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Ripe Red Virginias in ribbon form cured and aged via traditional methods...simple, right?

BrandWatch City Cigar
Blended ByErnie Q.
Manufactured ByWatch City Cigar Co.
Blend TypeStraight Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
7 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3047)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Simply Red is a good name, but this is not a simple blend. There are several different shades of red (from light to medium to black) with a little orange in this ribbon cut Virginia product. Some of the reds are obviously processed differently. I believe there’s a little stoved red in the mix. The characteristics I observe are a burst of ripe dark fruit with a little fermentation, some tanginess, a lot of earth and wood, a splash of semi-tart citrus, mild grassiness, light sugar and stewed fruit, and a tinge of floral along with small spice, bread and acidic sour notes. It also sports a whisper of vinegar, though you won’t smell it when you sniff the tobacco, and will seldom taste it. The taste level falls just short of medium. The strength is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium, while the nic-hit is barely past that center. No chance of bite or harshness even when pushed. Has a minute rough edge here and there. The tobacco is lightly moist, but I don’t think it needs any dry time. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with average range of complexity and a mostly consistent, well balanced, rather smooth, medium sweet flavor that also has a touch of sour savoriness from start to finish. These attributes translate to the short lived after taste. Barely leaves any dampness in the bowl, and requires a couple more than an average number of relights if given no chance to dry. The room note is pleasant. An all day smoke that makes a good mixer, too.

It’s a little more complex, smoother, refined, mildly less sweeter, less matured, and a notch stronger than McClelland’s 5100, which also has a modest vinegar presence that Simply Red mostly lacks. SR is not quite as earthy or sweet, but is smoother with a hair more variety of subtleness than the more matured C&D’s Carolina Red Flake, which is a rung or two higher in the strength and taste departments. It’s not as sweet, aged, or as smooth, is a touch earthier and a little more nuanced, and doesn’t have the depth of flavor that the various years of McCranie’s reds have. This blend reminds me a bit of the reds used in the Sutliff crumble kakes with a little more nuance, and a little less strength and flavor. Simply Red is a couple of degrees more complex, citrusy, grassy and earthy, and is not quite as sweet as Sutliff’s Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1, a fraction of which I suspect is in this manufacture. SR also has a tad more potency in body, depth, and variety of flavor. As far as I know, the tobaccos in this creation are provided by Sutliff. Four stars out of four.


21 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30171)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Loads of color in the bag, from light tan all the way through to some black specks. The bag aroma of this ribbon cut tobacco is light and airy, with some spices and a light bready quality. I was fortunate enough to smoke an earlier iteration of this excellent blend, and I've smoked about 6 oz since so as to put my thoughts in some sort of order. I didn't dry this one but I did tend to pack it a little tighter than normal for best results.

Comparing this to McClellands 5100 Red Cake is inevitable, so allow me to get that out of the way. This blend is not as "simple" as 5100. While the latter is a fine straight smoke, especially with 5+ years of age on it, it simply does not match Simply Red in that department. This is much more complex, but it has a relaxed complexity... many subtle flavors in the mix. This is a mix of different reds. The "tang factor" is about at the same level as 5100, but this one is smoother and tastier, with an interesting mix of sweet/sour/tart that 5100 does not have. Very light in nicotine here, as expected. The balance here is exquisite, and the depth level is on par with fresh 5100, although this lacks the huge depth of well aged 5100. Not a fair comparison, of course, except to say that my expectation is that SR will age at least as well.

Bottom line for me is that I will waste no more time mourning the death of 5100. This one is better fresh and will be the equal of aged 5100. SR is rounder, tastier, smoother more complex and more enjoyable as a straight smoke. Simply Red is "simply" more interesting to my tastebuds. I'm glad this one has become a staple in the Watch City line.

