shah82 wrote:Well, then, who wants to play the paranoia game? I'm pretty sure that the Gan'en LBZ is not pure LBZ. Might be dubious about the Puersom. However, it's quite well beyond unreasonable to think that the '05 XZH LBZ or Nada's '08 aren't pure LBZ. They do taste and behave like one another, and most people think that's genuine LBZ. The Taiji? /me clownfrowns. They are not that standard, but I don't think they behave as a blend, and they really don't strike me as likely from any of the surrounding areas. It's much more likely in my opinion that they are from a distinct area of LBZ than not LBZ at all. But beyond all that--past a certain point, I have zero interest in playing No True Scotsman about what's any single estate (or aged recipe) tea's from. If someone sez it's from LBZ, and that person has credibility and experience, then I'm going to take them at their word unless they are obviously wrong. And I've already dismissed other authority, like that The Leaf's article on LBZ cakes, because their recs were bull. More than that, I will firmly contest the assertion that LBZ doesn't get mild, sweet, and subtle in flavor as it ages. Young, fresh LBZ? Wow! But they don't stay that way beyond about 3 years.
The really credible LBZs I've had, which have only been a handful, some aged past 10 years, are all wild, strong, pungent, and forceful. This is naturally stored stuff in HK climate. There's a strength of character that won't fit with your "mild, sweet, and subtle".
shah82 wrote:As for the second part, MarshalN, just listen to yourself. If a benchmark is unavailable, then can it really serve as a benchmark? Do you really think people can get a concrete idea from furtive samplings of $20-$50 pots of tea, or among a group of people who are preparing tea different than how they'd prepare it themselves? Don't you think the hobby will instead drift to what people can repeatedly experience for themselves? The rich and the folks who got in early can play the game, like fancy car owners and their stupid Mustangs. The rest of us have to go with Civics and just rice it up, man.
No no, I didn't say it's supposed to serve as a benchmark for regular drinkers. But their existence tells you what's possible. What you're saying is because you can't get it, you're going to pretend they don't exist, which isn't really fair.