|Tin Aroma: dark and mysterious, with subtly sugary undertones, this is some high grade stuff! Usually a blend with a high latakia content has a musty, overly earthy smell, but the virginias in Winter's Tale are so sugary and well-stoved as to make the overall sensation much more akin to warm plum pudding, hearth logs, and pecan cookies.
Physical Characteristics: A good bit of the darkness in this blend comes from the virginias having been stoved. Three dark tobaccos in here, perique, latakia, and stoved virginia, with just a hint of red virginia for variation. Burns slowly and evenly to a fluffy white ash.
Notes: Right from the get go, this is a very full and sensous blend. The smoke has a thick and warm quality to it that is what every smoker of 'english' style blends is really looking for. This is, most definately, a feet-up, by the fire sort of blend. A very evocative set of aromas waft out of my pipe during a bowlful of Winter's Tale, bringing to mind cabins in the woods, campfires in the snow, fresh baked cookies, beef stew, and a host of other warm and fuzzy feelings thta probably say more about me than they do about the blend.
I was not sure, upon initially tasting this blend, if I was going to like the addition of perique to the standard 'english' formula, but the mid and top notes provided by it's spiciness help to keep the latakia and stoved virginias from making this a bottom heavy, one dimensional blend. The cut sizes are perfectly matched, at the bottom of a tin, there isn't a hidden cache of latakia flakes waiting for me.
This is, for me, the tobacco equivilent of soul food, warm, comforting, and like an old friend, the minute I tried it. I lament the fact that it is not in production anymore, and I will jealously horde every tin of it that I can find.