A connoisseur's natural blend of Virginia and Curly Cut, with Perique and Syrian Latakia to enhance the taste but not overwhelm. Round, full flavor for sophisticated pipe smokers, yet a pleasant, classical "tobacco shop" aroma.
The potent spice, earth, wood, plums and raisin/fig aspects of the perique elevate it to the lead spot. The grassy, hay-like, bready, lightly floral, tart and tangy citrusy, lightly acidic, very spicy Virginia is a secondary player. The smokey, woody, earthy, lightly wine-like, dry Syrian Latakia is a supporting component, but at times, it is a little more than that, especially by the half way point. I also sense a slight soda note. The strength, nic-hit and taste levels are medium. Has a few rough edges. Don't puff it too fast or it may get a little warm and tingly on your tongue. Burns clean at a moderate pace with an inconsistent, sweet, spicy, campfire flavor. Leaves virtually no moisture in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste, and stronger, tolerable room note. Not quite an all day smoke.
Update 7-23-2020: In the 2001-2004 period when I originally smoked this blend, the Syrian was a little more prominent than it is in the 2017 version I am currently smoking. Here, in 2020, the formula has been changed again. The tin description now states that it has black cavendish and burley (with a delicate walnut flavor), and of course, Cyprian Latakia has replaced the Syrian. Perique is no longer a component. Compensating for it is a potently spicy dark burley, which also offers earth, wood, a light floral note, and nuts. The spice content gives it the lead in this new mixture. Also, there’s a lighter burley that provides nuts, earth, wood, and a touch of molasses. It’s just above being a condiment. The grassy, hay-like, bready, lightly floral, tart and tangy citrusy, lightly acidic, very spicy Virginia is a secondary player. The smokey, woody, earthy, lightly musty, sweet Cyprian Latakia is a supporting component, but at times, it is more than that, especially by the half way point. The unsweetened black cavendish is not very noticeable as it helps tame some of the rough edges. The strength is a couple of rungs below the medium threshold. The nic-hit is just below the strength aspect in terms of effect. The taste is just short of the medium level. Has a few rough edges. Won’t bite or get harsh, and burns cooler, and less tingly than the older manufactures. Burns clean at a moderate pace with an inconsistent, sweet, mildly spicy, nutty, campfire flavor. Leaves virtually no moisture in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a pleasant short lived after taste, and stronger room note. Can be an all day smoke. The strength, flavoring, taste, room note and rating marks are for the current version.
Again, I'm not really a English smoker and only like English blends with very little (syrian) Latakia in it. So again take this review with a grain of salt, as I'm not to versed on English blends with Latakia. But on my last visit at Peter Heinrichs I've felt like grabbing a sample of this. Curly Cut...Perique...just very little syrian(!) Latakia...what could go wrong?
Well...nothing! This blend is quite a pleasant surprise to me and I enjoy it a lot. Sticking my nose into the sample baggie, I perceive a lot of Latakia, which first scared me, but the fear was for no reason after I smoked it. Woodsy, dry and smoky notes from the Latakia, underscored with little sourness from the Perique. A tad of sweetness in the back.
The Curly Cuts are intriguing, mostly brown with some black speckles in them. Brown- and bright brown to yellow leaf dominates the apperance of this tobacco, and only very little black speckles are in it.
First light reveals that this blend contains a little more Latakia than I'm used to, but not too much that it would turn me off, like "full grown" English blends with high Latakia amount would. The Latakia instantly offers a creamy, almost buttery smoky, woodsy, sour and dry aroma and gives body to the blend. The Perique is barely detectable and only sports a slight (pleasant) sourness that's in the back underscoring the Latakia very well along with minor fruity notes of figs. Virginias are more prominent and offer citrusy-sweetness, and a bit of grassiness. It almost feels like there are Oriental leafs in it, but I guess that's the interplay of Latakia and Perique creating a dry, sour and woodsy aroma. It has decent (also slightly peppery) spice to it, which makes it a nice treat after a good meal!
Pleasantly mellow, with the Latakia taking more of a backseat as the bowl progresses. I'd describe this blend as "mild English" and a nice entree-level blend for pipe smokers who want to dig into English/Latakia blends. Pretty similar to Motzeks "Old Curly Mixture" - not only because both contain Curly Coins in it.
I actually enjoyed this blend a lot and by times I'll pick up a tin of it I guess! Confused by the rather low ratings, I'll give this a 3.5/4 stars rating to support this lovely (both in taste and appearance/craftsmanship) blend and say: "Hey...this is a delicious smoke! Go try it if you can!"
This blend may not be at the top of my list of blends to smoke, yet it is still worthy. The spicy treatment of the Virginia dominates the the experience and requires a slow smoke to avoid bite. Still, this is a multi-dimensional blend with soft contributions by the Perique and Syrian leaf. I found the addition of a small amount of Dubeck to be beneficial in moderating the sharp character of the bright Virginia and bringing out it's rich expression reminicient of a more Red Virginia taste. A stronger Syrian presence would be more rewarding... The full flavor develops as the bowl is smoked in a slow climax. The more I smoke it, the better I like it. Subtle nuances in this blend take patience to notice. Is it a great blend? No, but it's good.
Presentation: Unabashedly simple. Something about it draws me to it. And of course it comes in the "paint can" like tin.
Cut: Comes as a thick ribbon cut with some small coins in there as well. Objectively, I'd say this a touch drier than just right, although it IS just right for me.
Tin note: I'm not the best with my nose, but I detect a musty, fruity, sweetness.
Tasting notes: Slight sweetness (both grassy and fruit on varying puffs) and a moderate woody note on the draw followed by a good amount of spice on the finish. Some puffs I get just a light smoky note. This blend is more mellow as a whole, but also more spicy than No. 39. It might just be me, but this blend might bite you a bit.
Mechanics: Although the blend was not moist, it did not stay lit as easy as I expected it to. Be sure to rub out the coins to help it burn better. Sip this blend! Or else your tongue might pay the price...
Extra Remarks: I tend to like full flavor blends more than more mellow blends. Although this did not quite meet my preference, it is a solid blend. 3 stars.
Pipe Used: Bent Apple Meer, Reverse Calabash Author Meer
Well-blended Virginia with a hint of Latakia. Did not notice the Perique. As the advertisement states, the Latakia will not overwhelm you and stays well in the background. Burns mild and clean. Not a bad blend, not a great one either, considering what I paid for it, will probably not try it again as I do not think it worth the price. However, I do like it better than MacBaren?s Virginia Latkia blend as at least the Orientals are noticeable.
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