Honoring historic US Burley growing regions, Cornell & Diehl's Small Batch: Eight State Burley showcases the often overlooked nuance and complexity of air-cured leaf, beginning with a specially sourced, matured blend of 2014 white and dark burleys — offering a mellow, creamy nuttiness, as well as a subtle, soft cocoa flavor on the palate. Top-tier Canadian brights and SM2-18 red Virginias (the same grade as in last year's run of Carolina Red Flake and Carolina Red Flake with Perique) complement those distinctive flavors with layers of sweetness, tang, and bready spice. Finally, Oriental tobaccos, well aged for 17 years, further contribute to the complexity of this unique burley mixture: A blend of rare Sokhoum, Samsun, and Katerini sun-cured leaf from 2005 add a lightly floral, oily, spicy and tart flavor — their sweetness having deepened and their sour notes having muted with age.
Notes: This version has 2019 Canadian bright leaf instead of last year's 2017 leaf and switched to a 2014 white burley from a 2015 white burley.
This is an updated review of last year’s ESB after having done several direct comparisons between the two blends. The year 2014 white and dark burleys provide a lot of earth, wood, nuts, mild creamy cocoa, and a sharp, dry sourness along with hints of sugar and molasses. They are the lead components. The aspects of the seventeen year old Sokhoum, Samsun and Katerini are earth, wood, herbs, floralness, spice, zesty tart sweetness, vegetation, and a mild smoky quality. They are moderately sweet, and mildly sour. They are just below being supporting players. The 2019 Canadian bright Virginia offers a lot of tart and tangy citrus, grass, bread, some sugar, vegetation, floralness, tart lemon, spice, and a hint of acidity as a supporting player. It competes with the Orientals for attention. The red Virginias produce a fair amount of tangy dark fruit, earth, wood, bread, light sugar, tart citrus, and a pinch of spice. They are a notch above being a condiment. The red Va.s add to the overall sweetness as they help mute some of the sourness from the white burley and Orientals. The casings on the burleys include a variety of flavors (molasses, rum, sugar, a drop or two of vanilla, cocoa, etc.) that very mildly tone down the tobaccos. The blend itself is not topped. The strength and nic-hit are medium. The taste is a rung past medium. There’s no chance of bite or harshness, and has a few very small rough edges. Well balanced and complex, it burns cool and clean at a reasonable rate with a rich nutty, woody, sweet, mildly floral, sour, spicy, smoky flavor. Barely leaves any dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasant, moderately lingering after taste, and room note. Can be an all day smoke for the veteran, and repeatable for the less experienced. Four stars.
This year’s version is fairly similar to last year’s though there are a few small differences. The white burley is a year older, and the Canadian bright is is two years younger than the 2021 ESB. The Canadian bright is a notch more obvious here, making the tart and tangy citrus and floral notes slightly more noticeable. The white burley is lightly more sharp and sour. Because the tobaccos stand out a touch more, this production is a tad smokier, floral, and punchier. The casing of the burleys is exactly the same as before. I rated last year’s taste level as medium. This is about half a rung fuller. The same goes for the room note.
From a fresh tin the tobacco is on the moist side, but smokes well without drying. It is an uneven ribbon cut with various size ribbons as well as some chunkier bits. The tin note is very nutty, earthy, and has notes of cocoa and chocolate.
My first thought upon lighting is that this is one of those warm and cozy blends. The smoke is very creamy and silky. The Burleys are nutty and chocolatey with a touch of Earth. The Red Virginia has a nice tang and bit of fruit. I get a touch of citrus/lemon from the Bright VAs. I occasionally get a hint of espresso bean. The Orientals offer some herbal and floral notes that offer an interesting interplay with the cocoa from the Burley, while the Virginia help smooth out the profile. The casing on the Burley shines through without covering up the tobacco flavors. There is a hint of honey and cocoa/chocolate. The blend is moderately sweet full of various flavors that are fun to pick out.
Eight State Burley 2022 smokes cool and clean to the bottom of the bowl, with minimal moisture left behind. It did not bite, and only sported a very light edge if puffed very aggressively. I found that it smoked best lightly packed. Nicotine was medium, and taste was just a step past that. 3.75 out of 4 stars.
Tin note of sugar, herbal floral and fruity. Tobacco is a Ready Rubbed of light brown, brown and dark brown with a little black. Moisture content is good, a few pipe smokers will want to dry it a bit. Burns slow with a few relights. The strength is medium and nic is mild to medium. Flavoring is listed to be Cocoa / Chocolate, Honey and Vanilla, but they don't seem to be added flavorings, but more like characteristics of the tobacco. Taste is medium to full and mostly consistent, with complex notes of cocoa, spicy, nutty, sugar, rich earthy, molasses, tangy fermented sour vegetation, spices, floral, bread, wood, savory, creamy, mildly bitter, zesty orange peel, a semi-sweet herbal hay background note, and a peppery retro. Burley is leading with Virginia and Oriental/Turkish supporting. Flavoring is absent for some reason. Room note is tolerable, and aftertaste is great.
Pipe Used: 2016 Northern Briars Premier Rox Cut #4 Prince
Just got a new tin yesterday afternoon. Cracked it open and was greeted with quite a vile odeur. Frankly, I could not even stand to have the tin next to me with the lid on, so I put it on a shelf in another room. Woof.
Well, I figured I'd give it a try anyway, so this morning I took it outside, filled up my new Savinelli 606 St. Nicholas 2022, and set fire to the stuff.
WOW. That's a Good Smoke. Very pleasant. My palate is not so refined that I can say "coconut" or " chocolate" or "duck with Chinese five-spice powder and honey-soy-sauce glaze" or anything like that. But it was Good. Very mildly spicy, I'd say. But then, I like straight C&D Perique Long Cut and however much red pepper the recipe calls for in my stir fry, I double it.
I am going to leave the tin outside for a while, open, to see if the smell goes down a bit.
Full-bodied tobacco, with a creamy and cold smoke. It burns well from start to finish, even with the cut that is beautiful, but it is a problem for some pipes. Highly tasty. The combination of red virginias and burley generate an organic evolution of the smoke, like a symphony, as they appear differently at times while harmonizing at other times. Orientals are present from start to finish. There is a balance between earthy and woody notes in the first moments of the smoke, but floral notes are also present (from the orientals) and sometimes even cocoa/chocolate in (from the burley), while the virginias play the role of giving greater depth given the clear difference in burning between red and bright virginia. It made me feel notes of honey at times. Medium to strong nicotine. No tongue biting . It is undoubtedly among the royalty of Virginia-Burley-based blends. Grade 4.0 (for me), but I am not sure if is this a tobacco for everyone
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