|Pouch Aroma: Sweet and spicy, with grassy undertones. I can smell Latakia, Virginias and a fair amount of Orientals. If there's Perique in here, it's too subtle for me to smell; there is also a substantial sweetness here - perhaps some of that dark tobacco is a cavendish?
Appearance: This appears to be about 60% light- to medium-brown tobacco with some darker leaf (black cavendish?) and a small helping of Latakia. I think it's Syrian Latakia, judging by the light woody scent, but I'm no expert. The cut leans toward ribbon in the lighter tobaccos, then getting more broken as the leaf gets darker.
Packing and Lighting: Being ribbon-cut, this packed quite nicely in a little no-name black sandblast Dublin that is very well-rested. Unlit, this sample tastes lightly sweet with a spicy undertone.
It comes to a full light quite easily, barely needing the second match.
Exposition: This is a nice, smooth and mild English blend. It's a very light smoke that seems perfect for this, my first smoke of the day. The grassiness and sweetness predominates for the first few minutes, after which everything seems to settle in and unify into a smooth melange. I can detect no Burley or Perique.
The Story: This is a very mild and subtle tobacco that requires some thought to identify its components. I would say that this was quite expertly blended to be satisfying for the English-style smoker but acceptable to those who might not care for something like Dunhill's #965. It has a nice room aroma in which the sweet Virginias form a floor upon which the delicate Orientals dance with the lightly spicy Latakia.
The flavor is very mild, and I find that I must blow some of the smoke out of my nose in order to get the level of taste that I prefer. The smoke stays quite unified, undergoing only very slow changes as the fullness of the Virginias becomes apparent; the Latakia is remaining a very subtle influence and the sweetness only slowly gains that density that I find so pleasant in the middle third of a bowl of Dunhill's Early Morning Pipe.
This is quite a dry smoke even though it arrived in the mail slightly moister than I prefer. I'm glad now that I didn't dry it at all.
Denoument: After a short rest and relight the sweetness has thickened up (reminding me of a jar of Mint-Blossom honey I have in my cupboard) and a slightly musty character is coming to the fore when I blow smoke out of my nose. This is finishing quite nicely; all of the flavors from the beginning are still here, just intensified and slightly transmuted. No odd bitterness or ashiness have appeared, nor have any flavors really dropped out. The only major change I found was an intense woodiness for the last 5 minutes or so.
The burn has remained clean and easy - the only relight was after I let it go out intentionally. The ash is light grey and fine, and there were only a few blackened chunks left in the heel of my pipe.
Pros: A good mild tobacco, natural but with a sweet aroma. Very satisfying for those moments when you don't want to burn something with a lot of Latakia (thus scaring the locals) but you still want an English smoke. The flavor remains pretty consistent, and what changes do occur as you smoke happen slowly. A most excellent tobacco which I will probably buy once I know what it is :)
Cons: I have nothing against this tobacco. No bite, no nasty flavors at the finish, and if there's a humectant, it's applied with a very light hand.