I'm currently enjoying #1, having made my way through 3 and 2 earlier today. Throughout, I brewed the tea in my ~120ml gaiwan, using ~4g. I did 30 second rinses, 30 second rests, and then brewed at 1m, 1m, 2m, 4-5min, 7-10min.
Keeping these parameters steady throughout the series, I found the flavor "dial" to be cranked up as I progressed (not surprising). The level of flavor at #2 and #1 is about where I prefer my oolongs. Granted, I could probably brew the lower graders longer, or add more tea, but that wasn't the point for me. Although I admit that I enjoyed the lower grades as a bit of 'tease,' they were also a nice way to enjoy the orchid/floral quality of the tea.
The #3 really cranked in a buttery quality that I was not expecting, almost reminding me of some Japanese greens. I quickly found myself only really tasting this tea in the aftertaste, though. #2 seemed to tip the scale back toward the floral/orchid quality, while #1 seemed to bring them both (the buttery orchid) forward like an avalanche.
With #2 and #1, I found that I could have brewed beyond the 5, while the earlier ones, the tea was pretty much spent at the 5th infusion.
Anyway, those are my simple thoughts on these amazing tea. I really enjoyed this first run-through. I am going to wait for more comment before I run through the series again w/ the remaining sample to focus on what other people point out.
One question -- I found it hard to tell quality of the tea from the look of the dried leaves. The aroma sort of followed my expectations, and the spent leaves as well, but the "before" picture... I wasn't sure what to be looking for. Thoughts?
My thanks to Chip and IPT for a great OTTI!