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Four blackened tobaccos with streaks of fragrant African shag.

Three distinct blackened varietals (Kentucky, Virginia, burley) cased lightly with a mix of traditional flavors. Condimental African varietals of Virginia and burley in shag form. The blackened Orientals (Latakia) are used lightly in the Scottish tradition, but this mixture defies classification.

BrandKen Byron Ventures
Blended ByKen Byron
Manufactured ByKen Byron Ventures
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBurley, Kentucky, Latakia, Virginia
FlavoringCocoa / Chocolate, Vanilla
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild, Mild to Medium, Medium
Mild to Medium
Room Note
3 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2647)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

The smoky, woody, earthy, musty sweet Cyprian Latakia is the lead component by a small margin. The various non-stoved African Virginias and Malawi burley offer a lot of earth, nuts and wood, bread, some fermented tangy dark fruit with a little tart and tangy, sugary citrus and cocoa along with strong floral, vegetative, herbal notes, and a few pinches of spice. They play a close second place as well as above their percentage in the mix. The earthy, woody, herbal, vegetative, floral, toasty, lightly sugary, slightly spicy, stewed nutty Kentucky is in a potent secondary position. The fermented, sugary stewed, tangy dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready, stoved Virginia participates in a lesser support role. The dark chocolate and vanilla toppings moderately sublimate and smooths out most of the rough edges. The strength is a step over the medium threshold, while the taste is a rung higher. The nic-hit is close to the medium mark. No chance of bite or harshness. A mildly moist shag cut, it burns cool, clean, and a tad slow. It has a complex, slightly inconsistent, deeply rich, sweet and moderately floral, savory, light campfire flavor that translates to the pleasantly lingering after taste, and sweeter room note. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires some relights. Not an all day smoke, but those experienced in stronger blends will find it easily repeatable. Three and a half stars out of four.


11 people found this review helpful.

OhioTony76 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OhioTony76 (55)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

So, I’m only the second person to review this blend, after JimInks. That’s a hard act to follow. But here goes nothing. I’m not sure what JimInks smoked, but it couldn’t have been Moriarty. This tobacco isn’t anywhere near as complex as his review. Not only is it not complex, it’s generic and boring to the point of Captain Black. When I received this in the foil bag, it was sopping wet. After one bowl, I set it away for 5 months in its original packaging. Today I pulled out the bag and packed a bowl in my 673. The bag note was wonderful. The tobacco was at perfect moisture. The bowl burned flawless with great smoke output, few relights and the pipe stayed dry. That’s where the good ends, and the meh begins. The Latakia in this is very, very soft, and only leaves you with a slightly smoky aftertaste at best. Which is odd, because the tobacco is almost all black. The only other leaf detectable is a very basic burley and Virginia taste that most pipe smokers would relate to an OTC or inexpensive aromatic tobacco. The topping, after 5 months in the bag, was not offensive. It was not sugar sweet, and leaned more towards herbal and mild flowers. The room note was probably this blends best quality. Who knows. Maybe that’s what the blender was aiming for. The problem with the Ken Byron blends (in my humble opinion), is that they list a wonderful and exotic combination of tobaccos in their description, and the taste just doesn’t deliver. I love his packaging and the jar labels. The flat cost including shipping is really easy. But the experience I have had when it comes to Ken Byron is that his blends end up muddled and washed out. His product is marketed as ‘exotic’ aromatics, but they really just end up being big disappointments.

9 people found this review helpful.

JohnnyMcPiperson Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JohnnyMcPiperson (117)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Ok so I’m somewhere between the previous two reviews on this one. I do feel like everything was a bit muddled for me, didn’t detect the aromatic flavors, to me it was a run of the mill Scottish mixture, similar to, but not as good as Red Rapparee or Squadron Leader. I didn’t love it or hate it, just ok. I have liked some of the other stuff from KBV, but I probably won’t get this one again.

Pipe Used: Meerschaum Billiard

Age When Smoked: Fresh (set out to dry for 15 minutes or so)

Purchased From: Ken Byron Ventures

Similar Blends: Red Rapparee, Squadron Leader, Early Morning Pipe, Cárter Hall.

3 people found this review helpful.