The dry, floral, woody, earthy, spicy, fairly sour, lightly buttery sweet Orientals take some of the lead over the other components. The red Virginias provides tangy dark fruit, wood, earth, grass, lightly tart citrus, a hint of floral, touches of spice, stewed fruit, sugar, acid, bread and fermentation in an important support role. The nutty, earthy, woody burley has minimal sweetness, but adds some depth, body, and extra nuances to the mix and is as noticeable as the red Virginias. The raisiny, spicy, plumy perique is an significant condiment. There’s a small amount of unsweetened cavendish that provides a slight caramel and light sugary note to tone down potential rough edges. There are no toppings present. The strength is medium. The taste starts out around the medium mark, but walks across that line by a step or two around the half way point. The nic-hit is a rung below the medium level. No chance of bite or harshness, but it’s not quite a smooth blend either. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a mildly creamy sweet and rather savory, spicy, lightly campfire, consistent flavor with well balanced obvious and subtle complexities. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. The after taste does linger some. The room note is pleasant. Despite its potency, it can be an all day smoke for the veteran smoker, and repeatable for the less experienced.
Very ribbony mix of tan-to-occasional-black with a bag aroma of mustiness and orientals, with a spicy perique and bready Virginia sidecar. This tobacco is rather "fluffy" and care in loading must be taken for best burn rate. This blend was commissioned for the Pipe Smokers Den internet group of which I'm a moderator, and I worked with Ernie on this blend from start to finish... which is to say I did some taste testing and reporting. I'd say I had about as much to do with the final outcome of this blend as Albania had on the outcome of World War 2 :). But it was fun nonetheless. I tested some samples of various bases, one of which became the final base, and two samples of the potential finished product. Ernie overruled my choice on that. Good thing, too, as this one isn't quite as oriental-forward as the one I chose, and would therefore be preferred by most smokers.
This one is more savory than sweet, with a rich and robust but not strong profile. The Orientals are in control throughout most of the smoke and are of the "sour earth" variety rather than the floral and sweet style. Orientals without latakia in a blend is a difficult undertaking, as most blenders appear unable to meld that flavor with the other tobaccos. Either the Orientals take over and the blend becomes dusty and murky, or they are too light and appear as a tiny floral and incense flavor that is overwhelmed by the Virginias and Perique. Ernie nailed it here. The perique is overshadowed by the orientals, Virginias and even the burley in the first part of the bowl but gains momentum as the smoke progresses. Here it shows off its dark fruit sweetness with more than a hint of spice and meshes perfectly with the rest of the mix. The red Virginia is a critical component as it pushes forth the tang that its known for, and also some freshly baked bread and mild "tart-sourness" to go with its light sweetness. The burley is the glue that holds this all together for me and keeps it from going completely "off the rails". I don't find the usual burley nuttiness here but more of a woody anchor that keeps this blend grounded. In short, I find every condiment used to be ultra-critical in the creation of this blend. It's a contemplative smoke with above average complexity, but it's also a trusted friend in the nicotine satisfaction department. I've smoked about half a pound so far and it's consistency bowl-to-bowl and huge flavor development make it a personal favorite. One word of caution... this does not DGT well at all! It gets rough and harsh when relit hours later, so I prefer to fire it up only when I know I'll have time to finish the bowl. This may be Ernie's finest creation to date and I'm glad I didn't screw it up! :)
Individual reviews are the opinion(s) of the
contributor and don't reflect the opinion(s) of Tobacco Media Group. Published review content of
this website is considered the copyright intellectual property of the reviewer and Tobacco Media
Group and may not be reproduced in any manner without the expressed written consent of Tobacco