Monday, November 9, 2009
The Wu Tsi Den Ke Series made quite a splash in '06. Although the hefty price tag seemed a bit excessive, many puerh fans grabbed them as soon as they came on the market leaving many DaYi fans in the dark.
The five cake Wu Tsi Den Ke Series were created to highlight the 5 different characters associated with Shengpu - and in very much a Chinese fashion. Wu Tsi Ke is a traditional Chinese blessing when roughly translated means "May your five children become great scholars". Don't you love this stuff?!
Unfortnately, not much is known about this series (or atleast I coudln't find any) other than each of the cakes were allegedly made from a very special prescription to show case the five predominant charactersisitcs in flavor and material of pu-erh: Aged, High-Mountain, Tender Tips, Honey and Rock.
I have chosen to review Chen "aged" first - after all the litmus test for pu-erh is whether or not it will have the capacity for aging - Chen will be my first of five installments.
When the leaves were compared to the other examples of the series, there seemed to be a noticeable darker hue. Whether this implies that the prescription used to make the beeng is older than the others, I guess it is difficult to say since dark leaves do not always correlate with age. In it's dry state, the leaves did not provide any scent. However, after the rinse almost in an instant my gaiwan suddenly came alive with wonderful whiffs consisting of deep pungent notes of wood, and what I tend to call the scent of "old books". Additionally, there was also a noticeable hint of smoke making the aroma quite masculine.
The leaves appeared to be of higher grade. Though this is difficult to tell with blended material since blends are generally masticated in order to provide the needed consistency throughout a blended beeng - from the leaves which were somewhat intact (in that I can determine width)they resembled 1-4 grades.
Amount - 5g
Method - Gongfu Gaiwan 150ml
The aroma was delicately floral- suprising to say the least since the initial aromas did not point this direction. There were sweet notes laced with a buttery essence; interesting. Definitely rich and pungent. Smoke though faint was also noticeable. The latter infusions were very much consistent with the first yet would vary tremendously from infusion to infusion.
I found the taste of the liquor quite rustic with its overtones of wood and spice. Generally, when I speak of wood notes, it is to denote the quintessential wood that one finds in pu-erh; however, this is different. I could actually determine an oak quality that was very much reminiscent of a scotch like palate. In the latter infusions, the notes became more earthy sweet with notes of mushroom and dark malt that became medicinal as the liquor cooled on the palate.
The chayun for was wonderfully active. The liquor tantalized the sides of my tongue and the roof of my mouth. There was also a unique sharpness which coupled well with the huigan. Definitely a viscus concoction which made the session quite satisfying.
Nothing remarkable about the spent leaves. Appears to be classic 'big factory' fare. There seems to be a good ratio of buds within this prescription.
The only thing really off putting about this example is the hefty price tag. I really enjoyed it. The aromas were captivating; the clarity, color and activity of the liquor kept things moving. Best of all, the flavors did not tire the palate as some of the more assertive examples can easily do. The recipe appears to have been created with aging capacity in mind in that the aging characteristics needed for aging pu-erh were all present. Oh, a warming chaqi.
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