Terrific and well aged leaf in this offering. Murray's and Sons blended this one for awhile after Sinclair spit the but, and their rendition was marvelous. Sweet and supple Virginia leaf combined with outstanding top-shelf Latakia for a taste that was not too strong, not too light, but just right. The quality of the leaf and all the aging made this one a superstar in my book!
As noted by the esteemed Noorrmm, this is the medium range brand of triad (Parson's Pleasure on the mild end, Punchbowl on the strong end). Barney's Ideal is a typical mixture of Virginia and Latakia but, like its milder sibling, with rather poor quality leaf. It comes quite dry and it has a stale note to it. It smokes cooler than the Parson, but the smell and dryness of the leaf can be disturbing. IMO this is the type of English that has given a bad reputation to Latakia/Oriental mixtures. In any case, it is the only tobacco I have been asked to put out by nearby people (I was smoking it in a Pub).
Indeed, after smoking many other English blends I blieve this is a harsh and unrefined version. However it is cheap and better than many other "news stand" blends. Uneventful and unremarkable, it has all the ingredients of a proper English, but it just lacks the grace, subtlety, depth and style of many other brands, not necessarily more expensive than this one.
The middle srength member of a trio, Parson's Pleasure and Punchbowle completing the group. A medium color ribbon with a bit of dark leaf. The aroma is Va/Oriental with a race of Latakia. The flavor is sweet and spicy mostly with just a hint of the Latakia smokiness. I remember it fondly, but haven't seen it lately.
After I open a tin of any tobacco, I pour it into a French canning jar. After every time I open the jar, I exhale a warm, moist breath into the jar before re-closing. This has served me well for 25 years.
I am now smoking a 20 year old (at least) bowl of Barney's Ideal in a perfectly grained Peterson's Handmade Canadian (I prefer straight pipes over bents, with plenty of thick quality wood). As you know, Peterson pipes are difficult to break in, but this one I have smoked many times.
This bowl of Barneys is a stand-out for its flavor and burning qualities. I wish I had more than the few bowls left in my jar.
Skip this review and go straight to Tantric's below. He said it better than I ever could.
Flat, boring, dull, unrefined, not worth the trouble, this 15+ year old tin does nothing to further the cause of aging tobacco. I'll rest easy in the belief that this one was not so good to begin with.
I'm afraid I must disagree wih most of whats been said about this fine tobacco. I purchased a few tins from my local tobacconist that had been there for years, in fact they were the original ones made for John Sinclair, and have batch numbers stamped on the underside of the tins.
The aroma on opening the tin was delicious, a rich, nutty, slightly smokey English mixture. The card disc describes it as a very special tobacco, and indeed it is.
It lights completely from a single match, moisture content is ideal. Burn is even and slow, with little call for re lights. The aroma is delicious, I keep inhaling it through my nose it is so good. Rich virginias, very deep smelling, with slight spiciness, and herbal, smokey aromas from the latakia.
The flavour is outstanding, it doesnt bite, its quite nutty, while it is rich it yet remains soft and mild through the bowl, until on lighting up the last bits in the bottom of the bowl I am surprised by an enourmous flavour. All the latakia that until that point had been playing a graceful supporting role announces itself at once in a crescendo of flavour and great billows of thick smoke, before fading away almost as suddenly leaving the memory and a pleasant aftertaste. A real grand finale to an excellent smoking experience.
I do notice that this tobacco is rather strong, I assume that this is due to the virginias, which do not bite, but offer a very rich flavour. The latakia content is actually quite low, judging by the colour of leaf in the tin, and the smokiness.
My girlfriend likes the aroma as much as I do, I'm fortunate that there are few pipe tobaccos she doesnt like the smell of.
It could be that it was high quality until it was blended by Murrays, or that I have unusual tastes in tobacco. I have had the Parsons Pleasure blended by Murrays, and found it quite unremarkable. If it were made from the virginias in this tin, I suspect I would like it a lot more. Anyway, if you can find the old tins, and you want an english mixture as strong as the old Dunhill blends, but with more flavour from the virginias, I highly reccomend it. I will treasure my remaining tins.
Notes: Originally made by John Sinclair, this was blended by Murray's and Sons for several years. Now it has stopped production, although it reamins fairly common on the pipe smoker's circuit, so it seems worthy of commentary. Like many Scottish-style blends, it has not aged well at all becoming less cohesive and more unpalatable with time.
Appearance: Tan, nut brown, dark brown, and black strands in a medium ribbon, fully rubbed out.
As far as I know this blend is'nt being made anymore or it's no longer being imported to the states.In any case it's no big loss.I purchased a fifteen year old tin online from a dealer who specializes in vintage tobaccos.It cost around fifty bucks and I was anxious to try an aged blend ,as it was my first purchase of such an item.It was'nt worth the money!It was rather flat and a little boring.I would have been well ahead of the game to purchase ten tins of dunhill's 965.Really, what's an english tobacco without a good dose of Latakia?If you'd like to find out try this!I'm sure I'll try aged tobacco again,however next time I'll be more careful as to what I'm buying...Move On! prep
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