|Occasionally, I get the opportunity to travel into Birmingham, England, to visit my 'local' tobacconist of note and grab a few decent ales in the local establishments, under the guise of serious shopping with the missus. I'm usually confined to web orders as far as pipe tobacco goes, so I use the opportunity to pluck a few items that pique my interest, in the comfort of seeing them firsthand.
Having succeeded in getting more or less what I came for (a few aromatics to break in a new Big Ben I'm devoting to the cause - as a change of pace following a couple of months with more serious English blends), I doubled back to procure a pouch of this Amaretto blend that had caught my eye as something I'd not seen online.
As pouches/tins go, the design really only has the word "Amaretto" going for it, because it's god-awful. It comes across as a cheaply made tobacco, but first impressions were surprisingly favourable, with a bold, Almond-Amaretto scent and a colourful rubbed mixture of darker Burleys and brighter Virginias to arrest the senses. Indeed, the pouch notes are quick to inform us that they use "genuine Italian Amaretto" as a topping. It's about as faithful as an aromatic tobacco can come.
The mixture very light and it's difficult to pack it too densely. A false lighting was easy, but the first mouthful was pretty bland with a cigarette-like quality and I was ready to be disappointed. Then it seemed to get interesting, when fully aroused. That bold Amaretto flavour from the pouch becomes a lot milder, making this quite a gentle smoke. The Virginia's keep it light, and every now and again you get a nice shot of steeped Burley, which makes it interesting. Get halfway through the bowl and this becomes less of an Amaretto and more of a sweet, toasted sugar, which is rather pleasing. The latter is a lot more noticeable should you need to re- light your pipe. The room note is equally as pleasing, and unlike drinking a real Amaretto, when you reach the point where it can become way too sickly, this actually holds the balance rather well.
I suppose you really have to like Amaretto as a flavour, before you purchase this, but there's enough here for someone who prefers an all-round mildly sweet smoke that's not heavily cased and that doesn't burn to a stickly mess. If you're more into natural tobaccos, then steer well clear. Likewise, if you are expecting a potent almond flavour and a rich aromatic, you may well be disappointed. However, if you're into aromatics and like a nice dessert-worthy 'baccy, aside a sweet, milky coffee or a liquer, then this will more than suffice. Perfect for those who like Dutch blends like Troost Aromatic Cavendish, methinks.
Love it or hate it, you be the judge. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised -especially given such a mild tobacco.
IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE REGARDING BLENDS:
This tobacco has left me baffled as to where to really place it within these reviews, as it appears to fall under two brands. Purchased in the UK, my pouch is a German blend, made by Pöschl Tabak and under license from Golden Blend Tobacco Co. Inc. If the tasting notes on the website are correct, then I can only deduce that it's a re-badged version of the Exclusiv brand of the same name. Herein, I'll also be posting under the Exclusiv Amaretto review section. Presently, I'm unable to cross- reference this European Golden Blend against the versions sold in the US.