The smoky, woody, earthy, musty sweet Cyprian Latakia is the lead component. The mildly buttery sweet, fairly sour, dry, woody, earthy, floral, herbal, smoky, very spicy Orientals take second place, and occasionally almost equals the Latakia. The green candela cigar leaf provides a little citrus, grassy vegetation, tea, cedar, hint of pepper, some smoke, a touch of wood and a moderate floral quality as a strong supporting player. Next in the line up is the stoved Virginia, which provides a lot of tangy stewed, fermented dark fruit, earth, wood, bread, and sugar. The earthy, tangy fermented ripe dark fruity, woody, sugary, bready, lightly floral and spicy matured red Virginia is a rung above being a condiment. The light licorice topping slightly tones down the tobaccos, and helps smooth out some of the rough edges as well as acting as a smoothing agent. It doesn’t weaken the complexity of the varietals much at all. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is a step short of the medium mark. Won’t bite or get harsh. Well balanced and nuanced, it burns cool and clean at a reasonable rate with a mostly consistent, lightly creamy, mildly sweet, spicy, rather savory flavor that translates to the lingering campfire after taste. Has a touch of sour, too. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. The room note is pleasant to tolerable. Can be an all day smoke.
This is a deep, deep english with a twist. The leaf is a medium rough ribbon which has some chestnut flakes some dark brown to black and flecks of faded green from the candela leaf. Just by looking at the leaf you can tell that the virginia has some real age on it, mine had some light crystals already. The jar-note is a deep, musty pine, latakia forward and a little acidity from the virginia. The candela comes through slightly boggy and adds a pleasant harmony. The component tobaccos are some of the highest quality I've seen and a great example of what a small batch blender can do better than any larger institution.
Definitely pack it a little loose as it wants to breathe. It takes a few lights to get going but damn, it's an english you can sink right into. The smoke is thick and latakia forward but the virginia props it up with a little acidic tang. The candela adds a different kind of presence than many englishes have, it makes it feel (not taste) old. Takes me to a slightly foggy forest at dusk with patches of moss on the forest floor and the pungent tang of some downed logs decomposing. Excellent on the retrohale with a dimension like a musty basement.
A little dark, a little creepy but still cozy. Ken Byron hit exactly the vibe I think he was trying to go for and I love it. One of my favorite english blends, Unfortunately I doubt it'll be back any time soon. If you like deep englishes and you can find it do yourself a favour.
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