Compton's tobaccos receive a lot of hype and they deserve it all. This has the mouthfeel of a classic English blend without any latakia, and I get the impression that latakia would not improve it. As flavorful and satisfying as any latakia blend, this is predominately oriental in nature, with some sweetness from the Cavendish and VA. The orientals are musty, smoky, buttery and spicy. Sweet meets savory in this excellently conceived blend. And yes, it can be described as creamy. There's so much to this one that it's hard to put into words.
This also has possibly the best sidestream aroma of any tobacco I've ever smoked, as well as a smoky delicious room note. Doesn't seem very high in nicotine but the flavors will satisfy. No bite here - not even close. This is a smooth tobacco, and extremely complex. Scottish blends (if that term has any meaning) are probably my favorite among the English/Scottish/Balkan continuum because they tend to be soft yet full of flavor, and perfect at any time of day. This is one of those that can be smoked first thing in the morning, after a meal or before bed. This is the consummate oriental, no latakia blend. Reminds me of a couple of blends from the past. Absolutely excellent!
The Orientals are slightly dry, buttery sweet and woody with a little spice as the lead component. The unsweetened black cavendish adds some brown sugar for some smoothness in the background. The Virginia has a little earth and grass, plus some citrus and fruit, acting as a foundation for the other ingredients to play off. The nic-hit is just past the mild level. A well balanced mixture that burns moderately, cool and clean with a very creamy consistent flavor. Won't bite and has no dull or harsh spots. Needs few relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. Has a pleasant after taste that lingers a mite.
I thought I had already reviewed this blend and double checked. I have. So, at the risk of sounding repetitive - Reserve #21 is my favorite English style blend in the Compton's lineup. The room fills with smoke quickly from the strong Latakia presence that is balanced beautifully by the black Cavendish. The Virginia/Oriental element is far off in the background but noticeable.
An outstanding, classic English blend. The Orientals dominate this smoke. I think I taste a lot of Drama or similar Macedonian leaf. Although their is no Latakia, there is a very smoky and savory aroma that is very similar. Reminds me of Samuel Gawith's Skiff Mixture. The bottom of the bowl turns pleasantly sweet.
Loose rIbbons are easy to keep lit. The Mylar-foil-plastic bag is convenient and keeps it fresh. I wish others would adopt this packaging.
Worth the price, but be prepared to wait weeks or months for your order.
update: since my original review a little over one month ago, this blend seems to have developed a good deal. the sweetness which was a bit too pronounced when i recieved it, now seems to blend in perfectly with the orientals. possibly it's a matter of the flavours having now settled down and melded, as it was probably very freshly blended back then. it is now the perfect oriental blend. the taste is perfectly balanced, and the orientals are extremely spicy. room note is delicious, much like the smoke from birchwood.
very highly recommended.
original review, october 2008: up till now, the compton's blends i've tried have all been exceptional. alas, this one doesn't quite do it for me. as usual, the raw tobaccos are very fine quality, but the blender has, imo, been too generous with the black cavendish. there's too much sweetness here, leaving too little room for the orientals.
it's a nice and smooth blend, and i may return to it once in a while, but (rather surprisingly) it is'nt my favourite oriental.
Possibly the perfect tobacco. Sweet, smoky, spicy, creamy. Were I allowed only one tobacco, this would do it. It comes from pipes2smoke ready to smoke, the flavor being like a mac truck with finesse. No tongue bite or bitterness. It packed and smoked well in all my pipes, but especially in an old group 3 Rattray Lovat, from the family era. I thought that was appropriate as this has eclipsed Black Mallory, in my eyes, as the perfect Scottish Mixture. Apparently others think so as well, as it frequently is out of stock.....I mean...this is crap, buy Dunhill (joke). Expensive, but well worth it. Now a classic in my eyes, it can sit proudly with its long fathers Rattray, Cotton and 3Nuns. Now, three Huzzahs men. HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!
Well gentlemen, here we are. The much talked about Reserve #21 added to the database.
As a latakia devotee, I have yet to be truly satisfied by a blend that doesn't contain any. That is, until now.
It is my opinion that this tobacco is what many other English blends wish they were. The natural flavour and aroma are opulent and exotic. The balance of tobaccos, and moisture in the pouch, are perfect. The foil pouch assures ideal storage.
I don't lament the absence of latakia, but I am surprised that a blend could cover such a broad spectrum of oriental essence without it. Ideal afternoon smoke.
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