I absolutely fell in love with this blend after grabbing a tin off of eBay a couple of years ago. Deep and dark shag cut with an old fashioned, natural casing of some sort combined to make the Virginia and Burley really shine. Lots of strength in this one and the rich, deep flavor of both was mesmerizing. The tobacco, I guess due to the cut, burns really fast, but without heat or bite. I sure wish this tobacco was still on the cyber-shelves!
The mildly grassy, citrusy, lightly earthy Virginias take a lead over the nutty, woody, earthy burley. There appears to be a touch of Oriental and Java tobaccos in the mix, and they offer a very light floral, woody, dry, earthy, herbal, buttery sweetness far in the background. The topping isn’t strong, and I can’t define it, though I sense a drop or two of caramel. There may be something else as well. Either way, the toppings accent the varietals, and do not sublimate them. The strength and nic-hit are mild, while the taste is a couple steps past that mark. Even though this is one of the fastest burning shag blends I have ever smoked, it won’t bite or get hot, and has no roughness. Burns cool and clean with a very consistent, mildly sweet, lightly creamy flavor from top to bottom. Barely leaves a trace of dampness in the bowl, and hardly needs relights. Has a very short lived, pleasant after taste and room note. An easy going all day smoke.
The substitution for the tin description (which I lost!) that I used when I added this brand could be considered part of my review. I will also write the same review for both the regular and aromatic. This might put some people off, but I have discovered through smoking a lot from both these probably 40 year old tins that the regular had a topping similar to the aromatic, but the toppings have faded to the point that I can tell they were there, and in each blend, they just kind of fade into the old mustiness, and as far as I can tell, by now the two taste about the same. I'm glad I didn't review these right away: I was really taken aback by the novelty of this old weed at first, and smoked a lot of it, which finally became enough to realize that there were and are faults. I see no reason to go less than "recommended," though. Unique blends in their way, and historical in that they seem to be the only blends by DE that actually bear the company name (now Sara Lee!) on the tin.
Must have been an attempt to create a "classy" tinned blend or two in what was probably the early 70s. The tin insert I eventually lost waxed poetic on the exotic nature of the constituent tobaccos, but I'm not sure they were exactly top quality. This has not aged like a McClelland. Also, it is true shag, like an all-purpose OTC cut. One could easily roll a cigarette from it, though an interesting one to be sure! Smokes fast. Not at all offensive, though whatever was in there tobacco and flavoring-wise has melded into fermented historical mustiness, giving one the impression of being in an old library, though what section, I'm not quite sure...
I still have plenty of this, since though I smoked a lot at first, it's kind of showed me all it can show me at this point. It is nice for a quick bowl (burns fast and no nicotine, not that I would notice, anyway), and I do plan to try a cigarette rolled from it. The cut suggests to me that this might have been part of the original intent: a dual-purpose OTC, but in the traditional round tin. There are probably a few more tins out there, since I still see them pop up on Ebay. Don't pay too much, but if you can snag one, it's worth it for the history and a sort of old-new novelty. Just keep in mind that this has not aged like a fine wine. The individual tobaccos making it up are hard to pick out at this point, but certainly decent yet unremarkable international Virginias and Burleys, perhaps an Oriental as they said. Cyprus? I strongly doubt there is Latakia in here.
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