Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nannuoshan, Bai Mu Dan 2008

Nannuoshan Description:
This aged Bai Mu Dan, produced in 2008, is three years older than our regular Bai Mu Dan. The difference is clear. The leaves are darker, as the tea changed during storage. Bai Mu Dan 2008 is mature, more intense and lingering; a full-bodied white tea, pleasantly sweet.

Sample provided by Nannuoshan

My Review:
Continuing with this month's white tea extravaganza, this is the third of my samples from Nannuoshan. Today's tea is different from the Bai Mu Dan reviewed here yesterday as this one is aged. I see tea conversations often where someone will comment they drink their white tea samples first because it will go bad fast, or something similar. Many of the tea companies I talk with tell me something quite different. White tea, like Puerh, often improves with age.

Somewhere back in the past I was told white tea often peaks at about 7-8 years. If this is true, then this tea is at its prime. I'm looking forward to finding out.

Cutting off the sample top, I now catch a complex blending of scents. This is at once, leafy and deeply earthy. There is a touch of sour mixed with sweet. I also catch the fragrance of hay with floral overtones.

The leaf is very dark compared to their other, and younger, Bai Mu Dan offering. It looks more mature and sturdy.  The silver buds are covered in fine downy hair. The leaves have only a slight hint of green. Mostly they are darker shades of brown, looking more like black tea at this point.

I used half the 6 gram sample and my clear glass teapot for this session. 5 ounces of filtered water were heated to 195 F. My first steep was 30 seconds.

This results in a liquor that is clear with only a light tinting of yellow. The leaf remained mostly on the top of the water during the steep. After emptying the teapot, the leaves can be seen as chocolate brown and cinnamon.

The aroma is very suggestive of a black tea. Along with the leafy and peony floral notes, I detect a healthy dose of malt.

The taste is really hard for me to identify. It is very much different than the dry or wet aromas suggest. There is a green leafy note up front, followed by maybe a touch of ginger without the heat. After this it turns a mellow mineral, followed by the mystery taste. It isn't potato but reminds me of that kind of starchy goodness when you bite into a raw potato. I am thinking maybe water chestnut, but not really. What is that familiar flavor?

This seems to pack a lot of cha qi. After one cup, I feel warm and fuzzy, very mellow, yet very focused. Must have more.

Second cup, also at 30 seconds, had a plum aroma as I poured. The taste continues where the first cup left off. There is the addition of a peppery spice note up front. This one is also much more floral. It isn't an upfront fragrance overdose. This is a pleasant peony taste.

The Nannuoshan Bai Mu Dan teas have the distinction of being the first white peony teas I ever tried where I understood the peony reference.

Cup  three was steeped for 45 seconds. Weird, it is back to having a malty aroma with a much lighter plum note. This tastes much like the second, except the spicy note is much less pronounced. The plum that I caught in the aroma is also drifting in to the taste.  

This is very different than a more youthful white peony. I am not catching melon or cucumber like I normally find, and I don't mind. The flavors that are present are complex and changing. This is a white tea and therefore the taste is far more subtle than found in flavored or breakfast teas. If you are a white tea enthusiast, this is a slightly different and yet very good one to try.

You can find Nannuoshan, Bai Mu Dan 2008 here.

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