|Verus amicus est tamquam alter idem - the Latin motto used to be the most attractive part of the Borkum Riff range. In the new incarnation the Latin is gone, and the pride of place occupied by the heraldic lions rampant has been taken by a ship. The tobacco is now made in Denmark.
I was gifted three of the new range over last Christmas. The other two are Malt Whisky (the absence of the `e` indicating Scottish provenance) and Vanilla. The Champagne is not very evident. It is difficult to imagine how it could be evident. Just as well, since the lack of casing allows the taste of tobacco to come through. The tobacco taste is not particularly distinguished in any way, but nor is it execrable. This is a definite improvement over the previous range of Borkum Riff and would not make a bad introduction to mildly aromatic blends. Cautiously recommended.
|It seems the Borkum Riff range is now being blended in Denmark (unlike before, when blended in Germany). They have added at least one new blend: Scandinavian, which I eventually hope to review.
I recently bought a 50g. pouch of Champagne. It still is a very mild tobacco (basically, like all others in the BR range, a Virginia/Burley mixture), with that semi-ribbon, semi-shag cut, and a rather low moisture level, meaning it's a tobacco that if smoked too avidly it can lead to a sever case of tongue bite. But there is a noticeable improvement in the flavor department.
In my opinion the taste in the new Danish version is rounder, mellower and more refined. I get a stronger tobacco flavor in this version than in its previous rendering (i.e., this seems to be a topped tobacco, rather than a cased one), with a darker register at the end of the bowl. Though you can perceive a certain "bubbly" wine flavor, the taste is closer to real tobacco. I don't know if they changed the Va/Burley proportions, or if the Burley used is of a stronger variety, but I get a more defined Burley presence in these mixtures than before.
As with the new Whiskey version, I don't feel the aroma is as pungent as it used to be. In fact, it provides a very nice and enticing room note; one, at least, that doesn't linger on your nostrils or palate, and it doesn't pervade in the pipe. Except for the Cavendish varieties (specially the Cherry blend), Borkum Riff tobaccos were never too goopy. This is a quality you also find in the new version.
Without being an extraordinary tobacco (Borkum Riff still is a drug store/airport brand), there is quite an improvement in the Danish rendering of this and other BR blends. . So, if you don't mind a slightly aromatic and very mild smoke, give this one a try (specially if just picking up a pipe). I don't think you will be disappointed.
|The first few smokes with this tobacco were really disappointing. Among any other things there was a prevailing "stingy" taste (that now I know to be a Borkum Riff's trademark), while the champagne taste was completely absent or not-recognizable. With time it improved a bit, giving sweet notes (probably from the Virginia component, and some (rare) puff that vaguely reminded champagne. Overall, this tobacco confirms the extremely light topping of Borkum Riff series (a good thing for many smokers, not for me)and their tendency to "sting" with Burley. Not completely bad, but for sure not interesting for me.