There was a nice sky recently, me and an oak outside enjoyed it along a cup of this quite nice tea...
As Hobbes has started writing about white2tea.com a few days ago, I think TwoDog does not need much more introduction. To add something to what is already said, I like the phenomenon of tea lovers and bloggers selling tea. When you read someone's posts on tea, you know what his tastes are, how he perceives tea and all that.
Also, I'm glad that white2tea seems not to cope with the "let's run for the most expensive young sheng" race - there are plenty of runners already.
Now, to this Banna Gu Yun, a blend of Lao Man'E and Mengsong:
As you can see, the dry leaves are a mixture of various sorts of leaves. They smell lightly of honey and herbs - when I opened the pouch for the first time, I thought "wow, I haven't met this yet".
The wet leaves smell similarly, yet much more intensely, of course. It's one of teas I enjoy to smell for a long time.
The liquor has a rather unusual color, darker yellow. I think that teas with this degree of lightness/darkness tend to be more orange in general. Together with the taste, I'm not really convinced that this is a 2011 tea - I'd rather guess a blend of 2006-2009 or something like that.
Now, the taste - very nice! I think it is probably the best feature of this tea. It is very sweet - it is actually honey sweet, but the honey taste is, at the beginning, overlayed by other tastes, but after a while, the honey can be tasted too. Then, there is a strong taste of herbal medicine, which I haven't yet found in a tea in this quantity (I wonder if it has something to do with Lao Man'E - for Tea Urchin's Four peaks had it in some amount too and HLH Lao Man'E too, but it was much less pronounced there). But I do enjoy the medicinality a lot - the whole tea feels like a soothing healing potion.
When I used more leaves, there was a taste of ripe garden fruit and some wood, which complemented the rest nicely. However, a bit more bitterness came up too.
Speaking of bitterness - it is all right. Although the leaves are supposed to partly come from Lao Man'E, the nasty bitterness that does not go away is not present and I'm glad to say that bitterness and astringency are light and really just fine. If the bitterness is too high for you, just use less leaves and steep them longer.
Things go a bit down after the taste vanishes - the aftertaste is a normal one; there is some activity on the tongue, but it goes away after several steepings. And the qi is only light, nothing that would shake the world around.
However, the lack of mouthfeel is easily fixed by the addition of 20-25% of 2006 Haiwan Pa Sha which improves the overall experience a lot.
This tea is a really pleasant for drinking and sniffing, although its other qualities are not as pronounced. Not knowing the price first, I thought it would be an excellent $30 cake, for which I would pay up to $40. Well, it does cost $39, which is not far off and is quite a reasonable price, especially given how much does new puerh cost. I guess I'll buy one.
Further reading: Half-Dipper