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Puer Scents and a 2011 Laoman’E Gushu

Laoman’e Puer & Young Teas with Floral Scents

Young teas have a tenuous grip on their high pitched floral scents. With an (almost) three year old Laoman’e raw puer tea, you can feel the lighter floral character slipping from the tea’s fingers, to be lost forever as the Laoman’e spirals out into the low tones of bitterness and other mysterious developments that the region is famed for. The floral aspects of the tea are the first thing to be shed when aging sets in, but still many people search out puer teas with heavy fragrance. If the goal is to buy raw puer tea with the intent of aging, this sort of methodology is folly. In 10 years, most of those fragrances will be gone. It is the same logic of why one ought to marry a best friend instead of the beauty pageant winner. Surface beauty is fleeting, but substance lasts.

Laoman'e Puerh

Dry piece of a Laoman’e puer cake

This 2011 Laoman’e gushu [old arbor] still has a loose hold on the flowers of youth. The initial steeps are roses dipped in a satisfying bitter tar.

Several cups pass and the roses become blacker and blacker, until the eventual penetrating kuwei [pleasant bitterness] begins to dominate the character of the tea and the roses are nowhere to be found. They are lost in the thick and engrossing body of the tea.

Laomane Puer

Laoman’e gold soup

The core of the this tea is like an opaque black stone. Orbiting around the bitter gravity are flecks of cream and sweetness.

An intoxicating tea to drink young, for bitter devotees such as yours truly.

For cultists of the floral, perhaps puer is not the right refuge. Oolong teas, fresh green teas, and scented floral teas all hold better claims to the flower throne. I often hear casual tea drinkers in China gripe about the lack of xiangwei [fragrance] in raw puer teas when compared to other teas they drink. This is like complaining about the lack of incense in a temple. Sure, the fragrance of incense in a temple is pleasing to the senses, but if you show up to the temple to meditate and all you can manage is a complaint about the lack of perfume, perhaps you’ve come to the wrong place.

Laomane Puerh

Laoman’e spent leaves

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2 Responses to “Puer Scents and a 2011 Laoman’E Gushu”

  1. shah8 February 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Me, I complain about the lost fresh sheng fruitiness, and having to wait until the tea is old before fruitiness shows up again.

    Some puerh do hold onto aroma, but the ones that do do not smell floral in the way of chinese green tea or green oolong.

    On the flip side, a really good lobular leaf, particularly Jingmai, generally will offer very good aroma. Most people don’t get puerh good enough to do that, though.

    • TwoDog2 February 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      I suppose that is the qualifier – that there are teas that do hold on to floral scents, but they are rarely available to the mass public. The teas that develop a later fruity character are also expensive and rare. They will not show up in a big factory production from the modern era, unfortunately.

      Older Laoman’e might even loop back around, after a couple of decades.

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