Royal Blunder Kake, while not a blunder, is a very non-descript, almost boring English blend. It contains all of the components that would seem to make for a great English blend. It rubs out with ease and arrives at a decent moisture level for smoking. It smells nice in the pouch too. But it is vanilla (not the flavoring) personified. Blunder Kake's pouch appearance would lead one to believe that it might be bold, but I find myself over puffing seeking bigger flavor. There just isn't anything that stands out for me. Given the fact that Russ makes some very outstanding English blends, this one is best left for English beginners. Black House, Larry's, and Magnum Opus, just to name a few, are all better choices from P&C.
I picked up a one ounce sample of Royal Blunder on the strength of several factors. A buttery English Oriental with floral notes?! I can't recall having smoked anything like that, a Lakeland like English? I had sampled Russ's Fortissimo Brickle and assumed this would be something of a similar experiment. And then there was the image of the cakes on the P&C website. They looked like giant compressed bricks of brown sugar, and I salivated just glancing at them. There were no reviews at the time, but P&C has never let me down, why not?
The cake arrived, and it was much darker than the image...it seems the Latakia component was much greater than I originally believed. And the cakes were sticky, very sticky, necessitating some air time to dry a bit. Due to the stickiness, my first few smokes were unremarkable. I couldn't get the blend to smolder. I'd hit the ends of a wedge and char the hell out of the pipe chamber. So I took out a Swiss Army knife, chopped that baby into tiny little pieces and threw them back in its plastic bag. When it came time to light again, I threw the larger chunks to the bottom of the bowl and created a fine dust to top it all off. The blend was a blunder no more. I was afforded the first of many fine smokes.
Royal Blunder delivers on the buttery notes, and the Oriental spice. Draw this through your nose and you'll be awarded with a fine peppery experience that rivals some of the best Balkans out there. It's difficult to judge the degree of Latakia from glancing at the brick, as everything just melds together into a dark block, but there's plenty of smokiness to enjoy. In truth, Royal Blunder reminds me very much of Pease's Lagonda. They share the same sort of richness in flavor and strength. I panned Lagonda in a review as a bit derivative of Pease's other blends, and Royal Blunder feels the same. There are a ton of Latakia mixes coming out of P&C, I'm not quite certain that Royal Blunder covers any new ground, which brings me to another central reason I picked up the blend. I was excited about the mention of floral notes and I don't get it...not even a suggestion. Is there really any type of flavoring here? Because this smokes like a straight Latakia mix.
Despite my lack of satisfaction regarding the intriguing promise of a Lakeland like English, Royal Blunder is a competent if non-adventurous smoke. True, it's nothing so revolutionary that a mass of smokers might flock to in seeking out novel flavors, but how many people out there really want sauced Latakia blends, aside from myself?
And I like the name too, it's catchy. Exactly what kind of blunder are we talking about here?
Who knows WHAT is in this blend. Could be Latakia, could be Oriental. Could be Cavendish. I don't detect any Burley. Cakes crumble and pack easily.
Lots of smoke once it gets going. Very mild in strength. No bite, very mild. Spicy? No. Buttery? Not really. So mild, it's hard to recognize any of the component tobaccos. Its mildness would make it appropriate for the Aro smoker to delve into English blends.
Too mild for me, but might be right for some. I'll stick with Larry's Blend.
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