As JimInks recommends, I smoked it using a pipe with a wide chamber (in my case, I used Savinelli's 121KS). I was certainly able to detect minor nuances, the presence of Perique and Latakia, but I don't know what to compare the entire blend to. I'd venture to say C&D's Oak Alley, but it doesn't seem as woody, earthy, or sour as this blend. As a whole, the main sweetness comes from the vague Virginia and Burley, followed by fine nuances of grassy and earthy.
The smoky, woody, earthy, leathery, floral, incense-like, sweet Cyprian Latakia is the lead component, but not by much. The very nutty, earthy, woody, spicy, toasty, slightly molasses sweet and quite sour, sharp burleys also sport a bare hint of cocoa as strong supporting players. The red and lighter long cut Virginias offer a burst of very tangy ripe dark fruit, lightly tart citrus, earth, wood, bread, some grass, a little floralness and sugar along with a couple drops of honey. The Virginias are secondary stars. The very spicy, raisiny perique is just above being a condiment. The strength, nic-hit, and taste levels are medium. Won’t bite or get harsh, and barely has any rough edges. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a very consistent, well balanced, complex, mildly sweet and rather spicy, sour, floral, savory flavor that translates to the lightly lingering after taste. Has a light campfire quality, too. Leaves little dampness in the bowl. Requires an average number of relights. Not quite an all day smoke, but it is repeatable. I suggest a wide bowl to capture all the nuances as well as the more obvious aspects this blend can deliver. Three and a half stars out of four.
The mostly white, high quality burleys and red Virginia provide a creamy smooth and slightly sweet foundation. The Latakia and perique are lightly applied condiments which add contrasting smoky and spicy-sour flavors. The whole works well as a distinctive mild-medium English style blend - one without Orientals, however. A satisfying early day and afternoon smoke. I can’t think of a close match but Stokkebye 306 comes to mind for its smooth mouthfeel and moderate Latakia.
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