Astley's No.88 Matured Dark Virginia

Deep flavored, heat cured, naturally fermented and matured black cavendish.
Notes: Originally blended in England.


Brand Astley's
Blended By  
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Black Cavendish
Flavoring Other / Misc
Cut Ready Rubbed
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

2.50 / 4





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Displaying 21 - 22 of 22 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 09, 2023 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Pleasant
One word to describe this blend might be, subtle. The tin note is deep and rich, with notes of caramelized brown sugar. Probably one of my favorite tin aromas. The smoke, however, is much more subdued and at times is almost flavorless. Whenever the flavor does come through it really is something special if you like dark / red Virginia.

My main issue with this blend is that it’s like listening to a song you like, but someone keeps changing the volume between puffs. There are times when it hits all the right notes and tics all the right boxes, and then suddenly the tangy fermented dark Virginia flavor just disappears for a while. If you puff on it too hard in an attempt to find the flavor it starts to get a bit bitey, so I find it’s best to just wait for it to come back.

I don’t really care for nicotine and don’t actively seek it out, but this has one of the best nic hits IMO. It’s a soft and understated buzz that just kind of sneaks up on you that I find mildly relaxing. I haven’t really gotten this from any other tobacco and actually find it quite pleasant, though it can get a bit too strong if I retrohale too much in the hunt for flavor.

The flavor does seem to become more present and deeper towards the middle and bottom of the bowl, and this is where I find it becomes dangerously close to becoming a perfect smoke. At risk of an eye roll or two, it even vaguely reminds me of McClelland Virginia at times, though I’d never claim this to be a match or even a distant alternative. I could see this having some blending potential, but for the not-bulk price and it being a bit harder to find it’d probably be a bit of a waste to do so.

I’d also add that this is probably one of the least “beginner friendly” tobaccos I’ve smoked, as you definitely have to come to it and go at a crawl of a pace to get any enjoyment out of it. That being said, it’s probably very rewarding to veteran pipe smokers that know what they’re getting into with blends like this. I’ll have to keep coming back to this one, as I see it has a lot of potential to be a favorite, but the mechanics hold it back just a notch for me.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 14, 2007 Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
i'm smoking a 17 years opened tin which has been humified several times. it still tastes just about the same as i remember back then, but of course there's a lot less tin aroma.

it is, as others have noticed, rather bland in an aromatic way, but not sweet in the typical german/danish sense. it's a classical old fashioned english cavendish (can't say, of course if it still is, but judging from the other reviews i'd say it is).

as such, it is not that interesting to smoke on its own (and it isn't, really, supposed to), but try mixing it with a light virginia like fribourg & treyers golden mixture - it's quite surprising what it does to a blend.

astley's #44 isn't available in denmark anymore, but in the old days it contained a bit of the same sort of cavendish as #88. don't know if it still does.

(edited to correct the number of years i've had this tin: not 10 - 17!)
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