10 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (248)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am going to have a hard time improving on DK's review of this tobacco. The tin note is sweet, tangy VA as one would expect. The ribbon cut is different shades of red VA and the 8 oz's I purchased came at a perfect smoking consistency, not to moist and not too dry. I will try not to review other blends in one review but I also purchased Rhythm and Blues and Spillsbane in this order and all are superior smokes with what appears to be the same spine. I know many people have been searching for a 5100 replacement and for me, this is it. It is not a clone by any means, in fact I think it may be an improvement. The complexity of the smoke is much different than 5100 or McCrainies or even Blakeny's Best. All 3 of those are some of my favorite smokes and will continue to be until the well runs dry, but this tobacco made me want to smoke the whole bag in a day. Not something I have ever experienced (well I felt the same way about Rhythm and Blues, maybe more). The flavor profile is complex, sweet, tangy, evolves into some toasty notes. It can offer an occasional sour note and has something I cannot put my finger on but is akin to a creaminess. As a VA you do get some grassy notes early in the bowl. it burns to a fine white powder and it needed few if any relights. I typically enjoy Watch City blends but this one blew me away.

Pipe Used: Briar's, meerschaum and cobs

Purchased From: Watch City Cigar

5 people found this review helpful.

bent-1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bent-1 (39)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Upon arrival, the red, orange, & lemon virginias were present. Moisture content was perfect, no dry time needed. The cut reminds me of a crimp cut, similar to Prince Albert. The first light was productive, and the entire bowlful required minimal relights. Taste & waft, reminds me of McClellands #27. If you’re a fan of #27, give this a try. I can confirm what other reviewers expressed about this blend. Fine blend worthy of 3.5 stars

Pipe Used: Cobbit Shire

Age When Smoked: 3 months

Purchased From: Watch City Cigar

Similar Blends: McClellands #27.

4 people found this review helpful.

Tomcat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tomcat (224)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

Watch City Cigar Simply Red - i’m smoking some from a fresh batch released last week . The tobaccos have a aged feel to them . Very fruity and tangly with a little vinegar sourness . A wee bit grassy and citrusy. A welcomed mild sweetness . Toasty . It comes in a beautiful ribbon cut at just the right moisture. It just looks and tastes like high quality tobacco . No tongue bite . Hardly a rough edge , very smooth . A little spicy . A fine Virginia ribbon that smokes great all by itself with no need to mix anything in although it would probably make a good mixer base . Most Virginia blending tobaccos need a year or two to mellow out but not this one . It is good right now and i will be aging some for the cellar . Very impressed with Watch City blends so far . I would imagine any Virginia lover to at least like this to some degree . 4 stars

Age When Smoked: Fresh bulk

Purchased From: Watch City Cigar

2 people found this review helpful.

JaWiBr Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JaWiBr (562)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Package note of dark fruit, sweet bread and spices. Tobacco is a ribbon cut of reddish light, medium and dark browns. Moisture content is great. Burns moderate with few relights. The strength is mild in the beginning, finishing at medium. Nic is mild to medium. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium and moderately consistent, with notes of spices, bready, dried hay, orange peel, sugar, wood, floral, tangy sweet, mild citrus, mild grass, fermented vegetation, earthy, mildly savory, acidic, a ripe dark sour fruit background note, and a mildly peppery, almost smooth retro. Room note is pleasant to tolerable, and aftertaste is great.

Pipe Used: Peterson Bard Rusticated 221 Fishtail

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From:

1 person found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (403)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Unnoticeable

I have been wanting to try this on and off for the past year but always out of stock until I got an email back in October and promptly ordered some. I have a soft spot for Red Virginias and this most definitely did not disappoint. Probably like a lot of us, I smoke just about every type of blend out there from English, Aero, Dark Fired, etc. but every time I light up Red Virginia with or without Perique I fall in love all over again. One of the few tobaccos I have noticed that once I start smoking this the jar or tin does not last long. This is a hard one for me to describe other than I like the mild bready hay flavor that it provides. While I do not find this tobacco strong tasting I enjoy the clean crisp taste it provides. One could compare it I suppose to a really fine exquisite cigarette tobacco but yet not cigarette tasting if that makes any sense. I prefer this in a Cob or Meerschaum and actually have never tried it in a briar though I am sure it would smoke well also but for me Reds belong in a Cob or Meer. I can’t wait for summer to get here to really enjoy it with some ice tea. After purchasing 10 ounces, I went back later on the web site and this was already sold out. It does not stay long on Ernie’s shelf.

Pipe Used: Cobs and Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New

1 person found this review helpful.