It is pure Havana tobacco. The country is Cuba. If you like cigars, you can smoke it all alone, but it is very strong and it is not the same pleasant smoke you could have with a real havana cigar. The best thing is to use it as a blending tobacco. Really it is very difficult to find a pure havana tobacco for pipe. This is not exceptional, but it is quite good. My mark is 6.
This is intended to be a blending tobacco, in a small quantity it's able to enhance a dull English mixture or give a spicy turn to a Virginia. Smoked alone? Well...best wishes!!! It's really strong, difficult to keep lit, it bites (not a lot, but it does) and leaves a room aroma than nobody will like. The package is a wonderful brick, easy to rub, very dry but it won't become dust very easily. It's handy to have it around for some blend corrections, but don't think that you're going to smoke a Partagas cigar in your pipe with this: a completely different world.
Wow. This put me on my butt. I've got a couple of cakes of this stuff stored away. I don't think it needs any special care, as it's dryer than King Tutankhamen and will preserve just as well.
It is most certainly the sweepings off the floor at the Partagas factory and run over by a steamroller. Tastes and smells like a cigar (duh.) The only think I've smoked that's been harsher than this tobacco is full-leaf Iranian tobacco smoked in a gourd water pipe (Narghile.)
If you try this, smoke it in a pipe with a very easy draw. Puff gently and you will taste and smell what strong and spicy cuban tobacco is all about. Have a few matches handy, you will need them as you will discover your pipe has gone out after waking from a brief mini-coma. Don't smoke around people who hate cigars. If the tobacco doesn't put you on your rear, they most certainly will.
I finally cracked my dry 1 pound brick of Partagas, expecting it to smell/taste slightly different from a cigar (why I thought this, I don't know). It smells/tastes like a cigar. I'm reminded of an old German film("M"), where men are smoking stubby cigars lodged into their pipes, perhaps to keep their fingers free of the muddy brown of the smoke.
As others have suggested, I'm going to use this as a blender, (O Jeez, not another amateur!) and I am hopeful I won't completely ruin some nice, mild virginians, etc. with this dark snake bite. I will use it as one would a hot sauce. When I want a pipe, I don't want a cigar.
A friend of mine gave me this tobacco just to try. I enjoy smoking cigars once or twice a year so this tobacco should be good to me. The first bowl I liked it (the discovery of a new blend maybe). The second I've found it too dry and too tasty. The third and last it was the same even remoistened. Maybe some cigars smokers can enjoy it but I found it too tasty (almost overwhelming in the end of the bowl) for me.
Well, I'll confess it right here: I don't get it. Maybe the cake that I purchased and smoked while in Estonia last fall was a little on the stale side, or not properly stored at all times by the merchant that I purchased it from in Tallinn? Or...maybe this is just rough stuff. One curious point is that it's foil wrapping doesn't even seem to be airtight; it could be that this is designed to be stored in a walk-in humidor, in keeping with the 'cigar' concept of it... I'm not totally convinced that this cake was purchased in it's intended condition and I'm currently trying to see if 'reviving' it, sealed in a plastic baggy with a humidifying button, kept damp with distilled water, will bring this back to life. If this makes a significant difference in a few weeks, I'll edit and re-write parts of this review accordingly.
I approached the Partagas flake with an open mind, trying it in a tiny-bowled Peterson calabash, a Dunhill poker, and a few others, and -- in all cases it was a somewhat punishing experience on the palate, whether puffed very delicately or cooked up a bit more with stronger pulls. And, by the way, in my cigar days I liked the strong ones.
I also added a pinch of it to a 2/3rds tinful of very mild stoved VA flake, thinking that it might spice it up a little or enhance the flake ... well, I threw the whole remaining amount out after destroying it with just a few grams of this stuff! I doff my hat to the master blenders: it's a skill of real craftsmanship and experience.
My main favorites are un-sauced latakia blends and straight Virginias...so I'm not really a meek pipester. But this stuff takes the gloves off and doesn't let up! So if that's your cup of tea, try to find a brick. Per Sasha's review below, in the right hands this may indeed make a decent blending element, sparking a tabac that needs a little spice or intensity; but on its own, Picadura Granulata approaches the territory of straight Perique in the sense that, like perique, it would probably a hardy, steady-on-their-feet smoker to enjoy it on by itself. It must be just right for somebody out there -- perhaps a thousand Cuban pipe smokers will jeer and howl with laughter at this review as they blow hearty Partagas Picadura smoke rings at their computer screens ...
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