I had the privilege to have purchased this tong locally in Singapore. This is the 2005 Haiwan Lao Tong Zhi ripe cake. I called it 'yellow label' for obvious reasons(see pix) as I could not find any recipe number or name for this cake anywhere on the wrapper itself.
This cake was kept in Singapore for 5+ years and the favorable weather in Singapore had helped to make this tea a real treat. Yes, good storage conditions and a good tea are also important factors that help making old pu erh taste good. And - ripe pu erh tea can be aged into a wonderful tea.
Singapore is an island located in south east Asia. The weather is hot and humid all year long. It is common that the average temperature is about 28-32C with average humidity above the 80% region. Rainy seasons can see the humidity reaching the high 90s. For me, I store my pu erh tea cakes in envelopes (single cakes and bricks) and in carton boxes (tongs) in an odour free room and half opening the windows when I am in the house. The weather in Singapore is similar to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and several tea collectors in this region felt that the pu erh stored here would result in a nice aged tea.
This 2005 Haiwan cake, when brewed, gives off a pleasant aroma of toasted cereal and chinese herbs. Quite an intense scent. It tasted like a nice chinese double boiled herbal soup. It just gives me a smile with every sip. I felt a warm pleasant sensation after drinking a couple cups of this tea. My wife and daughter actually liked this tea - I had observed they drank up the entire cup and sometimes ask for a second round. This tea tasted better when drank hot or warm. I learnt a trick from my daughter - if the tea has cooled down, put it in a microwave and heat it up for 30 seconds (the tea will taste just as good). Do not drink overnight tea though.