I normally smoke VA flakes but received a sample of this blend and decided to add my comments. This is a mix of wide ribbon cuts with >50% having been chopped. Color ranges from golden to black. I sensed a light Latakia taste but mainly felt the influence of the high % of Turkish. Reminded me of the flavors of some of the imported cigarettes that I smoked in my youth. Easy to light and burns evenly and cool without any hint of bite. Even this quality tobacco has not converted me to English blends as a steady smoke. However, if you enjoy them, give this one a try.
"Ithaca" is the name of a pretty little town in upstate New York, a gun company that used to make good fowling-pieces, and of course, Odysseus' home in Greece, toward which he meandered for a decade while his wife, Penelope, patiently fended off suitors and unstitched her sewing each night.
"Ithica" is the name of a pleasant chopped ribbon tobacco produced by the good folks at Clan Shaw. Although I like the tobacco, I want to fix the spelling on the pouch each time I see it.
Ithica looks to be a mixture of bright Virginia, Orientals, and Latakia. It smokes smoothly with a mild sweetness, a light Latakia taste, and a bit of Virginia snap. It burns well, and is a markedly relaxing smoke with moderate nicotine. If not kept fairly moist, however, the taste can become ashy and bitter, almost astringent. This is a tobacco that seems quite different as I smoke it in different pipes. In all the pipes I have tried, though, it always smokes cool and burns to a fine grey ash.
Pouch Aroma: The aroma of this tobacco in the pouch is surprisingly delicate for a Latakia blend. It?s earthy with just a hint of the smokiness from the Latakia. The combination of the Turkish and Virginia give it an aroma that hints at sweetness rather than the usual ?horse bedding? aroma so associated with this type of Turkish-inclusive English blend.
Appearance: Mostly medium cut leaves, with a few ribbons and smaller pieces here and there, this tobacco seems to be equal parts black brown and tan tobaccos, with some golden highlights evident. Packing is no chore. Right from the pouch, this tobacco is the perfect moisture for smoking.
Initial flavor: The Virginia is evident in the first light. The Latakia is here as well, but it is restrained and somewhat delicate. As the tobacco gets going, the Turkish tobaccos begin to weave their way into the flavor, adding a dry and earthy counterpoint to the Virginia.
Mid bowl: I let the bowl go out at the mid-way mark, and a re-light brings no surprises. The flavor is full, with a good interplay between all to components. The smoky Latakia continues to chime a delicate and well-behaved note against the sharpness of the Virginia and earthy note of the Turkish. Exhaling through the nose brings about a very subtle nuttiness. The tobacco burns slowly and the pipe stays cool.
Finish: As with any good English blend, this tobacco continues to develop nicely all the way to the bottom. No surprises here, just a deepening and melding of flavors, becoming just a bit astringent as the tobacco burns all the way down to a dark gray ash, leaving no dottle.
Summary: This is a good-quality English blend along the lines of Dunhill?s ?Durbar.? Full of flavor and never boring, I would recommend this to any English smoker. Despite its high quality, it is also very reasonably priced. It is a very nice smoke right out of the bag, and a little aging could only bring about good things.
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