The Virginia is grassy, hay-like, tart and tangy citrus sweet with a slight honey note, and stands out beyond what else you will taste. All the toppings have a mild strength, with the mild molasses being more noticeable than the others. The Scotch/Drambuie is lightly, sweetly evident, and I don’t know what the “light botanical topping” is, but the slight floral essence from it adds a little complexity to the experience. The toppings moderately sublimate down the Virginia. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium. Won't bite or get harsh. Burns a little fast, but clean and cool with a very consistent flavor from top to bottom. Leaves virtually no moisture left in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a lightly lingering, pleasant after taste and room note. An all day work and play smoke.
Athey is a one of a kind blend! An all Virginia blend with an almost menthol effect from the honey and liquor (scotch/Drambuie). I've heard that there are multiple flavors from a complex series of casings/toppings/infusing, including aging in scotch barrels. The tobacco comes drier than most which means you get more per volume and you can add moisture as needed. You could call this a dual-purpose tobacco for pipes for cigarettes, but the stigma of the dreaded "cigarette" would not do this tobacco justice. Smoke it slow and it'll treat you right!
If you want an incredibly flavorful tobacco with an interesting cooling effect, then Athey is a must try. This is a big recommendation since I primarily smoke non-aromatic Latakia/Perique blends.
I do not like flavoured tobaccos of any kind. I don't judge others who do at all, just that personally I smoke tobacco for the tobacco flavours and subtleties, not for additive flavourings and toppings. However, I picked up a tin of this to try out of curiosity. It's an all Virginia blend flavoured with Drambuie (and a "botanical topping" of some kind) and I found it surprisingly enjoyable and delicious. A mild-medium Virginia blend with the extra kick in flavour from the Drambuie. The aroma from the tin is quite rich with the whisky/drambuie, but when smoked this flavour is a bit more subtle, mostly adding sweetness and a fruity quality to the Viriginia. Best enjoyed in a pipe of course, but I also dried it out a little more and blended it with some other straight flue cured Virginia and tried it in tubes, making a delightful cigarette. For that, however, I still mostly stick to blending their Blender's Bench Macedonian, Bursa, Yenidge and other orientals with some Ramback Gold and/or Penhooker and Windsail.
When I opened mine I imminently noticed a difference in comparison to a lot of the D & R's I've had. It wasn't completely parched of moisture; sure, a little dry, but not crispy! I see a few coarser ribbons, as well as mid-size ones. The nose is a little floral, and slightly sweet.
The flavour? Quite nice. The floral note pairs well with the camphoraceous, fragrant, Drambuie. However, any alacrity from these gets smoothed out by the sugary molasses addition. The Virginias are mild, sweet, and not too sharp; a 'laid back' characteristic. Not too bad, eh? The taste of the smoke isn't particularly poor, but the physical attributes let it down: it burns fast, hot, and gives my tongue more than just a peck!
Nicotine: a touch more than mild. Room-note: not terrible.
Athey? Hmmmm, sadly this isn't one for my cellar. Somewhat recommended:
Botanical indeed, might be even floral. I have the highest respect for Mark for the quality leaf he uses and the natural approach for his blends. Just to say this will not be something i would buy more of, but the flavoring is complex and odd to say the least. The virginia is of high quality however, unless dried up some to where you get rid of some of that casing/topping you will have hard time tasting the virginia. It burns cool and priced just right, but the taste is love it or hate it indeed. Very minty if smoked fresh, may be something to indulge in when you have congested sinuses. Al janabi
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