The tangy, dark fruity, earthy, woody, sugary, bready, lightly floral and spicy fourteen year old red Virginias take a very small lead over the other components. The stoved Virginias provide a lot of sugary tangy stewed fruit, wood, earth, and some tangy dark fruit as a strong supporting player. Even though the mildly tart and tangy citrusy, grassy, floral, slightly acidic, spicy and sugary bright Virginias play a secondary role, they aren’t far behind the stoved Virginias in terms of their effect. The spicy, stewed raisiny, plumy, earthy, figgy, woody perique has a little force, being twenty percent of the mixture. Has an extremely mild citrus topping. The strength is medium, and the taste level is a step past that mark. The nic-hit is almost medium. Won’t bite or get harsh. The combined tobaccos spent some time in a fermentation chamber before they ready for market. Well melded and balanced, you’ll notice virtually all of the aforementioned nuances in every puff. It burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a very consistent tangy sweet and spicy, lightly floral flavor that translates to the pleasantly lingering after taste, and room note. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Can be an all day smoke for the veteran, and repeatable for the less experienced.
This is a Virginia / Perique mix with the perique at 20%. I’m not a huge fan of strong perique blends but this is fantastic. The Virginias take the lead and their sweetness mellows the perique out considerably and gives it the right amount of balance. This is an all around enjoyable smoke. The taste last throughout the bowl. Usually strong Perique mixes will burn my nose when I retrohale but not here. I would definitely add this to my rotation if I can acquire some more.
The leaf is a medium cut ribbon with light tan-virginias mixed with dark, almost black perique. It has the ideal moisture right after opening. The jar-note is reminiscent of a deep balsamic vinegar with undertones of acidic fruits. Packed medium density it lights pretty easily and the flavor is consistent all the way to the end of the bowl. From the first puff it's a flash of sunlight, a pop of sweet berry and plum flavor on the tongue. I'd compare it to the smell-taste one gets after eating a home-made berry pie. It does not require any retrohale to experience this flavor but using this method the balsamic note from the jar comes through and the experience is a little more savory. It takes me back to those road-side produce and baked goods stands that would pop up in the New York countryside during the summers.
I got zero bite from this despite some hard pulls and the smoke is quite light on the tongue. You could conceivably smoke several bowls back to back equally as enjoyably. It burns evenly and to a fine ash which taps easily from the bowl.
Until recently I wasn't a huge VaPer fan preferring range of Latakia blends and a few straight virginias. This changed my mind, if you can get it: buy it. Ken Byron is emerging as a blender whose products can compete at the highest levels of quality, complexity and just straight forward pleasure. This is aided greatly by his use of very high end, pre-aged tobaccos. I don't think he could scale this kind of quality up due to sourcing issues but he seems to just focus on creating the best product he can and I'm happy he remains, for now, a hidden gem. This blend is no exception.
Pipe Used: Morgan Bones Stubby Pot, Castello Sea Rock Dublin
Boy oh boy can you smell the Perique in VEO! Coupled with the sweet and sour bready, raisin notes of the Virginias, I couldn't wait to smoke this one!
Appears to be comprised of three tobaccos; Red Va, Bright Va and Perique. Ships in a mylar vac-packed bag, this comes a bit moist. You can actually compress this between your fingers and it will form a cake. I proceeded to pack lightly and with caution, knowing this may pack too tightly.
Initial lighting takes a few go-rounds. I had found this smokes and taste the best in a tall, narrow bowl. I had burn issues with wider shallow bowls.
Dare I say this is McClelland-esque? It has similar sour fermented quality, but heavier bready notes. This blend is very well balanced, slightly sweet, and high quality. It can bite if pushed.
I first baulked at paying the higher cost for a handful of KBV blends, but I'm glad I did. I know understand the cost of being a smaller blender, and have no problem paying for small batch blends now. Great job Ken!
Not your normal Va/Per. The note from the pouch is (to be frank) a little funky verging on the "What have you been spreading on the garden?" The flavour is really interesting. The aged nature of the Perique seems to have removed the nose-tingling spiciness and left the rich stewed fruit element. Very mellow smoke. The first few times I smoked it in a small billiard and felt the strength was quite mild. I then tried it in my Eldritch Pipes billiard, which is a bit of a beast, to say the least. That time I found the vitamin N and it was quite robust! Well worth a try.
This is my go to for KBV blends, tangy and tart, nice amount of sweetness from the Virginia and nice amount of perique! Burns very nicely with maybe 1 relight. Very nice odor out of the Mylar bag, which is a plus! A must try!!
Pipe Used: Eldritch acorn and Eldritch smooth strawberry
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