|Got this as a sample from the fine folks at 4noggins.com. I am a fan of several of their blends, and admittedly had very high expectations.
Packed this into my new Peterson Aran and sat down with my morning coffee. At first, I didn't quite get it, but as a relatively new pipe smoker, my palate may not be as attuned as other more experienced smokers, so I gave it some time. Here we go:
Stuck my nose in the bag and breathed in the wonderful nutty, smoky, spicy aroma.
Lights and burns well--a nice cool smoke. At first puff, I didn't quite know what to think or what I was tasting--perhaps the coffee had dulled my senses?
After a few minutes, the flavor came out in a big way. A present but not overpowering hardwood smokiness. A peppery spiciness noted by another reviewer as being too strong, but which I find gives the smoke great character without burying the sweeter undertones. With each draw, I can taste the contributions of the Turkish, Perique, Burley, and Latakia.
About half way through the bowl, the flavors come into a very elegant balance--the peppery overtones seem to have mellowed a bit revealing a creamy, sweet smokiness. I smoked this to the bottom of the bowl, leaving little more than a fine white ash.
Rich provided me with a generous sample at no charge when I placed my latest order--it will surely not last me long though, and it looks like I will be placing another order with 4noggins sooner than expected. Their fine blends and excellent customer care are why 4noggins has become my go-to tobacconist.
After a few more bowls, I will revisit this review and perhaps bump it up to 4 stars. My students will tell you I'm a hard grader, but I think that in the end this blend will really earn an A.
9/29/10 Just ordered an additional half pound from Rich. I'm bumping this up to four stars. This is now one of my go to morning smokes. Thoroughly enjoyable.