|I was introduced to this fine blend at a New York/Newark Pipe Show, where PaulB was displaying his magnificent pipes and showing off his wonderful blends. I had some familiarity with Park Lane's Latakias and was much taken with their blending style.
I'm in the process of a 3 yr mission to define my Top100 blends to cellar. Most of the cellar consists of Englishes and Balkans and although I have stashed lifetime supplies of my favorite Dunhills and some Balkan Sobranie, a major focus has been to seek out replacements for them.
Well, with the first puffs, Old Church instantly leaped into my Top5, potentially sidelining H&H Larry's Blend and Timm's London Blend No. 1000. The smyrna makes this more of a Balkan than an English, and the full, very accessible tastes and creamy mouth feel drew my complete attention. The tastes develop entrancingly as the bowl progresses, and yet OC is very balanced, never developing sharp edges. I ordered a pound to age in several jars to see what ageing contributes to the equation, but unlike some other favorites, at this point my OC does not taste juvenile or young.
Before I update this with a more granular review, I need to try OC in other substrates, especially meerschaum, olivewood and morta. I'll also run it through different shaped and sized bowls to see what I can discover. I'm trying to learn how to differentiate OC from some of the other Park Lane Luxury series and blends like Excalibur and An Aperitif. Hard work, but someone has to do it.
In summary, OC is a great medium to strong blend for the Latakiaphile, and might become an all dayer for me.