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A traditional English mixture of Virginia and Turkish, combined with a substantial proportion of latakia.

Notes: Originally blended in England.

Manufactured ByKohlhase & Kopp
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging50 grams tin
ProductionCurrently available
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (833)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Predominately black in color and kind of a choppy ribbon cut, with a very enticing latakia aroma in the tin. It loaded better when I rubbed it out a little and it tasted best on the drier side but not close to crispy (although crispy was much better than at tin moisture!).

I've had this in my cellar for a couple of years and was put off my the poor reviews here. Once again, the danger of relying on reviews rears its head, as I was concerned over nothing. This blend starts out as a typical heavy latakia blend for about the first dozen puffs or so. Then the Orientals chime in with a kind of sour tang and lightly spicy essence. Then come the Virginias. Nice Virginias! They add a pleasant buttery sweetness that, while well underneath, add the perfect counterpoint to the overall spicy and zesty blend - just enough to keep this one from going overboard into dustiness and murk. I don't know that I'd call this a Full mixture, at least if the latakia dosage is the determining factor. This is heavily flavorful and bold, but I'd put it more at Medium-Full. Certainly there are other blends out there if all you want to taste is latakia. This one is a nice marriage of latakia, oriental and Virginia, with each component doing its part, and the latakia front and center. This is a mixture! At the high end of 3 stars for me, but not quite 4. I will likely pick up a few more tins and smoke this occasionally going forward, even while it doesn't supplant the heavy hitters in my latakia rotation (mostly GL Pease blends). If you're interested in this sort of thing, don't let the reviews deter you. Give it a try! I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Age When Smoked: 2 years

6 people found this review helpful.

Exedwardsguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Exedwardsguy (11)
Medium to Strong Strong Full Tolerable

This tobacco is a staple for me. I find it has the characteristics of other full english blends with the added bonus, if you like it, of a rather pure virginia base, void of perique. Kind of like Germain's "Special Latakia Flake" only rubbed out, dried out, and much richer in Latakia.

The tin aroma is really nice and the cut is easy to pack and light. When I first tried it I expected something like "Black Mallory", but found it a little tangier, stronger, and better balanced.

Give yourself a treat and try it in a meerschaum. The flavor is much more complex and intriguing when smoked in the coral. Taken with a dram of Laphroaig or a cup of Souchong it is hard to beat on a cold wet night! Briar or meerschaum, good stuff - highly recommended.

5 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Strong flavor -- very rich. A palate pleasing wad of stout tobacco that lets you know you've had a smoke. I like this a lot.

Latakia heavy? Perhaps, but in a way that soothes rather than irritates. I'm not sure what the bonus leaf is in this blend, but it is of fine quality. Perhaps it is some sort of Turkish leaf that produces a natural flavor enhancer for the Latakia.

I do not smoke this regularly because I do not enjoy Latakia on a regular basis. But, this stuff might just make a Latakia lover out of me yet.

Very highly appreciated!

5 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable

I, too, do not consider this a full, English blend. A99RTL did nothing to excite my palate: I found it much too light, mild, flat and with marginal taste. It was not enjoyable. This is a ?Royal Boring? smoke. It needs to be ramped up. After reading the previous reviews, there evidently is a distinct difference between the original Astley?s 99 and the current K&K version. Nothing is as constant as change. And this change took a turn south.

A cigarette is to be smoked. A cigar is to be enjoyed. A pipe is to be savored.

I rate this blend 4.0 out of 10.

4 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1608)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Astley's - No.99 Royal Tudor.

I'll begin with the opening: it's of a great water amount so can be smoked straight out of the tin. And once it's lit I really enjoy this one! There appears to be a high proportion of Latakia judging by the look of the blend. This was what lead me to expect your standard Lat-Bomb but that's not the case.

This isn't anywhere near as Lat' strong as I was expecting. It doesn't come over as potently/harsh as it often can; it's slightly smoky and woodsy but not bitter or acrid. As well as this flavour I also get quite a clear taste from the Orientals. These, I feel, outweigh the Virginia a fair bit.

The burn from this is quite even but it does require the occasional re-light if it's not puffed regularly enough. Simple, it's not one to neglect!

I get a medium nicotine amount from No.99, just about perfect for everyone probably!

I feel that the Latakia is a little heavier at the beginning of a bowl, after about ten minutes it chills out a little and allows the other tobaccos to come through more; especially the Oriental/Turkish.

This, for me, is a spectacular blend. It's tasty, of a good strength and bite free.

