A classic English Virginia mixture with a fairly high amount of Syrian latakia, Former's Jubilee 50th Anniversary blend is full-bodied and spicy, yet soft and mellow with the typical natural Virginia sweetness.
The smoky, woody, earthy, musty, herbal, wine-like, tangy sweet Syrian Latakia is the lead component. The bright Virginia provides a burst of tart and tangy citrus, some lemon, toast and spice, a fair amount of grass, vegetation and sugar along with a potent floral quality as a secondary player. The darker Virginia offers some tangy dried dark fruit, lightly tart citrus, earth, vegetation, wood, floralness, bread and spice. It’s just above being a condiment. There’s extremely light topping of some kind that adds a touch sweetness to the mixture. The strength is a couple of steps past the medium mark, while the taste is a couple of slots past the center of medium to full. The nic-hit is a rung past the medium level. The spice will definitely dance on your tongue, and fast puffing may result in a little harshness as well as a possibility of bite. It also has some roughness. I recommend a slow puffing cadence. Burns clean and a tad warm at a moderate pace with a very consistent, deeply rich, tart and tangy, mildly sweet, lightly sour and bitter, and rather savory, spicy, rugged, campfire flavor that translates to the long lingering after taste, and strong room note. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Not an all day smoke. Two and a half stars due to the bitter note.
Quite a robust looking ribbon, comprised of dark brown, medium brown, and yellow pieces. It's all concealed under the type of foil seal you find on instant coffee jars, not like, say, the heavy ring-pull lid on G. L. Pease or Cornell & Diehl tins. The moisture looked exemplary.
The Syrian Latakia forms the leading taste, unequivocally. But, it doesn't seem like the archetypal 'bomb', it's not caustic enough. The flavour from the Lat's rich, smoky, woody, but quite smooth, and the overall taste is given a tangy, dark fruitiness from the Virginia. After about a third the smoke becomes suggestive of a light casing: a sweetness not quite natural enough to emanate from Virginia, alone. The quality of the burn goes without question: cool, even, to a pure white ash. This was my Sunday morning smoke today and after a few bowls in succession I can conclude that it doesn't bite me.
Nicotine: medium to strong. Room-note: nice.
50th Anniversary? I'll happily rate this with four stars:
I tried this for the first time last night. It comes with a foil top. Not sure how well that will work for long term storage. It has a nice English blend smell when you pop the tin. The moisture level was moderate and took a few tries to get lit. Once lit it burn completely through. To me the Latakia was in the forefront of this blend. It did burn my nose some and didn't seem to have that mellow creamy taste of the Syrian Latakia that I am used to. I'll cellar this for a while and see how it ages.
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