Scottish Blend is an interesting tobacco that responds exactly to Eulenburg's contention in the sense that Scottish mixtures are basically Latakia based English blends with added Black Cavendish. In this case John Aylesbury offers a mild blend of top grade leaf which, unlike its English Mixture, it includes Oriental and Latakia leaf.
Rough cut and rather dry in the tin, the blend is natural tasting, but the presence of the Eastern tobaccos is almost anecdotical. Mild and easy burning, it unfortunately lacks in strength and density, even if measured by the lightest Latakia/Oriental blends (think of S. Gawith's Skiff). On the other hand, the presence of the Black Cavendish is not intrusive at all or annoyingly sweet. On the contrary, it is this leaf, rather than the Orientals, the one that provides some body and structure to the blend. Room aroma is not that heavy and I think it would be feasible to smoke it in public with no mayor consequences.
This could be a nice introduction to natural tasting tobaccos, as well as very polite way of getting acquainted with Latakia and Oriental tobaccos. But if you are already used to blends such as Squadron Leader, Early Morning or even Larsen's Selected Blend No 20?not to mention My Mixture 965 or 7 Reserve? this Scottish concoction will not do much for your palate.
Opening the tin, the Cyprian Latakia is leaping out at you, as it will do with any blend it is a component of. But it isn't overwhelming; I'm guessing about 10 per cent or less here. The Orientals are quite prominent in the tin, but rather weak for that; I'll have to admit I would expect more (or better) Orientals from a blend whose tin liner names Orientals in first place.
That's it for the downsides. This is a very straight English, with only a touch of the DFK and Orientals. The leaf is a varied, almost careless cut which, probably because of that, is very easy to stuff and light. Burns well, but -- one last niggle -- for an English produces too much condensation. The taste is creamy-smooth (the Latakia...) with less sweetness than I would expect from a Balkan blend (so this is not a Balkan... says it's not on the tin already).
It still is a decent tobacco for the English-blend smoker IMO; I can't understand how this would be relegated to 1-star status. It simply is not that bad; actually I find myself enjoying it. There are, of course, many better blends out there. But this is not a throwaway; it is an enjoyable blend to me. Not a beginner's choice, nor a quality leader. Still decent.
Another blend from my pal Gentleman Zombie, thanks Franck.
A medium sized, medium brown, ribbon, with a few black and yellow specks. Like all the other John A' blends he's sent me, he's put it in a loose pouch, so it's not too damp.
This gets a mixed reaction, here on Tobacco Reviews, but I'm with the higher ratings. The flavour, although quite heavy with Latakia and Oriental, is quite smooth; from start to finish, a bowl has little fluctuation in flavour, there's no rough/coarse spots, really. The Cavendish only gives a touch of sweetness, the majority of the flavour's this laid-back Lat/Oriental. The Virginia's present throughout, but nothing remarkable; it forms the backbone of the smoke.
The nicotine's mild to medium, and the room-note's quite heavy.
Like I said earlier, I'm with the folks who find this more enjoyable. I don't 'adore' it, but it could be a regular smoke.
I put JA Blends in the following hierarchy: English-brut and smoky, Virginia-strong, sweet and smoky and Scottish-smooth and sweet. I have to say this was a pleasant surprise and very rewarding experience. I was turned off by the Mac's Scottish Mixture, but JASB has to one of their crown jewels. Well balanced, no bite and similar to its brother blends but with something more. This is excellent all the way around. If you're use to watered down aromatics, this may not be for you. However, if you want to branch out to non-aros this is a great starting point. The virginias take center stage. The burley gives a well-rounded nutiness, the Orientals a slight butteriness and the Black Cavendish gives the blend depth. And the room note is just heavenly. Four stars in my book.
A mild and light blend. The Lat leads with the Orientals not far behind. There is a nice sweetness from the Black Cav. The Virginias are hidden to me. It's a pleasant smoke, but lacks complexity. This really needs the Virginias to show, but they refuse to.
Mild to medium in body and taste. No added flavorings. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
I would have to say that John Aylesbury’s Scottish blend is an Oriental forward blend. The tin note for me is predominantly Oriental. The flavor of the Oriental leaf is also quite present while smoking this Scottish blend.
The Latakia is mild compared to some other Latakia blends. Even though the Latakia takes a backseat to the other Orientals, it is still a very important part in both the tin note and the smoking flavor.
I'm pretty sure the "Black Cavendish" in this blend is of the English variety where Bright Virginia tobaccos are steamed and subjected to pressure without any flavorings or casing added.
The Virginias; yellow, red, and English style Black Cavendish, all combine to give this blend body and depth. For me it’s difficult to pick out any one of these Virginias as having a dominant presence.
The flavor of the Oriental tobacco reminds me of Peter Stokkebye 313 Oriental, which is a Macedonian Oriental tobacco, although I'm sure there is probably more than just one type of Oriental tobacco in John Aylesbury's Scottish blend.
If you enjoy the flavor of Oriental tobaccos accenting a mélange of Virginias where Latakia takes a backseat then John Aylesbury-Scottish Blend could be a worthwhile endeavor.
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