Peter of Pu-erh.sk has been so kind to send me samples of his slightly more aged samples (from 1999 to 2004). I am doubly grateful for these, as all are pretty good...
Today, let us have a look at two BGTs (private production, not an "official" one):
2004 Big Green Tree Yiwu
The cake is already dark and brown, mummy alert is off. It is a "black ribbon" edition (i.e., rich in black hair).
Rinsed leaves have a good aroma. It seems to be of the "dark forest fruit" sort of Yiwu, along with further fruitiness, but it is very nicely aged already, one easily sees the additional depth. The aroma suggests (and the taste later confirms) that this is, quite interestingly, right between a tea's youth and old age. I had both a piece from the cake's centre and a piece further from it - the non-central part is quite a lot more aged. That is not surprising, due to strong compression of the centre, but it was interesting nevertheless - one does not compare a tea's centre and non-centre every day.
In taste, there is some very light fishiness - not too bad, but it slightly disturbed my first couple of steepings. Along that minor unpleasantness, a lot of pleasant tastes marches on - lovely forest fruit, some clay and moss. Later steepings introduce more of overripe fruit and powidl, the more aged tones get stronger and nuts appear in the taste and aftertaste.
The tea has plenty of good sweetness and thickness. Activity (vibrations, rather than cooling) is good, it starts behind teeth and moves to the back of oral cavity. There is some qi, but it is not really that developed, in my opinion.
All in all, this is quite a good tea and its price ($80 or so) is very competitive. I'll buy some of that, methinks...
2001 Big Green Tree Yiwu
At last, I unpacked my camera, which is why I hope to post more photos regularly again.
The nicely colored leaves (yay, Guangzhou storage) emit a peaceful, aged camphory aroma. The aroma becomes much more interesting when the leaves are rinsed: it has tones of sweet wood, camphor, overripe forest fruit and some red fruit. It is sweet and suggests excellent storage conditions.
The taste is undoubtedly of the "somewhat aged Yiwu" family, but it is deeper and more complex than most of these. This Yiwu tea is very sweet, in a caramel way, which mixes with tastes of raisins, overripe forest fruit and plumminess (the plummy component actually starts to dominate the taste after a couple of steepings; it is a bit like 06 CGHT's Yiwu Yecha). The sweetness is both deep and wide and I find it entirely lovely. There were some slightly disturbing (laundry-like) tastes in the first two steepings, but I guess that they're just an aspect of the plumminess.
The aftertaste is also very nice, with a bit of camphor and later long-term aftertaste of young plums. These good post-taste features are paired with pleasant numbing of mouth (not the bad pesticide-like sort of numbing).
It definitely has stronger qi than the 2004 version. Still, it is not an "in your face" qi powerhouse, but it needs some time to build up instead.
This is a tea which has many good features and little to no bugs. However, I found it lacking in "X factor" - although I enjoyed the two sessions with this tea, they were by no means "wow sessions". Anyway, I guess that this is purely personal and you might have even better time than I had (and it was pretty good already) with this tea.
Both the 2001 and 2004 versions of BGT sold by pu-erh.sk are, in my opinion, very nice teas, well worth sampling.