|Appearance: I see all shades in this blend, but the darker leaf is dominant. It appears to be about 50% dark, 40% reddish/brown, and 10% lighter leaf. The cut is sort of random length, medium width ribbon.
Aroma: The aroma is magnificent, the classic full bodied English aroma. It reminds me of GLP Raven?s Wing, Hermit Night Watch and Ashton Old Dog (although the Old Dog has a sweet edge to it), lots of Latakia and Turkish on a base of Red Virginia and Black Cavendish, I don?t notice the Perique in the tin aroma.
Packing: Packing is easy in medium to large bowls, probably would be fine in small bowls, but for me this is a Group 4 and up type smoke. Like the tobaccos I compared it to, it seems to benefit from a lighter than average touch.
Lighting: As it came from the can, it?s probably just right for most smokers, but a touch moister than my ideal. After airing it for just a few minutes, it lights readily and burns easily. Sometimes the charring light is all it needs.
Initial flavor: The initial flavor is rich and mellow, with no component tobacco hogging the spotlight. They all contribute something to the experience, which is extremely pleasurable. Like a great stew, all the ingredients are present, nothing is drowned out.
Mid-bowl: As it continues down toward the middle of the smoke, you can really appreciate the artistry of the blend. Although it?s quite full flavored, it has subtle complexities of smoky, spicy, nutty and natural sweetness, all mellowed by the Cavendish. Cool, dry and smooooth.
Finish: Too soon, even in a large pipe. Not that it burns fast, but that you wish it could go on much longer. No moisture in the bottom of the pipe, no bite on the tongue. If not careful, you may suck a bit of the gray ash into your mouth.
Tried in the following pipes: Several large billiards (Tilshead, Tinsky, Dunhill) and a medium Sasieni pot.
Summary: An excellent afternoon to evening blend (probably too rich for all day) for the Latakia fan. A masterful blending of high quality tobaccos into something unique and charming. A tip of the hat to Walter for developing it, and to Craig Tarler for producing it.
Particularly liked: The packing, the lighting and burning qualities, the flavor and the smoothness.
Particularly disliked: Only the size of the can. This is the same can that Greg Pease?s tobaccos come in. It?s too narrow to get your fingers into it. Also, I wish it were 4 oz. instead of 2.