Sample purchased by self. I used my own parameters for the evaluation, treating this as I treated Keemun Grade 2. Brewed in a porcelain gaiwan, drank from a white porcelain cup. Steeping times: 20 seconds, 10, 20, 30; 1 minute, 2, 6.
The aromas are quite different from those of Grade 2. Again, I only smell tannins from the dry leaf, but the heated and wet leaf aromas are what shine. The former is very sweet, with notes of dark chocolate and berries, reminding me of those chocolate-covered blueberries and pomegranate. The latter initially smells typically of molasses and honey, but more exposure to air morphs these notes into tart berries. Lovely. I took my time breathing in the aromas.
The liquor is a fiery deep orange (classic keemun color). Overall, Grade 1 is sweeter than Grade 2, though much lighter tasting. The body is more in the middle on the scale, having a medium body, strong though not brisk, not filling the mouth with flavor. Infusions one through three taste of molasses and honey; tannic but leaning more towards sweetness as opposed to the balance that Grade 2 has. Furthermore, I noticed this grade has a nicely smooth and thick texture.
Surprisingly, this grade has considerably less gongfucha stamina. I could have finished with cup #3, but wanted to learn what how much farther it could really go. In truth, four through seven aren’t worth it. In spite of the color remaining strong, it became too light in flavor, only a remnant of what it tasted like in the first couple infusions. I used a 1:20 ratio. I may have to use 1:15 for this to suit my fancy more. But it seems I would enjoy this more in a mug than in a gaiwan. Comparing the two keemuns, Grade 2 suited my fancy more because it was stronger and more flavorful.
I then brewed this in a typically sized mug twice, using 2g each time, similar temperature. The flavor and intensity is very much same: light, sweet, and slightly tannic. The less water the better since a full mug tastes diluted. Again, too light for my taste.