A full English latakia mixture with a noticeable proportion of a ready rubbed Virginia, which makes for a gentle taste and a slight sweetness. A phantastically gentle smoking experience for all purists.
At the local store of my good friends and fellow pipe smokers, I was disappointed at the selection offered; there used to be many more unflavoured blends available there. This is one of the two remaining; the other blend (a bit of a no-name affair probably concocted by Planta) left us disagreeing about the differences between an English and a Scottish blend. Never mind, it was an interesting discussion, but nothing to do with this review (just... do discuss what you're buying with your tobacconist. It's normally worth the effort.)
The HoS8 contains, as it says on the tin, a good amount of VA flake; the general impression is on the dark side, though. Stuffing and lighting is pretty much normal, except once in a while the smoker will run across a flake scrap that has not been rubbed out quite well enough; just rub it out and be done with it. Lighting and puffing is normal for this kind of blend, so... only thing really "different" is that this blend is very nicely sweet on the tongue, while having enough of the Lat taste to keep me going. I like that, but that's just my personal taste. Overall, I like. Could be a good everyday smoke for me if it were offered in larger package sizes.
Until then, I shall occasionally enjoy, but not make this a regular. The VA in this blend comes from either Mysore or from the southern parts of Africa; American VA simply does not offer this much sweetness. The Latakia is probably mostly Cypriot; it is rather forward. For a tipple to go along with this blend, I am still experimenting with a smooth Highlands Single and something more smoky, like an Islay or Orkney. I'll update if/when I have an epiphany. Until then this I classify this as a solid smoke, but to me, not outstanding.
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