisson, uplift.
The Mengsong is significantly smokier and greener, with a remarkable downer effect which is hard to miss. The Bulang is sweeter, more resinous, and more astringent and acidic, with a more frisson-uplift profile. My strong preference is for the Bulang, especially due to the resinous content and the style of the qi. But I am happy to have the Mengsong in case this kind of energy is desired. As a storage experiment, this is quite an important data point: storing tea indoors at a standard temp of 72F and approximately 55% humidity gives rise to much, much slower aging; the cakes have no geosmin, no mustiness, no moldiness whatsoever of course, and have kept a good aroma and pungency, but they have retained their smokiness, their greenness, and remain strongly bitter and astringent. My feeling at the moment is that these cakes had plenty of moisture; what they could have benefitted most from is elevated temperatures. I will definitely be storing these at an elevated temperature in order to help the aging along. I hope to re-test after several months of Malaysia-Summer-like temperatures.