Loving both Perique and Latakia, and given the description of this blend on Dan Pipe's website, this was a natural order for me to make.
Opening the tin, the VA is still foremost (I had tried the No. 2 of this series -- without Latakia in it -- before), but there is this more-than-just-a-hint of smokiness in there. The leaf is the same long ribbon with some ready-rubbed and accordingly stuffs easily into just about any pipe.
The taste, though, is something else. In both taste and room note, the Latakia is noticeable, but just barely so, on the first look. But on the tongue, the addition of the Latakia makes a huge difference; the taste is sweet without being sugary, and has a strong malty note to it; the Perique adds its pepper and is still the defining component, but the combination of both of these with strong, aged VA is purely brilliant IMHO.
Totally beautiful, I heavily recommend. A good dry Shiraz or Single Malt Highland whiskey are good accompaniments.
Addition, February 2012: I have smoked this blend in a pub (yes, in some pubs you are still allowed to smoke...) and got very complimentary comments on the room note. It seems one makes more friends than enemies with this one. Could somebody please introduce a fifth star? And I'd have to add that this also works rather well with a pint of Guinness.
Pipe Used: VAUEN Standard series, DB Mayflower
Age When Smoked: Ranging from new tin through 2 years
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