The Beagle recently won "Best in Show" at Westminster. Watching that show reminded me that I had never reviewed the Nording Beagle from the Hunter seris and I had actually smoked a tin over a month's period just a short while back. It is a winner for me because the Virginia was stoved and dark, with a richer, more satisfying taste than many VaPer's that I have tried. The Perique was added with a restrained hand and it is not at all overwhelming.
Not having smoked a blend with perique I was perhaps a bit anxious and leery about this blend. I must confess that the only reason for trying this was that for years I raised beagles and figured what the hell I love the breed so the blend must be good. Opened the tin and was met by a strong vinagery aroma...must be the perique...a little off putting. Packed well, lit well and God, I was in heaven. Surprisingly the smoke tasted of green olives...not a bad thing...love green olives. I wouldn't call this an everyday smoke, but it does well when layered or mixed with your regular blends. By itself I would call it a very good change of pace smoke. Rating is 3 stars only because I can't see smoking this daily by itself.
5/15/13...have become a Perique junkie...God, help me...Has made it into my daily rotation and deserves an unqualified 4 stars.
I do believe that this is the same blend from McClelland... Bulk No.2015 Virginia Flake. Can anybody confirm or deny? :)
They both look identical. Smell identical and smoke the same. Wonderful VaPer blend. See my review of McClelland Bulk No.2015 Virginia Flake to see my comments. Sweet, rich, tangy, and just soooo pleasant... Good stuff!
The tobacco arrives as semi-broken flakes: there's a few broken flakes, big and small, but the majority of my tin consists of flakes that look as though they've only been slightly bashed about. The tin note's quite good, as a fellow reviewer said: sweet hay. The blend's moistness is unquestionably perfect, so on we go:
It lights easily, even though I leave the tobacco chunky, and then the smoke's very satisfying. The Perique lends a gentle spiciness to the flavour, without hogging it; to me, it seems to be a little sharper than fruity alone. This slight sharpness makes it pair with ginger beer perfectly (ginger beer, I'm teetotal!!). The Virginia's responsible for a lot more of the taste: this isn't just citrus, or hay, there's quite a pleasing sweetness, with a touch of dough.
The nicotine's medium, and I feel indifferent towards the room-note.
Too bad only four stars are available to rate this incredible VaPer blend. I absolutely love this stuff. I'm not really a fan of Perique but I find its presence in only the first quarter to one third of the bowl or so and nearly non- existent thereafter. After the presence of perique burns off you are left with nothing but smooth and creamy sweet Virginia for the rest of the experience burning down to a fine gray ash. I discovered Beagle when a trader friend tossed some in as an extra sample for a try. Wow!, was I glad he did. I immediately sent off for a tin. Before Beagle came along I had tried some Va/Per's but was not impressed at all. With some the perique presence nearly ripped my sinuses out of my head and others had something going on with the Virginia that created some terrible stuff. Beagle is truly a Va/Per masterpiece.
The tobacco was in very broken flake form, but perhaps that was just this tin. A very straight forward VaPer, the Virginias were darker than I expected, so for me this would have been better as an autumn smoke than a summer one. The Perique was far from overpowering, but provided a very nice structure for the Virginias. VaPer fans, and those who like Va's on the slightly darker side would likely enjoy this. Since I know there are many tobaccos out there I would rate a 4, the question arises would I rebuy this particular tobacco, assuming my tastes don't change much more. In this case, the answer is maybe, but I haven't yet.
Nicely prepared pressed flake with yellow to dark brown strains from McClelland made for Arango Cigar in IL. Ideal moisture content straight from the tin that I just packed without rubout. Also lacked the intense ketchup aroma that I dislike of some other McClelland blends although it's there to some degree. Cool, even smoke in all sized bowls without the need for relights. Nice balance between the VAs and Perique resulted in an enjoyable smoke.
A beautiful looking broken flake with a few full flakes. Tin aroma is the rich raisiny smell of a quality VaPer. The initial light and first ¼ of the bowl is a medium tasting balanced Virginia. Neither sweet, sour or grassy. Almost boring. Afterwards the Perique starts kicking in with the Virginia adding a light richness and a little spice. Continuing on the Perique picks up strength but never goes beyond a medium spice. Towards the end the Perique becomes mild and everything settles into a pleasant VaPer. I smoked on an empty stomach in the AM and didn't even notice any nicotine. This is not a tinned version of McClelland - Bulk No. 2015 Virginia Perique Flake.
The tobacco arrives as a broken flake, and not as wet as some flakes can be. It is broken to the point that makes additional rubbing out unnecessary. I usually smoke this directly from the tin without drying, gravity filling the pipe with just a little compacting with my pipe tool. The tobacco will expand during combustion, so I'm careful not to pack too tightly.
The tin aroma is a slightly sweet hay, and a hint of that sweetness is carried into the burn. I cannot pick out the spiciness of the perique as this is a smooth and mild smoke. The tobacco is easy to light for a broken flake and burns completely, with minimal condensation and absolutely no tongue bite.
It is a quality leaf, but the flavor profile is a little boring for my abused palate. I enjoy it to absently puff upon while my mind is otherwise occupied, however it is not a tobacco that I find myself craving.
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