"Instead, I think the answer might be for us to start blending our own tea -- an aged Bulang with a young Yiwu might make for a pretty interesting combination."
As I was thinking this morning, I dug through the numerous samples that I have, coming across an aged Bu Lang (my remaining sample of the 1997 Hen Li Chang Bu Lang) and a younger Yi Wu (the 2001 Ding Xin Cha Zhuang Yi Wu). The Bu Lang had a nice and thick after taste that coated the tongue with a good kind of bitterness. The Yi Wu had some nice fruitiness going on in the flavor/aroma, working more "up front." I used 2.5 grams of each for a 100 ml gaiwan. A shot of the dry leaf:
The Yi Wu seems to have more complete leaves, since the Yi Wu was pryed from a chunk whereas the Bu Lang pretty much arrived in a loose leaf format. Hopefully this won't affect how the tea blends.
Another difference between the two is that the Bu Lang is a bit "bud-heavy," but I'm not sure what bud-heaviness does to a tea...maybe make it sweeter?
The combined leaf:
So how did it taste? Better than combined parts, surprisingly. I'll probably have to try this again in different proportions, but it seemed to taste more "complete" in the mouth, with a great more deal of complexity. The bitterness that the Bu Lang was teeming with was a bit toned down and there was a nice fruity youthfulness that came courtesy of the Yi Wu. As the infusions went on though, it became easier to distinguish the components, as the Yi Wu faded a bit earlier than the Bu Lang.
The wet leaf:
The larger leaf, which is lighter in color, is more or less the Yi Wu, whereas the darker smaller bits are the Bu Lang. Looking into my gaiwan between infusions, it seemed more or less even distributed.