Peter Stokkebye No. 313 Oriental consists of small sun-cured leaves from the Macedonian region. The flavor is somewhat floral and spicy with a bit of sweetness. When used with Latakia, it tends to brighten the flavor. It should be treated as a condiment as too much can overwhelm a blend.
Stokkebye Oriental 313 presents as a nearly diced ribbon: very short ribbon strips of a nearly uniform medium brown color with touches of light brown here and there. The tobacco comes very dry and is extremely neutral on the nose.
Oriental 313 is rich with floral notes balanced perfectly with wood, salt, white pepper and mild spice. Beautifully aromatic, Stokkebye's 313 is an Oriental slap in the face. Unlike more complex blends that present different flavor profiles as the bowl progresses, 313 is a straightforward and consistent Oriental "bomb". But because Orientals are such naturally delicate tobaccos, one doesn't mind. While billed as a blending condiment, lovers of Oriental tobacco should really try this one straight.
The burn is quick but not hot, very dry, and no mess is left in the pipe. There's no bite here, but the nicotine will tickle the tongue nonetheless. The vitamin N is strong here, so those averse to a stout nicotine hit should take whatever precautions one takes.
I recently purchased some PS Oriental to use as a blending component, but here I am reviewing it as a standalone smoking tobacco.
The tobacco I received was an extremely dry and brittle, so I hydrated it for about two weeks with a little distilled water. While remaining dry enough to light easily and smoke to a fine white ash, this made it much easier to handle.
PS Oriental is a tan-colored, short-stranded, fine ribbon. It has a pleasant aroma, smelling vaguely like Virginia leaf, but that's where the similarity to Virginia tobacco ends. I smoked a large bowl of it recently to get an idea of what it might do in a blend. On its own, other than a having a lot of perique-like spiciness, I found PS Oriental to be rather bland. It had no sweetness, nor was it sour as I've heard that orientals tend to be. If anything, it tasted like a very weak burley. I didn't detect the floral notes the other reviewer mentions, but I agree that it tastes spicy and peppery. It had no bite and, perhaps because I hydrated it, it burned reasonably slow and cool.
I look forward to finding out what PS Oriental does when mixed with other tobaccos but I don't intend to, nor would I recommend that you, smoke it au naturel -- not because it tastes bad, but because it doesn't have much taste.
UPDATE: Tonight, I mixed PS Oriental 50/50 with Dunhill Nightcap and loaded it in a large Stanwell Bent Billianrd. Wow, what a smoke! Spicy, fragrant, floral and sweet. Intense flavor and aroma, like incense, and with a nice nicotine kick. About midway through the smoke, the spiciness diminished and the floral notes and sweetness became predominant. This is one of the most enjoyable smokes I've had in a long time. I look forward to trying blending PS Oriental with other tobaccos.
Pipe Used: Large bent briar
Age When Smoked: Recently purchased. Update: cellared nine months.
It came very dry but smoked fine like that. It is so natural and unrefined, I feel as though I can taste and smell the environment where it was grown and sun-dried. The earth, the air, maybe even the birdsong of the remote Macedonian field come through in strong and complex aromas of hay and summer. It’s a bit sharp in the nose but very light on the tongue. Not an especially pleasing smoke on its own, this oriental leaf is really excellent for mixing. It adds complexity and interest, cools things down, and imparts a decidedly satisfying natural beauty. I’ve been using it generously in mixes with Virginia flake and burley to reduce tongue bite and add some layers. It also brightens up and cools down cavendish. My favorite recipe so far: 1 part Peterson Virginia flake 1 part Stokkebye Oriental 1/3 part Stokkebye Burley 2/3 part Stokkebye Latakia This mixture yields an immensely satisfying Balkan that burns very nicely.
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