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Peterson Kinsale XL12

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: The Danish Pipe Shop

3 people found this review helpful.

littlefield Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
littlefield (16)
Medium None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Strong

Call me an insecure and superficial sucker for impressions, marketing or history, but I wanted to try something that was in some way connected to the glory days of English pipe smoking and Jermyn Street, in the heart of St James's, one of London's most historic and fashionable districts. The name "Astley's No.99 Royal Tudor Full Latakia Mixture" just oozes exclusivity and elitist tradition. It seems this tobacco may have be an excellent choice 2005 or earlier but then went downhill from there - unless the reviews from 2005 or earlier on this page aren't to be trusted which is unlikely. Perhaps there is hope for this tobacco with some aging, but as it is out of the tin you are going to smoke tobacco that tastes like smoke. Not smoked lamb, smoked salmon or smoked unicorn but tastes like smoked smoke. The fragrance of this tobacco unsmoked in the tin is outstanding. The tobacco has since moved to a glass jar, but the tin is still saturated with the wonderful fragrance of this tobacco blend. The room-note smoked is nothing like the rich unsmoked fragrance and was closer to the flavor which is (drumroll) smoke. As for the latakia or virginia, I couldn't make out any distinctions and some of that may be due to my inexperience of parsing tobacco leaf types, but even as I sipped the pipe and tried to keep smoke to a minimum, had an urge to quit right there and immediately brush my teeth. Spoiled with so many brands and blends keep looking elsewhere.

Vendor: Pipes and; Time between purchase and opening: 3 months; Storage: glass jar; Pipe: Dr. Plumb bent brandy with Vauen 9mm filter; Environment: Tropical

3 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A very good English. Latakia and Orientals fairly well balanced atop a base of nice Virginias. I could smoke this every day, all day, if I had to, but I don't have to. I found nothing that makes it stand out in the crowded field of English blends available. I also found nothing wrong with it. This is well worth trying. You may be able to find something special here for you.

Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

3 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2136)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Smokey, woody, mildly sweet Cyprian latakia with no harshness is the star here, ably assisted by the spice, dryness and wood from the Turkish and Orientals. The citrusy, grassy Virginia mainly acts as a cooling base for the other components. It's not a lat-bomb, though it's not too far from that territory. The latakia seems to lose just a little force at times. The nic-hit is just past mild. Won't bite. Burns clean and cool at a reasonable pace, though the flavor can be inconsistent at times. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. The after taste is decent. Not an all day smoke. One drawback is that it's a bit too similar to other English blends, and even though it's a two and a half star blend, I rate it at two stars mainly because it doesn't stand out enough for three.

3 people found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (111)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Nice to see Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. keeping the names of these brands of alive; however, this one is not very close to the original at all, rather bland and somewhat insipid. It's not bad but not very good either, just okay.

If you're seeking the flavours, complexity, and memorable blends of yesteryear give Compton's a try. There you'll harken back to the older styles of Rattray's, Dunhill, Sobranie and more. Compton's are not trying to replicate particular blends or brands, simply excellent tobacco execution. Expensive yes, but worth it as a treat or something special. Kind of like favourite recordings, one does not want to listen to them too much, becoming overly familiar.


2 people found this review helpful.

Sasquatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Sasquatch (81)
Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

Well, maybe I don't know what a "Full English" mixture is. Maybe. But then again, maybe this is just harsh and boring. Latakia is overwhelmed by a burning Virginia base and an ashy taste similar to a bad bowl of Dunhill's Elizabethan (with none of the sweetness).

This smells and looks exactly like Rattray's Accountant's Mixture (also a Full English, apparently) but it is not as smooth, and where the Accountants has a harmonius sweet Va and Latakia mix, with basically nothing else going on, this Astley's has undertones of banana and of cloves, which at the top half of the bowl are delightful, and at the bottom, just disappear into a hard-edged smoke.

Anyway, what nuance this blend may once have possessed, K+K have produced a singularly unpleasant tobacco, genre aside. For a more interesting smoke, try Presbyterian or ACP Caledonian 466, both of which are NOT "FULL" Englishes, and both of which are far superior.

2 people found this review helpful.

preppypipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
preppypipe (57)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

A superb and traditional english blend.It's rich in flavor,but not at all over the top.I would compare it to a more refined and gentler "Nightcap".It's one of the nicest blends that I've tried in years and it's become my "go to blend" lately. I'm planning on buying a half dozen tins to add to my cellar.If you enjoy english blends,I suggest you do the same... ====Hightest Recommendation==== prep

2 people found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (132)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Of the approximately 25 premium lat. blends I have smoked to date this is hands down the worst of it. No way this is full blend. Med. at best. Smokey, a little creamy and sweet at times some musty notes here and there but largely just flat smoke. Then there is a very distinctive plastic taste that over rides most of the flat smokiness and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. I have tried this in 5 pipes. Cleaned them all smoked other blends in my current rotation which all smoke properly come back to this one and there is that plastic taste with some chemical notes as well. I will say that when I opened the tin the normal cardboard or paper cover was a high gloss paper which might be the issue. So those that smoke it ROTT might not have this issue. Those that want to age it should remove it from the tin and jar it. There is no reason for me to revisit. I am always wishing I loaded the bowl with something else.

