|I've been smoking through some of the offerings of G&H and this is by far the best I've had. Balkan Mixture was nice but quite monotone and the faintest hint of Lakeland toppings (baby powder?) seemed out of place. Scotch Mixture was too light and just lacked any interesting qualities. Mixture No. 25 is a very happy medium that has just the perfect suggestion of latakia along with very interesting Virginias and burley for body and fullness.
At first light this seems like it might be latakia heavy but that quickly fades into semi-sweet, earthy Virginias and a slightly nutty but full burley. Throughout the smoke the latakia feels quite distant and seems to only contribute a creaminess to the smoke along with whispers of salinity. This blend smokes very cool and has the faintest hint of Lakeland essence that I perceive as sweetness and baby powder freshness. As the blend smokes down the bowl I perceive more of the dark Virginias becoming a stronger presence and adding a burnt caramel taste that is intriguing. This is most certainly very high quality leaf.
The cut seems like a thin ribbon cut and it's not quite a shag. It burns easily to the bottom with minimal relights and leaves nothing but a fine ash and very little moisture. A most agreeable aspect to the blend if you base your contentment on such factors.
I find this blend strange in the fact that I usually reach for something with some punch and heaviness to it (e.g. C&D Purple Cow) but, although on the medium end of the spectrum, it satisfies and soothes. It truly does seem like an Arcadia experience and I have quickly ordered a large quantity of this for my cellar. My only caveat is that it will seem like you don't have nearly enough once you start smoking this fine mixture.
|This is an exceptionally good tobacco if you like English mixtures: a well-executed blend of Virginia, Burley and Latakia tobaccos, with the Latakia a clear presence, but by no means an overwhelming one. People who enjoy a touch of Latakia but don’t want it in large doses will probably prefer this to SG’s Commonwealth Mixture and G & H’s Balkan Mixture. The Virginia gives No. 25 Mixture a lot more ‘body’ than Balkan mixture has, I find.
More than anything, No. 25 Mixture reminds me of a tobacco that went west years ago: W.O. Bigg’s Exmoor Hunt Mixture. It's also remotely - though only remotely - like the long-lost and much lamented Craven Mixture. The smoke is cool and creamy, the flavour is full and uniform all the way down the bowl, and it won’t bite you. It’s not too moist, and lights and burns well. It’s a mildish smoke in terms of nicotine content, though, so if you want something that will bring you to your knees this isn’t for you. There’s no dottle to speak of: only the proverbial fine grey ash; and no sludge.
I’m not sure whether to describe this tobacco as a very fine ribbon cut or a shag. Flake smokers will find that, because of the fine cut, it burns away rather quickly, but this is one of only two negatives I can find; and you can, after all, always come back for more. The other negative is the inevitable Latakia room note, which is not to everybody’s taste; SWMBO doesn’t like it at all, and innocent bystanders will probably look at you in a funny way. Perhaps this is one to enjoy in solitude, or outdoors.
In a large bowl (as I write I’m smoking it in a Peterson 312) No. 25 Mixture will give you a longish, tasty and interesting interlude. If you aren’t a habitual Latakia smoker, you’ll be well advised to have a separate pipe for this kind of blend, because the Latakia flavour lingers long. Try it first in a corncob, maybe.
Nice with a strong black coffee, I find. Highly recommended; a true arcadia experience, and a viable all-day smoke if you want one.