This post is supposed to conclude the tasting of 2001 Gu Puer 6FTM set. I previously wrote about Bangwei, Banzhang and Nannuo, all of which were reasonably good. It is a bit of a paradox that I usually like the three Ys (Yibang, Yiwu, Youle) very much and they stayed below my expectations.
I was very keen on tasting the Yibang and it is the first tea I tried from the set...
And I was quickly disappointed... All the pleasantries I usually associate with Yibang were missing. I got slightly sweet, woody, overly astringent liquor. When I came back to this one, it became clear that the tea is not really bad, nor good, but my expectations were probably too high.
While it is similarly priced as the 2004 Yibang Shi Kun Mu, it is largely inferior. I guess that even some cheap ($20-40) Yibangs from 2002-4 would give this tea a run for his money.
It has a very nice taste of raisins, it is reasonably sweet and thick. Mouthfeel is stronger than in most teas of the set. There is a bit of woodiness and smokiness in the background and these aspects become more and more dominant as steepings pass by, which I do not like. The tea does not excel when it comes to stamina either.
Again, there are way cheaper alternatives to this tea, providing the good raisin taste and being similarly noninteresting in other areas. E.g., 2004 Xinfu Yiwu comes to my mind (pros - no smokiness in background, low price; cons - must be prepared carefully or it may get sourish).
I like this the most from the set of three Y's. And when I retasted it along the Bangwei, I guess I like this a bit more than that one too. This was the last sample from the set I opened. Being at least a bit acquainted with the rest of the set, I did not expect much: some teas in the set have a tendency to be a bit smoky and I do not like smoky Youle at all. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that it is not the case. While I did not detect any feature I associate with Youle, the tea tastes young-aged, decently sweet, nutty and rather pleasant. It is still somewhat astringent, but ok overall.
What do the tea in the set have in common? I'd say that all of them feel to me like lower-mid quality material, with fairly good storage - the result is drinkable, but unexciting tea. While this elevates them high above certain sour dry mummies, they do not quite match the higher quality teas from 2000-3. None of the set amazed me, be it in the matter of taste or overall body feeling. I hope that the generally high astringency will go away eventually.
If I was to sort the teas in this set according to how I enjoyed them, it would be probably:
I'd say that the the first two teas were fairly good (and possibly worth the cca $80), the third to fifth had some good points and some bad points, but the teas were enjoyable when I stayed positively attuned. And the last one, Yibang, was, I'm afraid, rather disappointing.
It was a good experience to taste the set. If nothing else, the Banzhang was educational. Also, the Nannuo cake showed me that the area is not as unpleasant as I thought and that I should give it another try. Whether this experience was worth the $55, I do not know. After all, there are some nice teas available for $55 per cake (albeit often 200-250g). I.e., the educational value of this set seems to me as higher than its "enjoyment value".
By the way, all of the set tasted better to me than the 2000 Qizi bing from Gu Puer. That one is far too smoky for me, which is a pity, because there are some good things under that smoke... Well, I may write about it eventually.
What are your opinions on the Gu Puer 6FTM set? It sounds unlikely to me that so few people would try that, but the other blogs seem silent about the set...