Age When Smoked: 2 yrs 9 months

1 person found this review helpful.

CPT/VSG Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CPT/VSG (72)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

AStley's No. 99 is advertised as a "Full Latakia Mixture." I'm not sure "full" really fits but a decent amount of Latakia is evidence from the wonderful tin aroma and from observation. The ribbon cut is somewhat chunky but still burns well, without many relights. The Orientals are there and the toasted Virgina is in the background. In all, a nicely balanced English blend that does not overwhelm with Latakia. I've only smoked the K&K version; I imagine this blend was really something in the Jermyn Street days. In any event, while not a regular in my rotation, No. 99 is a fine English worthy of consideration.

1 person found this review helpful.

BriarPatch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BriarPatch (33)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Preface: I have been smoking Dunhill Standard Mixture Medium for near-on 30 years, believing that it has no equal anywhere on earth. But it is gone now, and so I begin a quest for my Holy Grail: A substitute to replace the standard on which all English tobaccos are based:

No.99 is very similar to 1830: Tin aroma is terrific and the first 1/4 or 1/3 of the bowl is very good. But after that both turn a bit harsh, and fail to develop interest and complexity. No. 99 is also packed too dry, and burns too fast, like Solani's 779. With all three, getting to the bottom of the bowl comes with frustration. Too quickly for No. 99 and 779, and all three leaving me unsatisfied, wanting more and feeling disappointed...

1 person found this review helpful.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

First review (the original Astley's): great, great, great! Think of a Nightcap but just a little lighter and smoother, almost an all-day smoke, not so loaded with latakia as you might expect and perfectly balanced. A joy for English mixtures lovers.

Second review (the Kolhase&Kopp sold nowadays): dull, dull, dull. Nothing like the original one, the usual K&K blend with a different tin. See my reviews of Comoy's English mixture or Banker's or Robert Lewis 123.

Two stars for the nice quality leaf and for the memory of what it used to be.

1 person found this review helpful.

stoic066 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
stoic066 (7)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

I have been smoking No. 99 for a while. It sure is Wayne Gretzki of latakia blends. The smell upon openning is not overwhelming like in some other full latakia blends. It lights up easily and relights are rare. No99 is very smooth without any particular type of tobacco dominating the blend. I do not detect any artificial flavouring while smoking it,but smellof freshly open can may indicate one. If you leave the can open for some time it evaporates without trace. In summary it is The Great(tobacco) like the hockey player. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

dprovons Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dprovons (11)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Astley's #99 has become a surprise favorite of mine. Usually, I go to Esoterica's Penzance for my evening Latakia cravings, but lately I've been picking up this tin of #99 more and more (and not just in the evenings). I bought a tin on the recommendations on this messageboard, but didn't open it right away. Instead, I popped open a tin of Presbyterian Mixture (bought on the same day) because that was the blend I wanted to like. And I did. But not as much as the Astley's. In fact there is not much I do like more than Astleys #99. It has more taste than the Presby Mixture (and it is a wonderful taste) and doesn't seem prone to tongue bite and smokes at a nice medium pace (not too fast or too slow). It finishes well (no penalty for relights, though there shouldn't be many anyway) and leaves a nice grayish-white ash. The moisture and cut are perfect (to me) and very easy to use. I just get a feeling of absolute highest quality when I handle this stuff.

As I said, I didn't set out to make Astley's my favorite English blend, I just sort of reached for it more and more until I had to admit that if I could only have one tobacco of it's type, it would be the Astley's. That's about the highest compliment I could pay a tobacco blend. Very highly recommended!

1 person found this review helpful.

BostonPipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
BostonPipe (83)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

This was my first foray into the Astley blends. Quite by accident. My wife was in Boston shopping and due to her guilt regarding her purchases, stopped by my tobacconist, L.J. Peretti's to pick me up a "little" something, (bless her heart, and "Thanks" Steve, lol).

Well, I was delighted. I found the proportions to be near perfect and it is an exceptionally smooth, satisfying smoke. Cool burning, no wet dottle at the end, just a really nice sit back and enjoy it kind of smoke. It burned to a fine grey ash.

