The Tigray – a medium-strong latakia blend. Cypriot latakia, Oriental tobaccos, a touch of Malawi burley and sweet Virginia grades from Zimbabwe form the characteristics of this blend. Harmoniously matched, the Tigray surprises by its smoky and sweet tones. The Tigray – an uncomplicated latakia blend of the sweeter kind, full of nuances.
Notes: Contains 48% Cyprian latakia. Syrian was originally used until the stock ran out.# (They changed the name of the series from "Foundation by Musicó" to "African Line")
The smoky, woody, earthy, herbal, wine-like, lightly musty Syrian Latakia is the lead component and is a team player. The dry, lightly buttery creamy sweet and floral, lightly sour and spicy, herbal, woody, earthy Orientals are a supporting player, and one of the varietals may be yenidje as I detect an “unflavored soda” note that I often associate with it. The various Virginias offer some tart and tangy citrus, a little grass, earth, and a touch of tangy darker fruit, and play just below the level that the Orientals do. A touch of nutty, earthy, chocolatey, woody and lightly toasty Malawi burley adds a little complexity to an already well balanced, nuanced mixture. The strength and taste levels just reach the medium threshold. The nic-hit is a little closer to medium than it is to mild. No chance of bite or harshness. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with a very consistent mildly sweet and lightly savory rich flavor that translates to the slightly lingering camp fire after taste. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Not quite an all day smoke, but it’s certainly repeatable as you choose.
With my last order of HU tobacco I got a generous sample of the Tigray blend. I love Latakia, love Burley and Turkish... I was excited to try this! Unburnt aroma is richly smoky and woodsy with the Latakia clearly dominating the scent. A slight sourness is lurking. Pitch black, red-brown and beige-bright leafs are blended, whilst the black leaf - obviously- dominates, being 48% of the blend.
You'd may expect this to be a Latakia-Bomb, but yet again it isn't! Hans Wiedemann somehow makes blends with high proportions of Latakia, where the Latakia is dominant, but not drowning the other components - excellent! I was really curious how the combination of a lot of Latakia and Burley would work out, and... well... it ROCKS! Notes of he very creamy, richly smoky and woodsy Latakia are enriched by delicately toasty and nutty notes as well as smooth earthiness from the Burley. The ethereal-dry Oriental is a minor player to me, but harmonizes very well with and underscores the Burley. A caramel-y sweetness builds up that flatters the other components and may come from the Virginias used here.
I see a potential of this becoming my favorite English blend by HU, as it hits my palata with everything I love. Smoky and creamy Latakia, paired with nutty, toasty and earthy-tart Burley. The hint of Turkish gives it depth and diversity, whilst the Virginia rounds this baby. Ths is one of the sweeter English blends, yet not overly so and in the 2nd half of the bowl the spice intensifies, subdueing the sweetness a tad.
As usual for Hans' blends, this also has a name with some meaning to it. Tigray is not only a region in Ethiopia, but also a ethnic group in Ethiopia and Eritrea! I love it when a blend does that... encourage me to research on the names origin and meaning, it just makes for a ronded experience imho.
The proprietor of HU-Tobacco, Hans Wiedemann, has recently introduced a new line of tobacco's blended in co-operation with the Italian pipe maker Foundation by Musico. Being the big fan I am of his blends, I ordered them all and this is my review of "the Tigray". I really like the look of this blend, about half black and among the rest, broken flakes. The black half is indeed Latakia and being of the Syrian variety, it is more aromatic and less leathery/smoky than its Cyprian counterpart. Hans calls this "an uncomplicated blend" and I think he means that it can be smoked all day long with minimum attention. "Uncomplicated" does not mean, however, that this is not a very tasty, creamy smooth and biteless tobacco, because it is. Not one to make an immediate, deep impression but a great latakia blend to be enjoyed all day long nevertheless.
Another good Balkan by HU, even if the presence of Burley is not exactly "kosher". Anyway, it helps to give it body and it's not intrusive at all.
That said, it's quite similar to Tuarekh: intense, very Latakia-heavy, very robust and "dry" in taste, very woody and smoky. Similar cut, too.
If I may say so, I like it a bit less because it's even more "monolithic" rather than nuanced and complex. It's very good savoury blend, quite heavy, but it's also rather simple. While this means that it can be smoked very easily and even carelessly, and still be enjoyed, it lacks a bit in development and subtlety.
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