The bright and red Virginias provide a wealth of tart and tangy citrus, vegetative grass, bread, sugar, some tangy ripe dark fruit, floralness, earth, wood, light sour lemon, spice, and touches of cream, vinegar and acidity. The bright is a little more noticeable than the red, and their inherent sweetness allows them to be top team players. The dried plumy, peppery, earthy, woody, lightly sweet Saint James perique is nearly the equal of the Virginias mostly because the dried plum aspects of the perique virtually match the fruitiness for recognition. Otherwise, it plays a support role. The dark fired Kentucky produces a little earth, wood, herbs, floralness, spice, vegetation, smoky barbecue, mild dry sourness, and a hint of nuttiness. The Cyprian Latakia offers light smoke, earth, wood, musty sweetness, incense, floralness and vegetation. There is some interplay between the dark fired and Latakia as they occasionally rise past each other for attention. Overall, they are a variable slot or two above the condiment line, and generally form an important bass note to the experience. The strength and nic-hit are a couple of steps past the medium mark. The taste is a notch stronger. There’s no chance of bite or harshness, but there are a few small rough edges which are typical for this sort of blend. The broken flakes are mildly moist, and as per my usual custom, I did not dry them. It has a little inconsistent complexity, and burns cool, clean and slow with a fruity, peppery, floral, smoky, mildly sour flavor that extends to the moderately lingering, pleasant after taste. The room note is tolerable. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires a few more than an average number of relights. Not an all day smoke, but it is repeatable. Three and a half stars.
The broken flakes smell musky, tangy, sharp, and aren't too moist for imminent smoking. As they're rather well broken some can just be pinched, stuffed, puffed.
The smoke? Quite complex. There's a prominence of Virginias, sharp and ripe, but there's plenty going on behind these. The peppery Perique comes through clearly, has a spicy flavour. I find the fire-cured Kentucky brings a caustic smokiness; this really adds weight to the flavour. There's a touch of wood from the Latakia, this comes through after half a bowl. It burns perfectly, free from tongue bite.
Nicotine: above medium. Room-note: heavy but not bad.
Tin note of pungent smoky, dried fruit and wet wood. The brown flakes are moist but not tacky. They rub out easily and no drying needed. Burns slow with more than the normal amount of relights. The strength is medium and nic is mild to medium. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium, starting out strong, but mellows out quite a bit. Mostly consistent notes of sweet grass, lemon, toasted nuts, bread, dry earth, lightly smoked wood, mild tart plums, mild floral herbs, mild vinegar, and a mildly peppery retro. Virginias are leading with perique supporting. Kentucky and Latakia are keeping pace in the background. Room note is pleasant to tolerable, and aftertaste is outstanding.
Pipe Used: Wally Frank Limited White Bar Sandblast 128
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