Although I usually do not enjoy blends with this much Latakia, there is something about the overall construction of this blend that makes it O.K. Actually more than O.K.

I can't wait for my wife's next shopping spree.

1 person found this review helpful.

RCUSElder Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
RCUSElder (244)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is another stop in the "English" lanscape for me and just as if one was really travelling, you find stops that you DO want to spend more time in. In this blend, you are greeted by a medium ribbon-cut that has a delicious tin aroma, with the fragrance of the virginia in the forefront. Moisture is perfect, packing is easy. Lighting is quick with two relights max. Initial flavor is of sweet virginia with the condimental leaves giving an excellent backbone. This is what a medium "English" blend should be. It is not as full or complex as "Margate" but it has the advantage of not blasting you with nicotine like the medium Dunhill blends(London Mixture, Medium Mixture, 965, Durbar, etc). You can smoke this all day without tiring and your tongue is not the worse for it. About mid-bowl a nice interplay comes in with the "Latakia" and "Turkish" raising their tasty heads. Bottom of the bowl builds to a quick crescendo of flavor and then your done, with a fine,dry, and grey mottled ash left. This is a very good blend just shy of excellent. I definitely recommend it to all you "English" fanciers and I will definitely keep this around. Rating 4 out of 5 Points. Enjoy

1 person found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (302)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

I don?t know if I did wrong, but a couple of hours after smoking a bowl of Crown Achievement I went on to smoke a bowl of Astley?s No 99 Full Latakia Mixture. They both are, after all, full Latakia concoctions. But the over all impression after smoking a bowl of each is that Astley?s is really something special and unique. I think it was ?Bear? who argued that after the house of Pease, Astley?s is currently the most consistent blender. I agree. This blend is premium quality and, IMO, one of the best full English blends I have smoked in years!

It is a strong, rich blend, not unlike the Crown, but perhaps smokier and with a better de-fined tobacco structure, probably because there is no Cavendish leaf in it. Easier to light and pack, it has a subtler and more intriguing taste, covering a wider range of flavor registers; where the Crown is almost overwhelmingly mo-notonous (in that sweet rich bitterness that can become rather cloying), Astley?s remained supple, crisp, and elegant. In any case, definitely livelier. It has a pronounced depth?as if you were actually smoking the lower range of notes produced by a cello?but it never ceases to be melodious, producing a grave and severe friendliness. Should this blend carry some Pèrique it could very well stand up to Dunhill?s Nightcap.

The mixture is visually very attractive. Ribbon cut, and rather moist, the jet black strands mark a striking contrast with the light brown and almost golden leaf. Tin aroma is less pun-gent and aggressive than other tobaccos of similar strength and make. Not as powerful as many Balkan type of blends (it does not have that mineral earthliness of Sobranie, Caravan or even London Mixture), it can nevertheless hold its own within the English mixtures range. I would even go as far as to say this is somewhere in between My Mixture 965 (stronger, even richer) and Nightcap. A great English experience, for the evening or as a mid day smoke in those cold wintry days. Highly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

provguy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
provguy (52)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I just tried my first tin of Astleys tobacco #99 Royal Tudor Full Latakia. This is the first Astleys tobacco I have tried and am very impressed. I have to admit smoking this blend reminds me most of Dunhill, somewhere in between London Mixture and Standard Mixture. But it is not exactly like Dunhill and is also most enjoyable and smooth. It is a very fine blend and have to admit that this could easily become my staple daily latakia blend. No bite, good flavor and burns nicely. Was very easy to light and keep lit. I have not finished the tin so I cannot expound too much. Excellent blend 31/2 to 4 stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

Brother K Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Brother K (7)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

This tin was given to me by a friend and it was good but not something I will buy myself probably. Nothing was bad about it but nothing mad it stand out either.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LatakiaLover Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LatakiaLover (5)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

Since SR's text editor doesn't handle cut-and-paste very well, here is a link to a full review published elsewhere in the online tobacco world: (the "not recommended" rating is explained in detail.)

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pipe-arazzo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe-arazzo (71)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant

