Murray's 1921 Cunningham is a true Navy Flake tobacco. Sweet, bright, flue-cured tobaccos are melded with a light splash of zesty perique and a hint of rum before being firmly pressed into cakes and sliced. If you're a Virginia fan, this is an ideal blend to cellar, as it will improve greatly with age, but is rich enough to enjoy today.
The tart and tangy, citrusy Virginias are very grassy along with a hint of toast, earth, tangy dark fruit, acidity, and wood. In a secondary role is the spicy, raisiny, figgy perique. The sweet rum topping is lightly applied. The nic-hit is a couple of slots past the mild level. The strength is in the center of mild to medium, while the taste is a step past that mark. Won’t bite, and has no dull spots, but can get slightly warm on the tongue if puffed fast. Burns clean at a moderate rate with a very consistent flavor. It does require a few relights, but leaves little dampness in the bowl. Can burn to ash. The pleasant after taste and room notes will linger a little. Can be an all day smoke.
The flakes are very similar in appearance in Stokkebye’s Luxury Navy Flake, but just a tad bit darker. At first light, there is a little bit of sharpness to this flake that very quickly mellows out. The Virginia’s are mostly hay with the bright Virginias initially taking the lead with the other Virginias offering a little bit of brown sugar a little further into the bowl. The Perique is noticeable but isn’t added with a heavy hand. I mainly get a pepper quality from it more so than fruit. The rum is very lightly added and it offers up more sweetness (to me) than the Virginia’s do. There wasn’t any bite, but there is a bit of tingle on the tongue if pushed. My overall impression is that this is still a little rough around the edges and wouldn’t be a regular smoke for me without some more age on it. Right now, it isn’t quite a three star blend for me, but closer to three than two, so three it is.
Very nice flavors in this flake. A tangy, grassy citrus note with some darker fruit from the Virginias. A milder dark fruit and fair amount of spice from the Perique. The rum is light lending a little sweetness and an underlying molasses flavor. The only problem I have, being a puffer, is the heat. If not for that I could go four stars here. It is what it is though so three is what it gets.
Medium in body and taste. Flavoring is extremely mild. Burns a little too well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
Standard Tobacco Company - Murray's 1921 Cunningham.
Extremely easy flakes to work with, being correctly hydrated and a medium thickness, so it's simple to crumble some up. The tin has a very slight aromatic aroma, but nothing that would necessarily make me think of rum.
In the smoke I find the rum a little easier to identify than I expected. On my first bowl the was rum hard to taste, and when I got some it still seemed ambiguous as to what sort of sweetness it was. But when I lit my second bowl I tasted a slightly surer flavour of rum: not strong, but not just any old sweetness, either. Rum aside, I like the way the tobaccos taste: grassy, a little citrus, and some spice; a lively enough blend for the mornings. I don't get much tongue bite, but it can burn a touch too hot.
The room-note's pleasant, and the nicotine, to me, is medium to strong.
The presentation is all right. The flakes were just kind of stuck together and piled on top of each other. They are moist and I recommend some air time before filling the pipe, whether you choose to rub out or fold and stuff.
The tin note is tangy and sour. It’s kind of grassy and kind of like sour candy. Some dried fruit notes in there, some honey. I tried smoking this rubbed out as well as folded. They are both good. Again, I recommend air time, and taking it easy. I don’t find the rum to be big and detectable in the tin note or in the smoke. Maybe it adds some sweetness to the smoke, but I don’t notice it really. It starts off citrusy and grassy, some honey notes develop, and even some cereal notes, and molasses notes. There are some cane sugar pops of flavor, and even a hint of sourness and pungency of dunder funk (if you like Jamaican rum, you will know what I am referring to). There is some tartness and pig spice hits from the perique, some raisin notes. You can get some pastry and bready notes from this as well. It reminded me of Danish shortbread cookies. The dried fruit notes reminded me of lemons and sometimes oranges. There is a nice aftertaste to this that reminded me of an apple Jolly-Rancher candy. After finishing, the pipe smelled like cake batter.
I would say the taste is medium, and the tobacco strength is mild to medium. The nicotine might be noticeable, but certainly not overwhelming. For the price, this is a great value for money Virginia Perique flake. It would probably age very well, and any undesirable sharpness would calm down with some age.
I found this tasted best in pipes with narrow bowls with chambers of straight sides (billiards, Canadians, etc).
The only thing I can say I don’t like about it is there isn’t any red Virginia, to my taste, that could provide more depth to the blend. I would still buy this again, and I have purchased it multiple times. I rate this as highly recommended because it’s a good, sweet flake, and there aren’t many blends out there like this one easily available to me.
Every now and again, one opens up a tin to horrible; silence. At that moment you realize the seal is not intact and the tin's guts have dried out. This was my fate trying 1921, so take this review with a grain of salt.
The contents smelled of manure, Virginia this was, Rum? it was not. This is not to say it was a bad thing, but the Aromatic fan in me was a bit bummed. For being an open tin, the flake was obviously dry and more crumbly than I would of liked, yet was still manageable. Turning into a shredded biscuit that packed nicely and smoked hot. The lit product was the standard Virginia nutty/hay experience, without any added flavor I could detect. The strength and nicotine were squarely medium and there was a tad bite (likely from being dried out).
VaPer fans out there may want to give 1921 a whirl, as they may get what I didn't from the hint o' Rum spices, but for me, even a fresh tin wouldn't excite me. I'll just stick with some Newminster flake for my occasional Virginia fix.
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