teaguy wrote:The musty smell with the baojong is most likely a 'flaw' in the process somewhere. It may have not been sealed, or picked up some odors somewhere along the way, or not been a very good baojong to start with.
There's never a guarantee that aging will improve a tea. Some good teas age poorly, some poor teas age very well. That's what makes it a tricky proposition all around.
In a way it's kind of hard to call it 'flawed' since some people seem to like these. I have one now that it seems went just a tiny bit long between infusions, as it has just the slightest hint of earthy mustiness buried deep in the layers of great complexity. This adds just a little more dimension that actually enhances it. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it does make it that much nicer.
The thing I've noticed with those earthy ones is that when there's any info on the aging history of the tea, these are the ones that typically got forgotten about in someone's house - basically home-aged, and probably not intentionally. I also suspect that the humidity has something to do with it.
So I also wonder whether it's really that any teas don't age well as much as it is that they're not as easy
to age in your particular environment. Some don't seem to mind some air, others seem to need to be sealed and protected as possible. Some benefit more from roasting, and others can go without - though I've gathered that the roasting seems to be more about driving out moisture more than anything. The main thing is that I think that you just can't tell what any one tea needs until it actually starts to age, and I think it has as much to do with environment as anything. I suspect that, for example, a tea that might not age well for you in a sealed ceramic jar may age well for me in a tin.
Unfortunately I haven't seen much info about the subject - I suspect that there aren't that many people in the industry that really have expertise in aging wulong teas. Even those like Guang that know how and when to re-roast don't seem to know as much about it as they do about other teas. I have to admit, though, that that's actually part of the appeal to me. I plan on aging some, but really only the ones that I don't like as much and would otherwise probably throw away. If it turns out then great, and if not then there's no real loss. The only real exception is yancha, which I typically don't like when it's new, but I don't know that I will try to age any for 10+ years - at least not intentionally.
Generally, though, I agree with your thoughts, and I generally don't like "wet stored" aged wulong.