and he'll be glad to give you more details.
Pouch Aroma: This has that faintly leathery sweetness that I associate with a well-balanced Latakia mixture. It reminds me of Lane's Crown Achievement, but with a little more earthy sweetness from Orientals and a touch less Latakia.
Appearance: Mostly dark brown and black, with a 25% or so sprinkling of yellow and red Virginias. These are all medium cut and shorter, broken pieces. It looks like it should burn well, and the moisture level is higher than C&D but not by much. A very rich-looking mixture and ready to smoke with no addition or subtraction of water.
Packing and Lighting: I filled a Tanganyika block Meer - rough-carved straight apple shape - and drew through it. It again reminds me of Crown Achievement, or even more like a local blend called 'T's Special English' from T. Whittaker here in Portland. It tastes so nice I think I'll leave it unlit for a while and enjoy it in my building's Non-Smoking laundry room!
The bowl lit easily enough and immediately wanted to burn evenly. Of course, I encouraged this behavior with a light tamp and coaxing with another match.
Exposition: There is definately a good amount of spiciness here! The Virginia tobaccos are overlaid with rich Turkish and the subtle mustiness of Perique. After the first few puffs the initial sharpness has faded into a musky, smoky wash. On the tongue, the sweetness is downplayed a bit and the room aroma is not as heavy as some English mixtures and contains enough smoky sweetness that it shouldn't frighten those with sensitive noses.
This is a good tobacco for reading - it doesn't overpower but it smokes so smooth that I doubt that tongue-bite would be a problem for any but the hardest of puffers.
The Story: After a brief set-down and cooling - mainly so I could go make some coffee - I re-lit. The sweetness has toned down and it now tastes very earthy. The sidestream smoke is still pungently sweet, but the flavor reminds me of the smell of rich, loamy earth in my garden. It still burns smoothly and without bite, and I don't taste any humectant additives at all.
I don't inhale pipe smoke, but this one is a real pleasure if I do a light french-inhale. Typical of Latakia blends, this produces vast volumes of bluish-grey smoke that easily forms thick rings that hold their shape nicely - Gandalf would have loved it!
Denoument: Silk Road never lost flavor or became sour or ashy tasting, even nearing the bottom of the bowl where it picked up a touch of caramel sweetness again. The flavor and strength increased, but it remained gurgle-free and very tasty. It burned all the way to the bottom and left nothing but a few blackened scraps and some flaky, mottled dark- and light-grey ash.
Pros: This is a nicely spiced blend with numerous subtleties. It burns well, smokes cool and smooth, and leaves a nice smell behind. The strength increases slowly, it doesn't bite and it doesn't sour. Silk Road has the best finish of any similar blend I have ever tried.
Cons: I didn't find anything bad at all here - it's a little sweet for me in the beginning, but that didn't last, it could have been a little heavier in nicotine for my personal taste, that's my own take. It /really/ reminds me of Crown Achievement, but has no PG and has more subtleties. All in all a great yardstick with which to measure mild to medium Latakia mixtures.