I'm not real good at identifying fruits (except a few of the human variety), and I'm not sure whether Raspberry is what I am tasting as I smoke City Lights. I am tasting the Virginia and it burns just a wee bit on the warm side, so, maybe I'm tasting toasted Raspberries. Not my cup of tea... er, Raspberries.
Like the other PCCA blends, this one is manufactured by McClelland. City Lights is one of their aromatic blends, and consists of a mixture of light and dark stoved virginias with a raspberry casing. No humectants are used.
When I first started pipes, I smoked those cherry and vanilla aromatics from the jars, but I quickly migrated to Latakia-heavy english blends. I still keep around a few pipes devoted to aromatics, and every now and then haul one out for a change of pace. And so it was that I popped a tin of PCCA's City Lights.
In comparison to jar blends, this tobacco is a wonder. Yes, it's been sauced, and yes, the saucing gives the tobacco a pinkish hue reminiscent of pistachio-dye. But the ribbons are nice thick virginia, roughly three parts bright to one part dark, and true to Bob's word there are indeed no humectants -- this stuff dries out just as quickly as my British Woods or Sobranie.
The tobacco loads easily, and doesn't seem to be too sensitive to packing. It lights as well as any other well-rubbed virginia, and burns cleanly to the bottom, leaving a dark gray ash. This blend smokes as dry as other virginia blends, which I suppose is to be expected given the lack of propylene glycol.
At first, the flavor is that of the raspberries, but the virginia quickly asserts itself, providing sweetness as well as complexity. The raspberry flavor subsides a bit (although it is always there, and remains strong in the aroma), replaced by a delicious nuttiness that I don't usually notice in virginia blends.
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