|Some have accused me of working for Greg because of my mostly favorable reviews, but it is not true. I do not want Greg for President, nor Congress, nor Senate. I want him to continue to be an artist and scientist of tobacco leaf blending. This blend is another example of his informed artistry.
Appearance and Aroma: Yes, this is definitely a "red" VA blend with a speck of Latakia visible every now and then. It smells earthy and musty. The latakia can be noticed in the tin, but it is ever so slight. The leaf has the look of top quality. It is oily and pliable, looks very fresh. The cut is a broad ribbon with an ocassional square cut and, of course, little specks of the refugee from the island of Cyprus.
Packing and Lighting:Moisture is perfect out of the tin. Just pack as usual and light. 2-3 lights max.
Initial Flavor: This is where I was surprised. I expected somethin akin to Hal'O the wind or MacCranie's Red Ribbon, but instead was introduced to an earthy, rich, round flavor that is distictly "red".
Mid-Bowl:This blend is very flavorful and naturally aromatic. The blend gets into the "zone" easily and the latakia is definitely just for support. At this point, you also get occassional burst of sweetness that are never cloying or syrupy.
Bottom of Bowl:The strength builds nicely, but never like HOW's knock out punch. The ash is dry and grey. There can be a little excess moisture in the shank, but that is not uncommon with many excellent blends.
Ovarall: Yes, this is another masterpiece that Greg has blended. It is not one that I will smoke on a regular basis because my preference is still in the Balkan/English range. And, yet, my cellar will not be without a few tins of this blend, as a matter of fact, this will displace HOW in my rotation. The flavor spectrum is in the mid to low of the red VA range and the minute amount of latakia truly plays as a condiment and compliment here. My suggestion is that you get some now...