In 2007, I ordered a Wuliang beeng. Due to an unfortunate mix-up which was half my fault, I instead received a beeng from a neighboring mountain. Thus I was transported unwillingly to Mournful Prison Mountain(Ailuo 哀牢山) instead of ascending Limitless Mountain(Wuliang 无量山). Thanks to Hobbes and Jason Cohen for the translations. Perhaps this mix-up was the last straw that broke the camel's back but I did not buy any more pu-erh for 6 years.
To right this wrong, I finally bought two pure Wuliang shengs produced by Yunnan Sourcing, the 2010 beeng from YS-US and the 2012 version from YS Kunming. I also had started on the road to Birthday Beeng selection with Jakub's recommendation of enthrallment- the 2010 HLH Yiwu among many other fun samples to be revealed later. Today while I was at work, my husband e-mailed me a photo of a box from Kunming Post. I was shocked to receive Scott's order in a record 4 days! It cost $36 express shipping but still I'm impressed.
Wuliang is a sizable mountain range bordering Dali and Lincang so Wuliang teas must surely show up elsewhere. I may have been unknowingly quaffing Wu Liang brews all along as Xiaguan uses materials from Wuliang Shan as does (or did) Nan Jian Factory. The 07 Xiaguan "FT" #4 is comprised of Wuliang and Bao Shan leaves while the 08 XY 8853 is all spring Wuliang and Lincang leaves. I vowed no more Xiaguan buying for me in 2006 so I only got the Nan Jian pure Wuliang mini-bricks for doing the big factory comparison.
Scott's YS cakes are made of leaves from the remote Zhong Cang village (中仓村). Further web research with the google translator indicates that Zhong Cang villagers grow tobacco and walnuts as well as slaughter 1300 hogs a year. In 2006, the village had a total of one car, three tractors, and 44 motorcycles. I could only find the following pictures of Zhong Cang village tea trees on the provided link which may or may not have any correlation to Scott's beengs which are advertised to be from 200 year old trees. Google maps indicate a fairly heavy agricultural use of the village lands.
Sunday I brewed up the 2010 Wuliang to enjoy a moment of pre-dinner contemplation. The cake includes the bonus of a tiny rough twig and a few grain husks. My first two quick rinses were strongly yellow. I couldn't stop sipping because I really really miss drinking sheng - this tea has a subtle bitterness which is perfect for remembrance. The youthful astringency reaches all the way down my chest and I had to clutch my collarbone all the while drinking this tea. My mouth is continually salivating with sweetness.
I tried to decode the sensations to visualize shapes and colors. But instead I hear the muted low notes of a vibraphone. The fifth infusion becomes intensely sweet- more sugarcane than honey and I start gulping it down rather greedily. I'm enjoying myself head to throat while everything below is burning. Part of me is wondering if my foray into shengs is now progressively worsening my intolerance. Today when sniffing the 2012 shengs, I could feel the astringency in my gullet. My husband shakes his head whenever he sees me crazy eyed looking at my shengs. I think I will risk tasting the 2012 version this weekend.