I tried this tobacco on the recommendation of a friend. I'm glad I did. It's an exceptionally good Virginia/Burley blend, with the Burley somewhat to the fore. It's available by mail order in airtight pouches from E.A. Carey's European site; you can't get it anywhere else. It takes rather a long time to arrive through the post, but when it does it's worth the wait. If it isn't the same as Sinclair's Highland Sliced, as the previous reviewer suggests, it's very similar. It would take a pretty sophisticated palate to tell the difference. I thought also of Player's Digger Flake. As the previous reviewer also points out, you can have No. 7 in flake form too. The flake and the ready rubbed are exactly the same tobaccos; the only difference is the convenience of the latter, which I rather like when I'm not in the mood for the fuss of preparation. It's described as "ready rubbed," but it's pretty close to being a shag.
No. 7 is a long, cool and tasty smoke all the way down, and full of old-fashioned character; it won't bite, and it doesn't go ashy and bitter towards the bottom of the bowl. If there's a casing, it's an unobtrusive one: there's no suggestion of “Lakeland” goop, which, to me, is a big plus. SWMBO and the felines don't mind the room note, either. It's a dark, full-bodied, strong tobacco, with the flavours of Burley prominent: not strong enough to flatten you, but perhaps best tried at first in a smallish bowl. My only slight grouse is that it comes a little dry; but, all in all, I'm very impressed, and intend to make it part of my regular rotation. Highly recommended.
(E.A. Carey (Europe) offer an excellent service, incidentally. I would recommend anyone to have a look at their website. They have a US website as well (they're the “magic inch” people), but the tobaccos they sell in Europe seem not to be available in the US, and vice versa; which is a pity.)
Update, 8 May 2016: it seems that E.A. Carey has now discontinued this tobacco and several of their others, in response, apparently, to new EU regulations. This is a great pity, and a worrying sign of a new outbreak of hostile official interference with pipe smokers.
FROM 3-5-12 and reviewed under John Sinclair Highland Sliced Ready Rubbed which is the same and made for the the Euro Carey brand listed here:
I recently purchased several tobaccos online from EA Carey UK. They say they have 15 or so tobaccos blended exclusively for them by blenders in Europe. Two of them, their Dark Flake No 7 and the same as a ready rubbed are, in my opinion, none other than Irish Flake. So if you want a ready rubbed version of IrF, EA Carey UK is the place to look. The only difference with the flake version is that the flakes are twice the length of IrF. The tobaccos look (and feel with the flake version) identical, the pouch aroma is the same, and I can not detect any difference in the smoking quality. In a double blind test, I wouldn't be able to tell the IrF from the Carey version in either their flake or ready rubbed version, and IrF is one of my top favorites. I smoke IrF regularly enough to make a statement like that. The interesting thing is it is priced cheaper than what IrF goes for in Europe, but slightly more expensive than what we pay for IrF in the USA. A fine tobacco, indeed, and I am sure it is blended for Carey by K&K, the current blenders of Peterson's tobaccos. Several days later I noticed that the pouch had a sticker "Made in Denmark" - the ready rubbed as well. Could it be that this is really Highland Sliced, both the flake and RR now made in Denmark by Orlik? I have heard they are similar. I have some HS Flake on order and will update accordingly. I might add that for me, the ready rubbed version smokes the same as the flake version.
UPDATE 3-23-12: I just received my Highland Sliced today (sticker says made in Denmark) and I will say that the Carey version I spoke about above IS indeed HS and not IrF. Other than the size of the flakes, HS are very similar in taste and smoking properties to IrF. I am hard pressed to tell any difference. I would be stretching my imagination if I thought they were different. End of mystery. A stellar blend for me along with IrF and 4 stars! Since IrF is easier to come by in the USA, I'll be sticking with that one. P.S. HS is not soapy or perfumed in any way!!
I first smoked this tobacco when I sampled some blends from EAC. Very quickly it became a favourite and has since been on the regular delivery list for their Tobacco Club, together with Dark Flake No. 7 and now their Bruno Special. The dark intensity of this blend appeals enormously. I've taken to smoking stronger tobaccos over the last few months and this really does have an enticing aroma and taste. Dark, rich and heavy in both look and aroma, as you light up you get a great cloud of smoke that is full of a bitter sweetness reminiscent of dark chocolate. The sweetness is not cloying at all. A slight hint of spice, more like figs and deeply stewed fruit, but with a wonderful earthiness as well. As you smoke down, the taste mellows and 'thickens' somewhat. It is an extremely smooth smoke, well rounded and cool. I have had no bite whatsoever. As to an earlier reviewer's comment about dryness, only one pack delivered was such. The rest have been perfectly moist and as the pack is opened there is a terrific smell of liquorice that wafts out. Strength is relatively high but not unpleasant. My levels must be well and truly acclimatised by now! For a late evening smoke or an early morning one with a bit of a kick, this could be for you. It has been a firm favourite with me for almost a year now and it will remain so. I've just packed a Milner Jar with a couple of packs of it and hope to let it mature for a while if I can. I recommend this tobacco.
As this is the ready rubbed version of Dark Flake No. 7, this is essentially the same review with a couple of noted differences. The very nutty, earthy, woody, burley also sports a touch of molasses and light chocolate as the lead component. The stoved Virginias provide a fair amount of stewed dark fruit, earth, wood, grass, and a small dose of citrus as a secondary player. I sense a couple of pinches of dark fired Kentucky, which would account for the dry, woody earthy, floral, spice notes way in the background. The prune topping is extremely mild, and doesn’t tone down the tobaccos at all. The strength level is a step past medium, while the taste is just short of the center of medium to full. The nic-hit is medium. Won’t bite or get harsh, though it does have a few rough edges. Being a mildly moist ready rubbed blend, it burns a tad slow, cool and clean with a very consistent flavor from start to finish. Leaves little moisture in the bowl, and requires some relights. It doesn’t burn as slow or leave as much liquid in the bowl as the Flake version does. Has a pleasantly lingering after taste and room note. Not an all day smoke.
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