The musty, leathery, mildly sweet Cyprian Latakia provides a moderate amount of earth, wood, smoke, floralness, vegetation, some herbs, and mild spice as it takes a small lead. The Katerini Oriental offers some smoke, earth, wood, herbs, floralness, vegetation, stewed creamy sweet and sourness, spice, and light incense as a close competitor that occasionally equals the effect of the Latakia. The tangy ripe dark fruity, earthy, woody, bready, mildly sugary, floral, lightly spicy red Virginia produces secondary support. The “special” Virginia/burley supplies some tart and tangy citrus, grass, bread, sugar, vegetation, floralness, light sour lemon, earth, wood, spice, and a hint of nuts. They are a couple of steps above the condiment line. The casings are fruity, and very mildly tone down the tobaccos. The strength is a notch past the medium threshold. The taste is a step past that mark. The nic-hit is medium. There’s no chance of bite or harshness, and barely has any rough edges. The easily broken apart crumble cake is mildly moist, and although I did not dry it as per my custom, your mileage may vary. Well balanced with some nuanced complexity, it burns cool, clean and a little slow with a mostly consistent smoky, creamy sweet, floral, spicy, fruity, mildly sour, deeply rich, rather smooth flavor that extends to the pleasantly lingering after taste.The room note is a little pungent. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires some relights. Not an all day smoke, but it is repeatable. Four stars.
This is the forth release of 6 blends I was fortunate enough to be involved with when they were developed a year ago by Per Georg Jensen. I was one of a lucky few that volunteered and were used by Per as “Guinea Pigs”…not really but we did over the course of about 5 hours including lunch taste and review all 6 blends for Per. He had developed all 6 over the course of as many days and all are unique in their own way and all of them have been winners in my book and Eccentric is no exception!!!
The basic concept here is an English blend but the results are a very interesting and delicious English blend. I smoke a lot of Latakia forward English blends but I can’t think of any that taste close enough to Eccentric to offer a comparison, like the other 5 blends it is unique. There is enough Cyprian Latakia to let you know it there in its smoky, woodsy, earthy way but it’s not a bomb, it’s well balanced and complimented by the second major player, Katerini. This is where the lines between English and Balkan get blurry as though the next major player is the Katerini it isn’t as forward as say a solid Balkan but it’s not as far back as an English which has Virginia as it’s second place leaf. This Katerini was from an older treasured batch from Mark Ryan and is of superb quality. It adds it’s own smoky taste along with the herbal and floral notes but with a more gentle and smoother way than the typical “Oriental” blends used. A gentle spice and incense note is there as well. Between the Latakia and the Katerini they almost seem to present themselves hand in hand instead of one solidly in-front of the other.
The Virginia comes next with its sweetness in combination a supportive dose of burley. This mix plays very well in the back ground to support and balance the two main players. There are some nice dark fruity notes and some tang, bready, lightly sugary flavors. There is some grassiness and nuttyness, brown sugar, earthiness too. That’s the hard part of trying to describe this blend, it’s got a lot subtle nuances that swirl and blend and play around as you smoke. It was easier telling which leaf was doing what when it was days old last year. Things were more defined but not anywhere as complex and at that time it had some hard edges and rough spots but all of those have aged out.
The bottom line result is a blend that is hard to describe as far as specifics but easy to recommend and announce as wonderful and delicious!!! The taste is above medium and is very full to me, the slight hints of casings are tough to sense and separate but they play nicely with the leaf. The strength is a notch above medium and it produces a nice amount of smoke with a nice mouth feel. The room note is hard for me as I have no one to help with that but I would say it’s not offensive but noticeable. The crumble cake flakes break up easily into a very easily handled loose tobacco that lights well and stays lit pretty well, smokes dry and cool too. It smokes beautifully with lots of nice tasty smoke that will not bite and that is as smooth as any blend I’ve ever smoked. It’s creamy and consistent but smoke it slow and cool and you will find all sorts of little nuances hiding in your bowl. Bottom line is it’s wonderful blend I highly recommend to anyone even if they aren’t a big Latakia lover. 4 out of 4
Tin note of smoky, mildly sweet, and sour. The marbled brown, black and dark brown plug is over 1/2 inch thick and dense. Recommend a knife to trim off what you need. Moisture content is good to go, dry but soft. Tobacco rubs out easily. Burns slow with a few relights. The strength is mild to medium and nic is mild. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium and somewhat consistent, with notes of very floral, smoky, confectionary sugar, wood, spiced bread, musty/peaty, earth, fermented vegetation, mildly spicy, bitter dryness, acidic, herbal incense, vinegary sour, a tangy citrus background note, and a peppery retro. Latakia is leading with Virginia and Oriental/Turkish supporting. Burleys are supporting from afar. Room note is tolerable, and aftertaste is outstanding.
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