Altadis bulk tobacco Caramello for me is harsh, hot and bites like a junkyard dog. I have a real chemical sensitivity to certain (not all) casings and top flavorings. When a blend is bad for me, I perceive the smoke as being hot, like steam, on the end of my tongue, and that blend burns my tongue and palate. The longer I smoke the worse it gets. Caramello for me is a 5-alarm aromatic that burns my tongue up. I have tried a half-dozen ways of smoking it (hate to waste tobacco) and have not found any way to smoke it straight without consequences.
The tin note is chocolate-caramel, with the chocolate predominating, as it does in the smoke. The room note is pretty good. For that matter, the tobacco seems of high quality. So I figure that they simply have chosen a casing or top that somehow chemically burns the taste buds and taste receptors on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. I am smoking a (very) small bowl of it as I write this, as is my habit when reviewing a blend, and it feels like it is taking a layer of skin off my tongue, and my nose is starting to run. It’s hard to assess the flavor under these conditions, but – trying to imagine the taste without the pain – the taste is OK. Caramello may work fine for other smokers without this particularly chemical sensitivity. Be especially careful lighting it; some people light and relight their pipes hot, meaning a lot of flame with hard, quick puffing. Don’t light Caramello hot like this.
Caramello is not available anywhere online that I could find, and B&M prices are so high that you can instead buy something similar but really good, such as 4Noggins’ Three Blind Moose or Trout Stream, Boswell’s No Bite DeLite or Cupcake, Sutliff’s wonderful Molto Dolce, Cup O’Joe’s #5 Bigfoot Flake or CAO’s Eileen’s Dream.
If you try it, let the tobacco dry out until nearly crackly, which helps a bit. This can be mixed with another similar chocolate or caramel blend to de-bite the Caramello; I mixed it with Eilleen’s Dream and could tell that it made the ED chemically hotter, though the flavor was still good. I won’t screw up another tin of ED like that. Whew, boys! By the way, don’t mix it with Five Brothers; they don’t jell at all, and that marriage is made down below.
I am not a harsh reviewer, to put it mildly. But I am giving Caramello one star because of the ferocious bite, and it is my very first one-star. Without the bite I suspect it would have been a two-star blend, but whatcha gonna do?
Pipe Used: Cob,
Age When Smoked: 3 months
Purchased From: Modern Age Tobacco, Gainesville, FL
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