This was brought back from across the pond by a BOB and given to me along with an unopened tin of Balkan Sobranie! Very kind indeed!
Appearance and Aroma: Yes, this is commonwealth mixture as we know it in the USA. Same medium-length, broad-ribbon cut. the cyprian latakia note is the dominant aroma in the pouch.
Packing and lighting: because this was given to me in the form of bulk, it was easier to pack and light. Commonwealth is pretty tight in the tin and usually is a bit fussy when the tin is first opened. 2-3 lights max.
Initial Flavor: Latakia! but this settles down after the first third of the bowl and gives way to a nice balance with the VA.
Mid-bowl: This is a delicious Latakia mixture. It is not as complex as Squadron leader by the same house, but it is not meant to be. Since I love latakia, I'm very happy.
Bottom of the bowl: Builds to a full strength, though not overbearing. There is a nice interplay with the VA and it ends with a delicious meaty, smoky, and sweet note. Ash that is left is mottled and dry.
Overall: This is one of the top 10 blends in my rotation and can understand why this blend has been in SG's stable for so long. It uses the best VA and Latakia components IMO. Although this particular batch came from the UK, I am glad that I could not detect a difference from the Commonwealth blend we get here. Bravo to the house of Samuel Gawith! Go get some now!
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