The dark fruity, earthy, mildly fermented stewed fruit Virginias are rich and form the base of the blend. The Malawi burleys are very nutty, with a bit of deep molasses, earth and a hint of wood in a support role. The very noticeable dark fired Kentucky offers some smoky wood, nuts, and a decent amount of spice, along with a light toast note, and often takes a little lead over the burleys, mostly due to the spice content. The brown sugar from the unsweetened black cavendish provides a sweet smoothing quality to the experience. The nic-hit is slightly past the mild to medium mark. The strength and taste levels are just past medium, with the taste level being a tad more potent. No chance of bite or harshness. Burns cool, clean, and a little slow as flakes will with a very consistent, sweet and spicy, lightly smoky, full bodied, complex flavor from top to bottom. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires some relights. Has a very pleasant, lingering after taste. Not an all day smoke, but it’s certainly repeatable.
This is a very good smoke that ticks all the boxes concerned with satisfaction.
The flakes, no surprise here, are a very dark brown in colour. What isn't as expected is the build: the tin contains 10 exceedingly long, and rather thin strips of tobacco. As always with P. Olsen, they're perfectly moist. After a very easy and quick crumbling, they can be loaded into the pipe, and then a superbly flavoursome smoke occurs.
Dark Flake lights up easily, and then gives a substantial burn; it just takes the odd tamp, here and there to keep it in line. The smoke from said burn is of a medium temperature, unless I puff my pipe very forcefully.
The actual flavour? For some reason I associate this with the word Treacle; for starters, the smoke's thick like treacle, and there's a sweetness that's reminiscent of molasses. Putting that aside, there's also a smoky/fired character from the Kentucky, and I can detect the Burley very well, but the Virginia? Well this seems totally absent; no grass, no citrus, no wood, and no hay. After some deliberation, I'd be inclined to put the treacle quality down to the Black Cavendish; this REALLY softens the smoke. At the risk of putting a damper on things, it can bite a touch. However, that only happens if I puff like a voracious beast. Other than that though, it's all good!...............oh, the nicotine's fairly strong too!
I have a small cooler loaded with Paul Olsen blends from the 1990s that I picked up in trade with a gentleman from Aarhus. Dark Flake was a huge favorite and I smoked the 100g tin up in a matter of just a couple of weeks. I loved the Burley flavor and backbone provided by the unflavored black Cavendish. I wish I had another old tin of this because I love stout Burley blends of quality.
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