Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you're probably familiar with the buzz around the 2005 Menghai v93. I just acquired one of the 2008 release and I went into it with a very open, yet optimistic mindset. The only bias I have is the one that I believe 2008 was a good year for Menghai.
Initially, the tuocha had a very smoky aroma with a touch of mint to it. I expected it to taste a little new, but I had no idea what I was actually in for. As I opened up the tuocha, I was surprised to see some of the loosest compression I've ever seen. I put the puer'dao into the tuocha and leaf after leaf quickly enlisted to be sacrificed to my tastebuds. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in front of a gaiwan filled to the brim with a tea that definitely didn't hesitate to start rounding the bases with me.
I didn't even bother to measure out the leaf in this one. I figured I'd just feel it out as I went along. 3/4 full in a 125ml Gaiwan is the best approximation I can give you. Boiling hot water with a flash rinse and my usual times: 15s 12s 25s, 35s, 50s, 75s, etc.
I once read about a word called mitote in a book. As for the credibility of the book, I've found it to be lacking. However, as a friend pointed out, the word literally translates to "dance" or "ruckus" in Nahuatl. The way it settled into my head, the word was a dreamlike fog; a bustling coutyard with thousands of conversations going on all at once. With so many voices, it can be a mite difficult to hone in on the ones that really matter. That's kind of how I felt about the first few infusions of this tea. It has a lot of character. There is definitely going to be a bit of buzz with this, but since it still has a very new taste to it, a lot of what it has to offer is going to be initially masked.
Normally, this new taste isn't an issue, but I think because I haven't been drinking much in the panel of young sheng, it took a stronger hold on me; similar to the way a couple of beers will have you feeling buzzed much quicker if you haven't drank in a while. I even needed to stop to make food because I was getting a stomach ache.
Once I worked through those few snags, I really started to see what was going on with this tea. Leaves are still very green with an immediate kick. They fill out your mouth with a tangy astringency that recedes into a very welcome tarty flavour that eventually fades out but keeps tingling the back of my tongue almost a minute after my cup was empty.
It's got character, it's thick, it has a very up front punch that hangs around with ample amounts of astringent tang, and it's loose compression makes me hopeful that it will age quicker than most tuochas. I think that given a few months to mellow, it will show drastic improvements. I highly recommend trying this one. Thanks Scott for your generosity.