|Pouch Aroma: This tobacco has similar characteristics to McClelland's #2020, but there are distinct differences. The smoky/leathery aromas are more delicate, the sweetness is lighter - more like honey than dark caramel - and the dusty Oriental smell is a little more noticeable.
Appearance: This is a fine cut mixture that's probably 50% dark brown/black, 40% red/medium brown and 10% yellow and tan.
Packing and Lighting: Packing this into a Don Carlos ½ bent is a simple matter due to the fine cut and perfect moisture level. The flame brings out a rather dry, toasty flavor with some underlying sweetness but not a lot. It's a very delicate sugariness which is fairly heavily overlaid by the musty, dusty orientals and a sharp smokiness from the Latakia. Very different from the previous sample, and a nice change.
Exposition: It took a good 10-15 minutes of smoking to get past the initial disparateness of the components, but once the Turkish settled down a bit and the Virginias asserted themselves the flavor changed to a pleasant musty sweetness - almost too sweet for me this morning. The Latakia seems to be waiting in the wings for her cue; I can barely taste a slight nuttiness to clue me in to her presence at all.
The Story: Once I hit the 2/3 point though, the sweetness subsided and darkened and the fragrance of Latakia burst forth! Wow - I set the pipe down for a few minutes and the whole tune changes! Now it seems that the Turkish and Latakia elements are singing a duet while the Virginias take a break. It's turned warm, dusty, smoky and redolent of the desert campfires of nomadic tribes, camel dung be damned! This flavor seems to be holding as I near the end...
Denouement: Right at the very last, the sweet Virginia comes out to take a bow, sharing the stage with her companions. This is a very nice finish, and I've had at least three customers compliment me on the aroma - one said it reminded him of cooking maple-smoked bacon on a campfire. A very nice finish, with naught but fluffy ashes and a few burned fragments left.
Pros: This is a great smoke - it burns well and dry, undergoes some fantastic changes and leaves my pipe clean save for a light coat of fluffy white ash.
Cons: Umm...the bowl's done too soon?
I smoked another bowl of this right after the first (a rarity for me, to be sure!), but this time in a smaller bowl - a Sasieni "Cromer". The results were virtually identical excepting that the finish was a little shorter but much more intense. I'll be finishing this sample slowly while I wait for you to tell us what it is so I can get some!