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2013 Jay's HK Storage Xiaguan Five Star Red Peacock Raw Pu Erh (50g)

2013 Jay's HK Storage Xiaguan Five Star Red Peacock Raw Pu Erh (50g)

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October 11th, 2020

I bought a single cake of this tea in November 2016, mostly out of curiosity. This was actually one of the fanciest cakes produced by Xiaguan in 2013. The wrapper bears the FT label, indicating it was produced for a large-volume Taiwanese Xiaguan dealer, who incidentally is on the run in PRC at the time of writing! Fei Tai (for Taiwan) productions are considered to be of higher quality by many pu erh collectors, and these productions are often custom ordered or tweaked to meet the dealer's needs.

This is a shengtai cake, meaning it was produced from material which grows among nature rather than in plantation style. All of the material for this cake is old tree material from high altitude areas, and there is also Bingdao material in the blend. The significance of the peacock on the wrapper is that it is a native bird in many areas of Yunnan.

The price of this cake has more than doubled since 2016, indicating the market believes there's something special here. After today's session, I have to agree.

I tried this cake almost a month ago right after removing it from a carton in my warehouse, where it had rested for almost four years. Straight from storage, this cake was wildflower dominant in the cup with surprising smoke from the wet leaf: most of this smoke didn't carry over into the cup. There was an orange-like sweet flavor to this tea, and I found the tea quite calming, but I didn't think it was worth the current price point at the time, so I put the cake into a plastic bag to rest.

Today's session surprised me. The liquor is rich in umami. There is quite a bit of aged out smoke in the cup now, and the aromatic complexity of the cake has improved. I get the same sweet aromatics and orange-like flavors as before, but they seem clearer and more intense after a month in plastic. Xiaguan says to expect orchid-like character from this cake after aging: this information is on the neipiao (the information sheet under the wrapper). There is still significant astringency and bitterness here if the tea is pushed hard, but it is balanced and tolerable. This cake was produced using traditional techniques. The material was processed over wood fires, and the pressing was done with stones rather than with machines.

What I wasn't prepared for was the sheer power of the cha qi here. My face and body felt flushed and I felt extremely relaxed. I didn't know this cake had Bingdao-region material in it until I started looking back at articles about this tea in Chinese from 2013. This is definitely an exceptionally powerful cake. The material certainly has the intensity to age well over the years. My storage moves tea along extremely quickly, and at this point, this tea is still quite youthful in a sense. This is definitely an old school-style cake as far as processing and intensity of material goes, which makes it quite attractive to me (and also the Xiaguan collectors out there).

I'm offering up samples from this cake for those who are interested in trying this cake before the price rises even further. I definitely would like to purchase some of these for my own future consumption, but the current price point is quite prohibitive for me. I do, however, feel fortunate to have this tea now, to have been able to age it to where it is in my own first-rate storage environment, and to be able to offer it to you to try if you are curious about this very interesting high end production from 2013.

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