|Update 6/4/05: Quite pleasant after some more months in a jar. The raw "woodiness" has converted to a flavor I associate with warm toasted bread. This is overall quite mild and there are no surprises or real changes through the bowl. No tendency to bite. No tricky packing required. This could be an all-day VA at this point.
This is the kind of VA that I imagine was smoked in the old days in a corncob pipe. No pretention, no grandeur, no extensive aging process - just honest VA. The flipside of that honesty is a certain raw and rough quality.
A mottled broken flake with a slightly sweet fig-like "tin" aroma (quotes around 'tin' because I believe it only comes in bulk). It packs fairly easily and lights fairly easily. No extra rubbing out or drying needed.
Straight from the "tin" this VA can smoke hot, and it can surely bite one's tongue. The flavor is all VA, and any complexity comes from its raw nature. This is not one to smoke for gentle contemplation; its gritty flavor wants to be noticed. There is a little VA sweetness here, but not much. I would disagree with the description that is has "a pleasant room aroma". Its not bad...but "pleasant" seems a bit too generous.
After 7 months of aging, the flakes have softened, and the so has the flavor. There is little tendency of tongue bite and the raw, gritty flavor has become smoother and sweetened slightly. I would not say that the flavor has fully rounded out, but I imagine that in another 1/2 year, this will have a smooth character.
The question is: why would one bother with such an uncouth VA when there are so many (Old Gowrie comes to mind) which are all pleasure and no pain?
My answer is: I feel a certain attraction to occasionally smoking something that is so unadulterated and so raw that I feel like I can taste the plant from whence it came. Not every day, mind you; but on occasion it is a nice change.