I cannot say anything about this tobacco that has not already been said, except to agree that it is fantastic, perhaps the best English I have tried. Go buy some now!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Le Fumeur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Le Fumeur (10)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This English blend is wonderful. The smokiness of the Latakia is quite detectable to the nose unlit, but while smoking, not overpowering at all. The overall impression is English. There is really no detectable tongue bite. This particular blend, pitched as a "Full Latakie Blend" but not really, could have been overpowering, but it is delightfully smooth and complex.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

thedstnguishdgntlmn Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
thedstnguishdgntlmn (360)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is a superb blend! Although,I must say it is not a full English.This is J.F.Germain's King Charles taken up a couple of notches.The dominant flavor is virginia with the turkish providing a nice background.The Latakia is present but never overwhelming.It provides a sweet, dry,and rich smoke. A very good all day blend. This is what Dunhill aspires to be. Definitely worth a try. 3 of 4 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Thatcher Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Thatcher (58)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Opening the tin, I found that huge chunks of partially-rubbed-out Virginia flakes dominated the mixture. I was a very pretty mixture, but I worried that this didn?t bode well for a Latakia lover like myself. Upon lightup, it only took one puff to realize I?d have to be careful with this one to avoid tongue bite. The tin aroma is nice. Not the musty/leathery smell one expects when opening a Latakia mixture, but rather a nice, natural, Virginia sweetness.

The claim on the labels is that this is a ?full Latakia mixture.? To quote the hyperbole of attorney Lionel Hutz on the Simpsons: ?This is the most blatant case of false advertising since the film, ?The Never-Ending Story.?? Don?t be misled, this is a mixture primarily for those who like quality Virginias with a splash of Latakia. If that describes your tastes, then this seems like a natural choice. All the components, especially the rubbed-out flakes, are beautiful and high-quality leaf. I would definitely recommend this if EMP or Piccadilly is a regular in your rotation, and would probably rank it above those two in that genre.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Deleted Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Deleted Account (1280)
Extremely Mild Mild Mild Tolerable

This is probably my favorite medium to full English. As someone who is partial straight Virginias and Virginia/Perique blends, I tend to find blend overly heavy in Latakia rather distasteful-- I can appreciate them as good blends, but they just don't really excite me. Particularly heavy use of Latakia seems to just wash out other flavors too much for my liking. That pungent smokey flavor that I often enjoy in small quantities mutes other flavors in large quantities. I'm definitely of the school that believes Latakia to be a condiment or spice tobacco rather than a group in its own right.

Astley's No. 99 is about as heavy in latakia as I care to go. However, in light of my proclivities, that hardly puts it into a category that is at the upper limits of most smokers of English blends. If I had to guess on proportions, it would have to be: 25% Latakia, 15% Oriental/Turkish leaf and about 60% light and orange Virginias.

I'm sitting here smoking from probably my 10th tin of the blend in the last six months and I'm trying to determine what it is that keeps drawing me back. The first sniff from the tin suggest the obvious Latakia, but the other aromas of the Virginias are not muted (maybe it's just me, but I can rarely pick out orientals in tin aroma, not that they have a particularly distinctive aroma on their own...). They have a subtle sweetness as well as an interesting nuttiness, which is almost suprising. The nuttiness (which is more pronounced in Astley's #1 where there is less Latakia) seems almost out of place given the nature of the blend, but not in a bad way. The nutty aroma fits with the rest of the tin aromas and seems to tie the blend together during the smoking (see below). The tobacco in the tin is attractive, but no different from any other English blend where the alternating light browns and blacks play off each other in visual cacophany (am I the only one out there that finds tobacco blends intrinsically visually beautiful?)

The most immediate note upon first light is the Latakia. I find that the Latakia works most harmoniously with the Virginias and Orientals when smoked particularly slowly. If I smoke it too quickly, I seem to lose the balance that makes this blend superior to many Englishes in my mind. The hints of nuttiness (sort of an amorphous nuttiness, I can't peg it with a specific nut for a closer description) carries over to the smoking nicely. I'm not particularly sure where the nutty flavor comes from, but there may be some Carolina ribbon that in combination with the Virginias gives this slight note. There aren't any burleys here, which is what I usually associate with nutty tomes. Besides, it is a different, perhaps more subtle nuttiness than that that is associated with good burley blends. There is some sweetness from the Virginias, but the sweetness is just enough to complement the Latakia rather than conflict with it. The flavors seem to change little throughout the bowl, though perhaps the latakia becomes less pronounced in relation to the other flavors as the bottom nears.

All in all, it is a particularly good example of its genre. The tobacco is of very good quality, as I tend to find with blends currently produced by C&K. I've often thought of it as a version of the medium to heavy Dunhills, but one I actually like. I've never been a fan of Dunhill tobaccos and I don't know why. Something about them irritates me a little. The Astley's english blends seem to offer me similar emphasis on well-proportioned blending without whatever it is that bothers me about the Dunhills. (I really can't easily articulate it; I've only ever noticed it with Dunhill tobacco. Perhaps it is a body chemistry thing-- who knows.)

I don't give 'highly recommended' to many blends and this isn't one of them, perhaps because I tend to prefer Virginia blends. However, to my tastes, this is among the best, if not the best, medium to full English that I've ever tried.

Nobody has rated this review yet.