|Tin: tin date-2008. Definitely a toasted sweetness of light syrup-toast, maybe partly due to a light oriental background. A mahogany hue, dark tan with a few flecks of black. Barely supple to a tad dry. Standard ribbon cut. No residue left on the fingers.
Taste & Aroma: Nice, smooth and mellow, but nothing stands out. Maybe a tad bit of earthy tones but has a stale almond aroma.
Nicotine: Moderate to strong
Overall: Nice, smooth, and mellow, but nothing distinguishing, with a stale aroma.
|It is time I stopped being so doggone selfish in keeping the secret of this extraordinary tobacco to myself. I've shot myself in the foot by keeping quiet about this in the (admittedly shameful) hope that I can scarf up as much of it as possible for my own cellar. Mea culpa. More on that subject below.
Brethren, this is simply the finest tobacco of its kind I have ever smoked. Bob Hamlin has gone to extraordinary lengths to obtain leaf of the very highest quality for all of the PCCA blends, and with Jubilee his blendmeistering has reached its zenith. My first experience with Jubilee was his offering of Jubilee 2000. I bought a couple of tins in my usual conservative strategy of "buy one to smoke now, and one to cellar". I quickly ordered more. Alas, Jubilee 2000 is no more, but Bob recreated his masterpiece as Jubilee 2006.
Upon opening that first tin I was greeted with a cornucopia of the most fabulously complex aromas ever to grace my olfactories. The fruitiness of well-aged, high-sugar Virginias, augmented by the deep toasted sweetness of matured Virginias provides the basic constitution of this wondrous blend. Then comes the magic; a blend of superbly fragrant Orientals pumps up the OOMPH level, fortifying the smoke with richly varied spices and a shot of strength that elevates Jubilee above the commonplace. The Orientals are in perfect harmony with the Virginias, never manifesting that tongue-bashing, yin-yang tug of war that so often accompanies Virginia/Oriental blends. Bob Hamlin's choice of fine Turkweeds is matched only by his careful restraint in measuring them for optimum (not maximum, if you understand the difference) effect. It's a case of less is more, executed with the same kind of mastery that one finds in, say, Greg Pease's milestone Embarcadero.
But hold...there's more still. If you are among those who appreciate the fine art of using Latakia as a subtle spiceweed rather than a tongue bludgeon, you'll find Latweed nirvana in Jubilee. Every time I smoke this stuff, I find myself wondering how so few blenders seem to understand that concept. Here is the pinnacle of that craft -- enough Latakia to make its presence known as a complex condiment, but in sufficiently sparing quantity to ensure that it never dominates the smoke. It is true genius, a term I reserve for a select few blenders like GLP and Rudiger Will.
As if that weren't enough, there is pure magic in the utterly brilliant use of Perique in Jubilee. I'm mentioning it last not because it works as merely another condiment tobacco -- it doesn't -- but because it is the magic ingredient that transforms Jubilee to a thing of rare and delicate beauty. It is even less explicitly detectable than the Orientals and Latakia as an identifiable presence in the blend, and therein lies the masterful essence of its inclusion. That's why it deserves special mention here, apart from the Virginias. The quality it imparts is more than that of even the most harmonious VaPers. It would be a mistake to say, "Ah, well...Jubilee is a Virginia/Perique blend with added Orientals and Latakia." Nope...not by a long shot. The Perique in Jubilee is a supple and unfathomable ghost that works in synergy with the other components -- not just the Virginias, but all of the tobaccos -- in a way that has no equal in my 43+ years of pipe smoking(as of this writing).
Today (November 6, 2007), Bob Hamlin's "The Smokers Pipeline" newsletter announced that his stock of Jubilee was all but exhausted, and that he has no plans to make more. Unacceptable. That's what I meant by shooting myself in the foot. It's time the pipe smoking community discovered this little-known secret -- a truly classic manifestation of the weed blender's art at its finest. I invite everyone to hammer Mr. Hamlin (http://www.pipeguy.net/Tobacco.htm) mercilessly until he recants his heresy and relents with a reissue of Jubilee. There's a reason why it has sold out in all of its past versions. I beseech one and all to pester Bob to make more so you can smoke some for yourself and find out why.