|I had not tried any of the earlier annual editions submitted by W.Ø. Larson, and so I am unable to compare this to them. The first thing that I was struck by when I opened the tin was the dryness of the tobacco. Not that it was dried out, but it was not as moist as comparable tobaccos (say, Erik Nording's contributions). The tin required no airing at all. The tobacco packs intuitively, with no required adjustments for burning characteristics. It smokes effortlessly, and by that I mean to say that it lights well, and burns evenly and completely, leaving a light powdery ash. The taste is mildly sweet, especially compared to the very sweet room note. This tobacco does make a wonderful cleaner smoke. By this I mean, you might puff a pipe or two in a room after a night of poker with the guys to make the cigar odors left behind more palatable to those less enlightened to the pleasures of cigar smoking.
I do agree that this tobacco is not a standout blend from the standpoint of originality, but I have found that every thing it tries to do, it does well. It is a quality tobacco that I enjoy smoking emmensely. When this tin is done, I will not hesitate to replace it.
|This is my fourth year of experiments with Larsen's annual edition tobacco.
2009 edition was frankly discouraging, because its red fruit flavoring was overwhelming albeit pleasant during the first minutes. 2010 was absolutely exquisite: a wonderful, if unbelievable, aroma of petals and butter. 2011 was quite OK: a slightly above average vanilla offering, subtle and satisfying.
2012 is, unfortunately, nondescript. It doesn't taste bad. It isn't neither lacking nor overburdened with nicotine. It isn't tarry, nor does it bite. But it doesn't deliver the zest of 2010, nor the discrete pleasure of 2011. Heck, it doesn't even present a centesimal fraction of 2009's overwhelming flavor!
I am not displeased with this years Larsen's edition offering: I'll smoke the tin's content to the end, because it is not bad and because its a piper's way of saluting the new year. But contrarily to previous editions, I won't be buying a second one. Maybe 2013 will bring us a better edition.
Meanwhile, I've noticed that now that W.Ø. Larsen belongs to Scandinavian Tobacco Group, some small but significant changes have been made to its marketing propositions. It no longer claims to be the "Purveyor of the Royal Danish Court"; the actual crown of Denmark on top of the logo has been replaced by a fantasist, generic one; and the tag line "Premium Pipe Tobacco" has disappeared altogether. These changes have also affected the other blends of this brand. At the same time, it seems to me that the other blends, such as 1864, have also lost some intensity in their flavorings. I hope this is not the beginning of a downward product placement of WØL that will cheapen its quality.