Shuang Ru Feng rougui 雙乳峰肉桂. Enchanted by its exceptionally clean and pure expression of varietal typicity, with a slightly spicy nose and flavours that evoke orange blossoms and honey supported by nuances of osmanthus and fig. Eagerly anticipating the release of this year’s collection in mid-July.
For old times’ sake. So long, and thanks for all the fish!
“So much harm has been done already by the mutual misunderstanding of the New World and the Old, that one need not apologise for contributing his tithe to the furtherance of a better understanding.” — Kakuzo Okakura.
Just heard from a contact who claims she has verified with her sources that 20 haute branded Wuyi teas were sold in Shanghai this year at the following prices (given in RMB per jin/500g, based on retail 8g packs)
1. 九龍窠母樹大紅袍 Jiu Long Ke mother tree Da Hong Pao - 5,200,000
2. 遠香 Yuan Xiang - 480,000
3. 瑞泉聖匠 Rui Quan Sheng Jiang - 388,000
4. 無極 Wu Ji - 375,000
5. 天驛古茗 Tian Yi Gu Ming - 300,000
6. 鶴頂紅 He Ding Hong - 198,000
7. 西楚霸王 Xi Chu Ba Wang - 180,000
8. 莫問 Mo Wen - 180,000
9. 念念不忘 Nian Nian Bu Wang - 168,000
10. 一葉難求 Yi Ye Nan Qiu - 150,000
11. 不可言說 Bu Ke Yan Shuo - 150,000
12. 王威王 Wang Wei Wang - 139,000
13. 空谷幽蘭 Kong Gu You Lan - 128,000
14. 坑爹 Keng Die - 136,000
15. 曦瓜一號 Xi Gua Yi Hao - 96,000
16. 暗裡迷香 An Li Mi Xiang - 88,800
17. 心頭肉 Xin Tou Rou - 66,000
18. 一壺灌頂 Yi Hu Guan Ding - 38,800
19. 勾魂奪魄 Gou Hun Duo Po - 30,000
20. 默岩 Mo Yan - 30,000
Of course, further checks should be done to ensure the veracity of these claims — I, for one, am pretty sceptical. But if true, the teas are still cheaper than your DRCs and Moutons (I think?).
A dream came true, sooner than expected! I finally had a chance to try 南雲 主于三 Shuzo Nagumo’s tea cocktails and they are out of this world — immaculately crafted with a whisper of austerity, yet so approachable and straightforward it belies the amount of thought and effort that goes into each drink. Pictured: Uji gyokuro; gyokuro tea-tail with Islay malt and ice wine; soba cha with pineapple and dehydrated miso; houjicha Manhattan made with Ron Zapaca and high age Cognac; and matcha Godfather with kuromitsu and amaretto. Gyokuro spirit (which I didn’t take a photo of), made from grain spirit and gyokuro in a rotary evaporator, had me slumped on the couch wondering if this could be one of the most divine libations to touch human lips.
In addition to purples and greens, elusive shades of blue can also be picked up in some of Kamada Koji’s yohen shiko (燿変紫光). Of course, being yohen in the true sense of the word, this effect is achieved in varying quality and refinement.
Li Shu He’s tenmoku/tianmu or jianzhan (in the loose sense of the word). It’s interesting to note that the underlying layer of glaze beneath the oil spots retains a clear green-hued transparency not unlike that of 蓼冷汁天目, making it seem as if the coppery silver oil spots are suspended in mid-air. As far as tenmoku oil spots go, 浮萍肌理 is a hallmark of authenticity (understood as a working set of parameters since it appears the jury is still out on what is “authentic”; some “jianzhan” made in Jianyang can’t even be called that in the true sense of the word.)
Dehua porcelain, pretty little thing.
Quiet little sesh this afternoon involving a couple of easy-drinking oolongs.
Iridescence in oil spot tenmoku (jianzhan). The question of heavy metals aside, there are mainly two ways this could be achieved: During firing (contrast this tea bowl here with the yohen 曜變 tenmoku bowl at the Miho Museum), or after a period of regular use. The latter, it is understood, is merely a surface coating that interferes with light, caused by residual substances adhering to the glaze.
Notwithstanding all the carpe diem because #fomo, the appeal of this modest little pot is real.「宜興惠」Yixing Hui with 「六杯」stamp.
There aren’t very many tea bowls that I don’t get tired of using for an assortment of teas. Zhang Gui Wei’s oil spot tenmoku / jianzhan is one of them. It is true that his works are in the collections of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, in the British Museum, and in several other venerable institutions around the world, but the true value of his tenmoku lies in his spirit of artistic creation. From shapes and forms to glazes and treatments, his works reflect his guiding principle of interpreting tradition in a contemporary light, and that allows him to bridge the past and the present. Today, a jianzhan / tenmoku can cost anywhere from 5 dollars to 5,000 dollars. The question is: Where does the value lie?
Nuanced wrinkles on a late-Qing/RoC Meng Chen 孟臣 zhuni pot.
The holy Body was broken, the Lamb smitten. He Alone upheld the world’s ransom, and by His bruises we are healed.
His Mother, who at the stable in Bethlehem wrapped Him in swaddling bands, would at the sepulchre wrap His lifeless body for burial. She alone was there at the beginning, and she alone was there right to the very end. “Is there one who would not weep, whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ's dear Mother to behold?”
The moon, reflected on the surface of some tieguanyin in an oil spot tenmoku tea bowl. Taken on the 12th day of the second month on the lunisolar calendar.
Tea-fuelled conversations on dining trends, accompanied by what has got to be one of the best red bean pancakes in this neck of the woods.