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2016 Jay's HK Storage Xiaguan Gold Ribbon Raw Cake (100g)

2016 Jay's HK Storage Xiaguan Gold Ribbon Raw Cake (100g)

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March 26th, 2020

These cakes were purchased directly from one of the largest Xiaguan dealers in China in July 2017, and aged here in my warehouse in Hong Kong ever since. I paid a slight premium to purchase these from a highly reputable (and very large volume) dealer. I didn't know what to expect when I bought these, but I bought eight to test after suitable aging. 

The classic Gold Ribbon recipe is a blend of spring material with older, thicker material for a well-rounded taste, and it really works here! These cakes bear the XY marking, indicating the recipe was produced for a large volume pu erh dealer in Guangzhou.

The dry cake smells surprisingly sweet and aromatic, without any smoke. I much prefer the smell of this cake to the tuos. These cakes were cheaper (per gram) than the tuos when initially purchased in 2017! There is a lovely, sweet, almost peach-like aroma from the empty pitcher. While you can get these cakes cheaper elsewhere, you might find the experience in the cup to be very different! These tuos were aged by me in my own warehouse and have only passed through one wholesaler's hands before they got to me from Xiaguan!

We might expect these cakes to be smokey and camphorous with age, but there is none of that here. I found this cake surprisingly easy to break up, so either my storage has really loosened the tuo up, or Xiaguan didn't compress these 2016 cakes as hard as they once did! The smell of the rinsed leaves is distinctly Xiaguan, but without any trace of smoke.

In the cup, this tea is smooth with pleasant umami (the umami is not as intense as in the regular Gold Ribbon tuo from 2017). There is a pleasant and surprisingly sweet and fruity flavor here, with long-lasting aftertaste, as well as light and pleasant huigan. I get date/cantaloupe in the aftertaste, but there is a distinctive sweet fruitiness here that reminds me of peaches and oranges without any of the wildflower funk you often get with pu erh with peach-like flavor. The liquor is not at all astringent and pleasantly bitter. There is a lot of flavor here, so this is my favorite of the Gold Ribbon offerings I aged together (in the same box from Xiaguan)! This is a very smooth tea, easy on the tummy and very economical. I think these will be amazing with more time on them, and I am ready to buy more of these up to age for sure! 

The gold (really yellow) ribbon pressed in the cake indicates these are a special high grade production. While Xiaguan certainly produces much fancier tea, these are a very interesting departure from their classic Teji, Jiaji and 'Casual' offerings that I would be very happy to purchase more of to age for the long term!

I only have seven cakes from this batch in total for sale (I sacrificed one to testing)!

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