|This is a tricky Latakia/Va mixture. At first it seems a very well developed blend, but only ?technically? speaking. It has all the elements of a very traditional English mixture comprising red and tan Virginias with jet black and probably toasted Latakia (the manufacturer in fact states it is close to the original Craven mixture). But the flavour seems a bit harsh and raw, with non of the subtleties or undertones you may find in Dunhill?s, Gawith?s or Pease?s blends. I did not detect any Oriental or Turkish elements that would, IMO, enliven the blend. In fact this could very well be the extreme opposite of the Pease's Renaissance. A dry, cool smoke, pretty well balanced, but nothing more. However, as you smoke some more bowls, it kind of grows on you.
Almost monastically austere, with virtually no plum sweetness, it nevertheless provides a sobriety and elegance that lingers on through the smoke. There are no surprises in terms of varying flavours as you progress down the bowl. The Vas. are stronger and drier here than in other similar mixtures I?ve tried, and the Latakia, though potent and similar to the grades used in Standard Mixture, is not at all overwhelming. Such consistency of flavour and the coolness of the smoke make it an enjoyable, non distracting smoking experience. I have been reading and writing quite a bit whilst smoking this blend, and I find YM a most agreeable and discrete companion. The aroma is not particularly pungent and can be smoked indoors (window slightly open).
As a change of pace within the Latakia/Va. range this is an interesting and recommendable option. Medium strength and dry, it goes well with port, Holst and Huxley.
|Appearance: Mostly medium and light color with a little dark. Appears to be red va., turkish and latakia. Somewhat fine cut. Balanced english aroma. Like all of the C & D blends, there is less moisture content. I like it like that, and besides, I get more tobacco and less water for my buck.
Aroma: A lovely balance of sweet, spicy, and smoky, with the oriental spice most noticable, the latakia definitely there, and the Virginia in the background
Packing: Owing to the slightly fine cut, this blend packs easily in any size bowl.
Lighting: Lights easily, no special effort to get it started.
Initial flavor: First impression is the turkish, bright and spicy. It mellows down quickly, and I taste the nice round virginias with a moderate smokiness from the latakia.
Mid-bowl: Continues in a well behaved, proper english manner. Since it?s a pure, natural tobacco, it smokes dry. Flavor is not overwhelming, in fact it seems to be lacking a bit of body. Leaving it to mellow for several months would probably be of great benefit.
Finish: Ends a bit stronger than the middle, but retains the taste and balance throughout. Leaves a clean ash.
Summary: Probably an excellent choice for an all day smoker. If you?re looking for a big blast of latakia, this is NOT it. Since this is a bulk blend, it does not show the maturity of a tinned tobacco, but the cost is also much lower than tins. This would be at or near the top of my list for a steady english blend. This is supposed to be close to the old Craven mixture, which I smoked many years ago. I have to admit, too many years have gone by for me to judge that, but I do like it