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2016 Jay's HK Storage Xiaguan Wu Jin Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2016 Jay's HK Storage Xiaguan Wu Jin Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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22nd April, 2021

This cake was released in 2016 as a remake of a 2011 pressing using a new recipe and with a modern style of wrapper. This is an iron cake made with material meant to age well. I have held these cakes since May 2019, and this tea has definitely mellowed in my very active (but clean and never excessively humid) storage. A few more years would make this tea even better, but it's definitely ready to drink now if you don't mind a little smoke and residual astringency.

Dry from the cardboard tong box, this cake smells sweet and enticing without any detectable smoke. After prying off a few chunks (not difficult because the cake's compression isn't too tight, and a few years in my warehouse has really helped this tea open up), the rinse brought out surprising smoke from the material which carries over into the cup. This smoke reminds me (and many PRC pu erh aficionados) of Xiaguan's Nanzhao teas. 

In the cup, this tea is smooth with pleasant huigan and umami, nicely calming energy and classic Xiaguan smoke. There is light cantaloupe/date in the aftertaste indicating this tea was lightly oxidized, as is standard with modern pu erh productions. A few sips of this tea and the air conditioning had to go on because my body heated up immediately!

The oxidation takes the rough edge off the material and brings out aroma, allowing the buyer to consume the tea younger. This also allows the tea to age better in more conservative storage environments, and this type of processing is now common across the board.

The second infusion was pushed harder and tolerable astringency came forth from the material. I believe this will age to be a smooth, pleasant drinker. The sample cake might get more aromatic now that it is in a cake bag and cooler temperatures at home may also bring out more aroma over the course of several months since my warehouse environment is much warmer than my home storage. The smoke is dominant in this tea, but I quite enjoy it in this cake as it gives it an old school feel. This smoke mellows down to a barley-like character that is common to many Xiaguan teas after aging, so this tea is developing nicely and should be great down the line. Whether or not it is complex in the cup after more aging remains to be seen, however.

This tea is priced to move and if you are looking for a daily drinker to age further yourself or drink now (and you aren't averse to a little astringency and smoke), this is  a smooth tea with good energy and some classic Xiaguan character.

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