Japan Tobacco ceased production of some blends including Momoyama and Asuka. As to Asuka, I was not discouraged with this news. Wetty cardboard with unpleasant chemical smell of poor Latakia. In my smoking history of fourteen years, I have tried Asuka three times and was disappointed every three times. Why not buy other blend like Dunhill Early Morning Pipe? The only advantage was relatively low price in Japan. JT will import new Asuka from MacBaren. I hope this new product is of better quality than old one.
My tin of Asuka is a little more than three years old and was bought in Japan. If there is any Latakia in this it is not apparent to my eyes, nose or tongue. Anyone approaching Asuka with expectations of Latakia is bound to be disappointed.
Visually it is an attractive melange of browns. On opening the tin there is a slight redolence of topping - a sourish, sweetish scent, much milder than in Momoyama. In the pipe the topping burns off fairly quickly, leaving a mild-mannered smoke. Taken as a Virginia with a slight flavouring, Asuka is not bad at all. It burns slowly and coolly, leaving a very fine gray ash.
Asuka leads to no epiphanies, but is a decent smoke which I can have all day without the melange cloying.
I'll preface by saying that I'm fairly new to English blends. I've been through a dozen or so tins of various English blends and by no means am I an expert. I've always been a Virginia/Perique man but I've come to enjoy Latakia more and more. On a recent trip to Japan I found a couple of 50gram tins of Asuka and I grabbed them. I had no idea what was inside but, being familiar with Momoyama, I figured it might be interesting. Interesting indeed. The tobacco looks exactly like Momoyama but instead of smelling like sweet chutney.. it's a very mild Latakia. I enjoyed it so much I went right back to the tobacco shop to stock up. Unfortunately for me, the salespeople told me I bought the last two tins and that it had been discontinued. Damn. Supposedly it's coming back in larger tins by a larger company.. But it may not be the same. This is a delicious blend. I don't know what's going on here but I love it. I'd love to hear from some Latakia vets that could steer me to a similar blend. There seems to be a sweetener here but it's light. I want to swallow it.. I want to chew it.. I want to chew my pipe! It's just plain yummy. I love Japan!
The only existing brand of Japan Tobacco Industry (JT) which is rich in latakia flavour. Not a refined mix when compared with Dunhill MyMixture965 but I believe it must give a contentment to novice latakia lovers. As ill luck would have it, the decreased demand of pipe tobaccoes in Japan, the foolish act of JT has brought the internal production of Asuka to an end.
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