I was at the Xiaguan distributor in Guangzhou last month and was sampling some of their tea when the manager there asked me whether I would be interested in an older raw pu erh tuo that is considered by the store to be one of the smokiest Xiaguan tea in his store. I was immediately interested.
I like smoky raw pu erh tea. Yes, a few reader friends dislike the smoke and a few do think it is like having a cigarette after a tea session. I think the smokiness adds an additional dimension to raw pu erh. This is especially seen in older raw pu erh (10 years or more) where the smokiness would had receded over time leaving a faint smoky scent. I like old raw with this faint smoke. I feel such tea gives a more punchy taste and feel and makes a tea session more enjoyable. Interestingly, most vintage tea cakes (20 years or more) do have that faint smoky signature and these old vintages are today very highly sought after and highly prized as well.
I named this tea 'Old Smoky'....it is 13 years old and the smoke is strong in the tea. This tea is smooth and the smoke is strong especially in the 1st 4 infusions. I found the smokiness had made this tea slightly 'ginger spicy' in the aroma. Interestingly, the tea has a very light hint of fruity sweetness in the later infusions.
For readers who are interested in 'Old Smoky', I have made this 100g tuo available in my online store (link).