Sample 1: 2007 Zhenwei Hao
[Edit 7 April 2008]
This sample is 2007 Zhenwei Hao, made in "super limited production" by Lu Lizhen, a "famous" Taiwan pu'er producer. It costs over US$100 a cake.
The leaves of this sample were bold green, with a fair share of silver tips in the blend. There wasn't much leaf in this sample; I should have used all of it. But wanting to avoid the false strength that brewing little bits imparts to a tea, I only brewed the more whole leaves.
The tea was impossibly weak, perhaps from not enough leaf (though this was a tiny 60ml gaiwan), but more owing, I think, to the weaker qualities of the leaves. Sweet and buttery, the brew tasted very similar to the Yunnan greens I've been drinking lately, even though it smelled like young pu'er and didn't have a vegetal kick. Some aftertaste showed itself in the fourth infusion after a minute-long steep.
I quit after 5 infusions, because the tea was dead by then. If I had more of it, maybe I could give it another fair chance. But I don't.
Sample 2: Mystery
The second sample's leaves were significantly darker and furrier than the first sample, although it contained fewer silver tips. Not wanting to repeat the possible mistake of the first tea, I added enough leaf into the gaiwan to completely fill it with wet leaf after brewing.
The leaves smelled more like pu'er, stronger and a bit earthier. It tasted more traditionally like pu'er, too, and my best guess is that this is lincang/daxue shan or baoshan material, from 2006. I remain unsure about the region though, because during the 3rd brew I remarked in my notes that it reminded me of Xiaguan teas, but tastier.
Some side of the tongue citrus notes, heavy hay/straw notes, and an earthy aroma made this tea nice to drink. It lasted some 12 infusions, packing a punch that made me quit writing notes on it and take it into the yard to sit drinking it amidst the breeze and the birds. In the midst of drinking it, it made me forget to take a photo of its liquor, which was more amber than the first sample. I still tingle a bit!
Depending on its price, of course, I would buy a cake or two of this tea, most of all for its tenacious consistency each new infusion.