|I had wanted to try D&R tobaccos for some time, but if you check the descriptions, they don't really say much about the tobacco. I hate taking that leap of faith, having been burned so many times in the past, and it's strange, actually. Isn't this Ryan guy the same that puts out Acadian Perique? Shouldn't he know that the pipe community relies heavily on tin descriptions in the absence of solid reviews? I at least want to know what components are in a blend, every pipe tobacco tin should say at least that, down to the specific Orientals, if possible (but not probable).
Always curious, I ordered Picayune and Ramback and shortly thereafter found an old P&T magazine in a smoke shop. Turning immediately to Trial by Fire, I pulled up the tobacco reviews for the particular issue of Summer 2010. I was surprised to find Gage and Harb go through a few D&R blends, including Ramback. Harb describes the blend as consisting of 100 percent Turkish tobaccos. I have never heard of a tobacco like that--are there really no Virginias here?! And then I had to wait a week for the answer.
Peel the tin cover back and you will get a strong olfactory bombardment of mustiness and trace hints of cigar leaf, with a visual comprising a variety of blond, orange, red and olive green colors. Turkish tobaccos, in my experience, have this kind of twinkle to them, similar to a Lakeland flake or a well aged blend, but a bit less pronounced when put up to a light, and Ramback is similarly affected. The leaf is very dry, more so than C&D tobaccos, which I have found to be amongst the least humid.
Many have remarked of D&R's past configuration as a RYO cigarette company of specialty tobaccos, all of which processed in a thin shag. This blend is more akin to a ribbon cut, and certainly looks like pipe tobacco out of the tin. When lit, the flavor has that prominent Oriental spiciness to it, very pronounced. Having a good portion of blending Smyrna on hand, and having smoked the stuff straight on occasion, I can compare the two at a basic level. Smoking straight Smyrna is somewhat off putting, both in odor and spice, which quickly overwhelm the senses with their pungent properties--to me, completely devoid of sweetness. D&R seems tamer, however, leading one to believe there is at least a modicum of added Virginia, probably bright leaf, muting the concentration and elevating the sugar level. Either that or these Orientals are tamer than some of the harder stuff in the rarer varietals. There's always a strength tradeoff with Orientals. They are very light in nicotine, and for those craving rough smokes, appreciation may be difficult though worthy if one is seeking exploration.
In his review of Rambak, Gage suggests the tobacco be employed primarily as a blender to even out other mixes. That's a bit of an insult in my opinion, as Ramback stands exceedingly well on its own. In summary, this is a fine tobacco to have on hand when you crave Turkish leaf and a spicy smoke. My God, if I had cigarettes like this, I never would have quit!