In the early 2000's it was relatively common for small factories to produce puerh tea that had a smoky characteristic. As is common now, they would fry the tea over wood fires to stop the oxidation. Larger factories had more refined processing, but smaller factories had more rustic setups. The benefit of smaller factories is that they sometimes source from interesting tea plantations - more remote, less agrochemicals and less over-harvested. They are very often undervalued too - with no name recognition to rely on, good ones can be a real bargain in today's overinflated market.
When young this smoke characteristic can be overpowering, but after ageing, it can mellow and transform - in much the same way as an Islay Scotch. This smoky character is one that divides lovers of puerh - some love it, some can't stand it.
The smoke in this cake has mellowed and we find it very enjoyable to drink. Beyond that, the storage is clean, the tea is concentrated and rich, with a bud-heavy mix. It leaves a long aftertaste which transforms and evolves in the mouth. I think this tea is undoubtedly undervalued and a bargain for lovers of aged puer tea.