This is an easy review. When I opened a tin of Red Eye, I thought I was looking at something familiar; something that I had smoked recently and, in fact, still had open - Four Square Circles. I put them side by side and they look the same and have the same tin aroma. I loaded two pipes , one with each, and smoked them alternately and they smoked identically. So, see my review of Four Square Circles, as everything I said there is true and applicable here. None of this bothers me in any way - the more the merrier. I recommend both equally and give each three stars.
I posted for this yesterday but on reflection, this morning, thought it was way too long a review!
So, Red Eye? A top class VaPer with a touch of 'je ne sais quoi' from the black centre! It doesn't just give a vanilla smoothness, but a slight fired Kentucky quality as well. It burns cool, creating a bite free smoke. I get a healthy nicotine punch from it, and the room-note's quite nice.
Red Eye? Plenty of Perique, lots of fun, and four stars!
Pipe Used: Various
Age When Smoked: Not stamped, but I opened it after a week
It's funny to read all the reviews and see everyone say "this is just exactly like XYZ". Because, for me, this tobacco is an extremely middle of the road VA/Per with no real distinguishing characteristic.
It's fine. Just fine. There are so many interesting VA/Pers with real distinct notes. If you want a real pepper kick, check out Bayou Morning. A creaminess? Chenet Cake. The list goes on and on.
And if you want a wonderful, everyday, smokable middle-ground VA/Per, the Escudo Navy De Luxe will keep you happy. I find the Escudo to have a little better clarity than the Red Eye, a better balance, and a better burn.
So what does this one offer the marketplace? Really, nothing I could find. Maybe just a little bit of vanilla sweetness, but those notes exist in other mixtures. It's a VA/Per. There's some pepper, some sweetness.... and lots of superior options available. On we go....
A decent "VaPer", it does have a unflavored cavendish center which brings a little sweetness out of the virginias and helps provide a bite free smoke. Compared to Luxury Bullseye...neither really stand out for me. They both are a decent smoke..a nice smoke but not one I would cellar due to not enough to keep me coming back. Probably a great starter smoke as this is a fuss free experience.
There's not much complexity here... Sweet Cavendish and Virginias smoky affair with pinch of perique which is very much present in here. Tin note is again fruity and some hay like smell. Coins were bit moist but smokeable. Presentation of those round bulls eye coins stacked neatly in three equally devided piles with a clear plastic see through cover instead of card board. Seems not packed in a hurry as in case of other tins where coins are thrown into tin randomly. A nice relaxing and enjoyable smoke which easily earn recommendation.
After letting this blend age a bit, I felt it was time to pop the tin and see how it compared to its counterparts. The tin note was slight, prunes with a bit of hay and little cavendish sweetness. I rubbed out a couple of flakes and loaded it with a medium pack and lit up. After the charring light it burns well, and the initial taste is very woody with a little hay. It develops nicely revealing some prune/stewed fruit and a bit of brown sugar sweetness, with very little spice, though the wood and hay continually compete for center stage. This blend was not quite as sweet as I had hoped, nor were the fruit notes as prominent as I would’ve liked them to be, especially after 2 + years of age. It also surprised me that the Virginia still tasted a bit young. Leaves a nice hay aftertaste, but overall I’d give Bullseye Flake a considerable edge. My overall impression was “good, but not great”. A very enjoyable smoke. 3 stars.
Pipe Used: Cobs and briars
Age When Smoked: 2 years
Similar Blends: Peter Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye Flake.
The center is key... Red Eye, and for that matter Dobie Four Square Circles, both have a toasted Cavendish center. The Red Eye description is calling it a fire-cured Cavendish center but I'm pretty sure that's the same as toasted Cavendish. It's a little confusing because Three Nun's Orange and Newminster Superior Round Slices both have Dark Fired Kentucky centers which is also fire-cured, but not Cavendish. Peter Stokkebye Luxury Bull's Eye Flake has a fermented Cavendish center, which is fermented not toasted (or fire-cured). So if you put fermented Cavendish on one side of the spectrum and DFK on the other side, then toasted (or fire-cured) Cavendish seems to be a kind of a compromise between the two. At least that's the way I see it and I'd welcome any other insights on this. Long story short. I love VaPers, and I enjoy all of the above mentioned coin cut VaPers. If I had to choose one of the above I'd go with Peter Stokkebye's. However, I do prefer the toasted Cavendish over the DFK. But my all time favorite is Escudo and that one doesn't have any special center.
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