|Again like Boxer, this review is entirely possible due to the kindness of Mo from South Africa.
First a bit of a story....
For many years members of my family were missionaries, in Papua and Africa mainly. I had an aunt who ran a school and medical mission just outside Bulawayu in what was then Rhodesia. She never married and the African children in her care were her life and she was utterly devoted to them. Sadly she was thrown out of the country when the regime changed, and the children lost the love and care of one of the most gentle Christian women I have ever known. However the point of this story is that she used to send home pipe tobacco to my father who really appreciated fine African grown blends...one of which was Jock. Named after the famous Jock of the bushveld, a dog who faithfully travelled with his master through southern Africa in the late 19th Century...this pipe tobacco was supposed to be a pipe smoker's friend along the same lines.
So...back to Mo's kind gift.
I love this tobacco; not just because of the story above, but because it really is one of the finest I have smoked.
It is a typical African grown blend. There are absolutely no common attributes to American grown blends as far as I can tell. On opening the plastic 100 gramme pouch you are greeted with a scent reminiscent of SG's FVF..but drier and more delicate...no Malawi tobacco here as far as I can tell. It does have a scent, unlike Boxer, but it's whispery...it teases your nose rather than surges at it.
It comes in a ready rubbed form of 3 colours I think and packs easily into the pipe. Not anywhere near as dry as Boxer, it still lights well with clouds of blue grey smoke. It burns gentle on the mouth, absolutely no roof of the mouth abrasion or tongue bite. There is complexity here, nowhere near as much as American virginia's, but you would not come to African tobacco's to find that anyway...maybe the climate is too hot for that to develop in the growing leaf; but I detect creaminess mixed with a vanilla like warmth. Its fleeting, but it is there.
Unlike Boxer, you can smoke it slowly..it will let you sip at it. That's one of this blend's many attributes...it's able to be contemplative and puffed through while you are out or working at some task. The room note is mild and pleasant enough and I've had no complaints at all.
As far as strength goes...I would imagine that our American cousins will find this pretty powerful stuff. I say that because American tobacco's all seem pretty mild to me and I can only imagine that as we Brits have been raised on African grown weed, we have got used to far more powerful varieties grown in the hot African sun than the USA Virginias. But to me, it's not strong at all.
To sum up...this is a superb tobacco. I would venture to say that it is better than almost ANY blend available in the UK today..some SG and G&H blends equal it (just about) but do not surpass it. Maybe it appeals to us UK smokers because it comes from the parts of Africa that historically supplied us with many fine tobacco's...but to the discerning pipester from the USA, it should give you the authentic, definitive experience of African tobacco at its very best.