I never tried the K&K version, but my tins were all from the Murray's 1980s era and it was a dandy of a smoke. I just finished my last tin and was surprised to see I had not reviewed this one because I have notes dating back to 1988 that match my thoughts of the bowls I just smoked over the last few days. Deep and Rich ribbon cut Virginia leaf. Earlier notes indicated a variety of Virginia tobaccos due to the varying shades, but the leaf was coal black and full of sugar crystals when I opened that last tin. And boy, was it richly rewarding with depth as deep as the Ocean and I could puff like a freight train and get nothing but gentle, deep and sweet Virginia flavor. Magnificent stuff.
Ever since finding my first tin of G. Smith's wonderful creations a few years ago, I've been on a quest to find the others. This jet-black ribbon mixture is my latest find and it sports a rich and hefty "foresty" note (grass and wood) in the tin. The paper covering the blend was darkly stained and the mixture was fairly dry, lending credence to my belief that any flat tine, round or square, loses moisture over time. This tin was over 30 years old.
No sugar crystals to balance out the midnight black tobacco, which as I understand it was a lighter brown to blonde when fresh. Lemon virginia deepens in both flavor and color over the course of several years, more so than its darker cousins. As I've said many times, this is why I've stockpiled hundreds of tins of Cut Virginia Plug and Butera's Golden Cake, as I'm hoping that those two, excellent fresh, will blossom into something like this one. Rich tasting without being forceful, compelling in its complexity, with a mellow wood note to balance the grassiness. Some earth and a bevy of spices as well. This is straight virginia at its finest! Not so complex as to call too much attention to itself, but it exhibits several moderate transitions throughout the bowl. Sometimes the spice is front and center and other times it's just a mellow, sweet hay and grass. I can't place the flavoring but it's very light and doesn't detract. This blend continues the tradition of G. Smith and Sons, a blender that I had never experienced "back in the day". I wish they were still around!
Current blender believed to be Kohlhase, Kopt; previously Murray & Sons of Belfast.
The latest blend is mediocre, sadly. I smoked this before blending went to Murray's and it was a wonderful tobacco in its original cut and blend and the natural sweetness was delightful. Tolerable even after Murray's took it on and 'ribboned' it - originally this was pure burley in well rubbed-out form.
Today it contains dark tobaccos (unknown) mixed and a pronounced cavendish texture and flavour, although I would describe the cut as more 'shag' as opposed to 'ribbon' - it's harsh and seriously bites back, even to the more experienced smoker.
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