Dobie's 4 Square has included some legendary blends, and 4 Square English is destined to join them. For those who prefer their latakia blends to be more subtle, this is a great choice. A modest amount of Cyprian latakia is joined by bright Virginias, and instead of the typical Orientals, a bit of silky burley to add body. If you want a latakia blend that can be enjoyed all day, try 4 Square English.
The smokey, woody sweet Cyprian latakia is a team player and takes a little lead as it lets the other components shine through. The nutty, molasses sweet burleys are support players, and also sport a touch of earth, spice and toast. The description claims they are used instead of Orientals, but I get a taste of them just the same, and I claim a little is present. The brown sugary black cavendish provide a smoothing sweetness to run out potential rough edges, none of which are present. The grassy, citrusy Virginias also have a little earth and dark fruit hit in the background. The nic-hit is a little past the mild threshold. No chance of bite. Well blended, it burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a consistent flavor from start to finish. Requires few relights, and leaves very little moisture in the bowl. The after taste is pleasant and lingers just a little. An all day English that makes a good starter blend in this genre.
The smoky, woody Lat leads the nutty, earthy Burley by just a small amount. The Black Cav lends a very mild sweetness. If any of the sweetness is from the Virginias I can't tell as they're pretty much hidden to me. Same for the Orientals if there are any. I can't detect them. There's no evolution here. What you get at the top of the bowl is what you get at the bottom. I suppose some may like that consistency. It's a pretty simple smoke that tastes nice, but I find it just a little boring.
Mild to medium in body and taste. No added flavorings. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Marcus, Country Gentleman, Mark Twain
I love this! I smoke both aromatic and English blends so I'm not prejudiced toward either camp. I tend to smoke aromatics a bit more because I've never found any English I enjoyed at all times of the day. Until now. Dobies works morning, noon, or night. The tobaccos in this blend are in complete harmony. No single tobacco outpaces another during the smoke. Smooth sailing all the way. Great flavor, cool smoking and an absolute pleasure. I just ordered more.
This came in an order I got of several mild-medium English blends that I wanted to try, and is the third that I've tried so far.
Of what I've smoked recently, this was the most similar to C&D Plantation Evening, at least in terms of flavor.
The tin note was very smoky. The tobacco was a little drier than what I'm used to, but as I'm learning more about pipes and tobacco I'm finding that what I'm used to is actually pretty moist, in terms of what the best moisture level is for actual smoking. This was probably right on the money, as the tobacco burned slow and cool to the bottom of the bowl with no fuss and no bite.
In terms of flavor this started off pretty mild, mostly with a natural sweetness that I'd attribute to the Virginia and Black Cavendish. The Latakia just sort of lurked in the background. Flavor started to get stronger midway through the bowl, coming up to a mild-medium. The Latakia may have picked up a bit, but it remained a role-player and didn't steal the show, which I like.
Not a complex smoke by any means, but it was consistent and pleasant. I don't know if I'll buy this often though, just because Plantation Evening has a similar flavor profile and I can get it in bulk, so I can't really justify this on price. This did burn cooler and smoother than the Plantation Evening though, so depending on how you value that you may want to give this a shot. It's a good product.
Edit: I'll leave my previous thoughts up because someone may find my initial impressions to have some value, but as I've gotten to know these blends a bit better I no longer think my comparison to Plantation Evening is valid. Four Square lacks a certain fruitiness that Plantation Evening has which I'd guess can be attributed to the lack of Perique in this blend. The Burley and Cavendish make it a much cooler, fuller, "chewier" smoke as well. I'm also detecting some flavoring that I'd also attribute to the Cavendish, can't quite put my finger on it...vanilla?
I'll get better at these reviews as I continue to refine my technique and my palate. But in any case I will say this is different and interesting enough that it may yet find a place in my regular rotation.
Pipe Used: Cheap briar, also a Forseti Rustic Billiard
Because I have smoked the entire line of Dobie's originals over and over again over the years (with great appreciation for all of them), I purchased the full line-up of the remakes to see how they stacked up.
I liked this new offering by Standard Tobacco. It tasted somewhat like the old House of Windsor's Barking Dog, although the Latakia is way more noticeable in this one. The way the blender added the Burley touch was nice and actually added to the overall Latakia presentation. It reminded me of some of the quality old "drugstore" style Latakia/Burley/Virginia tobaccos of old. Not an elegant smoke, but it got the job done nicely.
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