I can think of a dozen or two other Latakia blends I would prefer to this strictly by-the-numbers one. A rather rough finish, with a salty undertaste. Weak at the bottom too. Since I am not convinced that aging does anything to tinned pipe tobacco, I cannot say that putting this aside will round out its rather raw-boned character. I really wanted to like it. I just don't.
I recently visited a tobacco shop while travelling and found a tin of JBR's Monarch for only $5.00. So, I brought it home, having never heard of it and curious to find out more. I opened the tin to a very pungent latakia heavy aroma, I had high hopes. Once lit the latakia must have sneaked out of the bowl when I wasn't looking. It had almost no latakia flavor, but I swear it was in the tin!
This turned out to be a very middle run English and I can see no reason to ever purchase it again, there are way too many great English blends to bother with blandness.
This blend seems to be from the house of Mc Clelland which means that it will be of High Quality. It reminds me of "Frog Morton", "Old Dog", "Chesdin Mixture", but still has enough of a little twist in the flavor to distinguish it from the others. My can was from 1-13-2001 so this review may differ from "fresher" tins. Upon opening of the tin, you are greeted by a medium-short cut of mostly dark leaf with an occassional mohagany and yellow leaf peaking out here and there. The leaf will benefit from airing as it is a little moist. After airing, packing and lighting are easy with two lights enough to get you to the end of the bowl.Initial flavor is of a good, smooth "English" blend. About mid-bowl you taste two distinct flavors: Some turkish condimental leaf which spices things up nicely and some topping or casing that did not sit well with me (It gave me heartburn!!!). Toward the bottom of the bowl, this casing goes into the background (Thank God!) and your finish is fairly smooth. This is a good blend but is not exceptional. At $11.50 a tin, save your money and buy bulk "Margate" or "Penzance". As I smoke more, I am more convinced that a beginner can start with a exceptional blend and learn its nuances rather than spend a lot of money on this type. All in all, this is a better blend than many tobacconist's "bulk" blends, but not enough for me to come back to. Rating 3 out of 5 points. Enjoy...
Monarch is a good English blend that has somewhat of a unique hint of flavor that is difficult to describe. The tobacco is somewhat coarsely cut, but packs, lights and burns well. It is fairly middle of the road as English blends go in terms of strength and aroma. I recommend this tobacco for a try because it is somewhat different in flavor, but be advised that it is on the expensive side, retailing for around $11 for 50g.
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