“Never trust a non-aromatic piper's views on an aromatic pipe.”
Hornblower's Blend is a mildly aromatic tobacco. The jar aroma is sweet, comprising of the bright, familiar scent of hay and grass: the tell tale signs of some quality Virginia leaf. An additional hint of raisin makes the presence of perique known (and welcomed). These ingredients, in combination with a pinch of black Cavendish, are blended via a course ribbon cut. The completed offering is moist and slightly tacky.
Once packed, the dry-draw is mild. There appears to be an additional lurking presence of a sweet, honey-like aroma. The charring light explodes with the flavor of our mystery casing: maple.
The blend of bright Virginias are pleasant: a sweet, crystalized honey—with the occasional accent of Graham flour—are beautifully complemented by the spiced peppering of perique.
The natural sweetness of the Virginas are distinct from the artificial top note of maple that occasionally creeps in. The Va/per base is high quality, and similar to popular rolled coin cuts (that include black Cavendish); but the maple often reminds you that this is something different; and, personally, I'm not sure if that means altogether superior. Early on, the flavors can become muddled.
The second half of the bowl is sweet and grassy with the occasional pepper notes provided by the perique. The maple's aromatic quality fluctuates throughout the smoke, depending heavily on the amount of pre-drying time applied beforehand, pipe chosen, and smoking cadence; at times it's a pungent artificial breakfast topper, and at others, it's a pleasant burnt caramel.
By the final stretch, the maple and caramel flavors are too exhausted to fight on any longer, and the Va/per's characteristics are again allowed to become more pronounced.
The bowl burns cleanly to the bottom, with few re-lights required, and minimal moisture issues. The blend does have bite potential, but nothing that minimal care in technique can't remedy.
So, perhaps, for those looking for a mild to medium breakfast blend that can get you rised and shinin’, this offering can certainly satiate a craving. It can be an all day smoke for an aromatic lover's palate, but still present an interesting experiment in a Virginia smoker’s morning routine.
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