A friend of mine gave me a ziploc with some 10g of this tobacco to try, saying that it had too little latakia for him. I think that the name of this blends says it all: while it contains latakia and Virginia, the real meat is in the Orientals. Actually, I think this is one of the most explicit lessons to those who want to understand what an oriental tobacco tastes like. Not the BEST lesson, but the most explicit, as the taste of this family of leaf clearly stands out above all the rest of the ingredients: a sweetish, sometimes spicy, sometimes ashy taste. Something like a Camel cigarette on steroids. The quality of the ingredients is certainly fine in this blend, but for me the problem is that it is not much of a blend... but rather, a showcase for the orientals. As such, it can become monochromatic and boring after a while: for my tastebuds, Orientals have to be balanced with other tobaccos and have not much interest in themselves if smoked in high percentages. Actually I think that this tobacco could be used to spice up some other blend lacking in orientals, or viceversa it could be better if one took the liberty of adding some red virginia and some latakia to make his own EM... but then again, I think that since it's not cheap one would do better in forgetting the idea and going for a nice balanced Virginia/Latakia/Orientals blend made by more expert hands like the ones of Greg Pease. Anyway, in spite of these doubts, and in spite of the fact that "orientals" is too much of a generic term (there are dozens of varieties, each with its own taste), Oriental is nice as a "crash course" in understanding the taste and nuances of this family of tobaccos. And if you like them, you might also enjoy this blend neat more than I did!
This tobacco is the closest I have smoked to Fox?s Campanile. It is not as strong nor as rich, but the accent is definitely on the Oriental leaf in wonderful interrelation with matured Virginias. Softly flavoursome, naturally sweet and earthy, this blend is a very good change of pace between a straight Viriginia and a full English rotation. The Latakia is present but in a very distant mode and itsburning qualities make it a very agreeable and palatble smoke anytime in between mid morining and mid afternoon.
I recommend this as an excellent introduction to Virginia/Oriental mixtures. Soft, rich and polite.
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