This is a match to the original House of Windsor Briggs Mixture. Bright Virginias are combined with mild white Burley without any significant flavoring to create a mellow and gentle blend with natural tobacco flavor.
The burley is earthier, woodier, more molasses sweet, and nuttier in the Match than the original, and is the star in both versions. The Virginias are citrusy and grassy as they create a solid base for the burleys to play in each blend. I did get a some hay from the Virginia -more so in the original - but it's fairly unobtrusive. There is a very slight, fruity bourbon topping that doesn't get in the way of the tobaccos, and is a tad sweeter than the original. Overall, the original was less sweeter, and more ordinary, though the flavor profile is very similar. The Match burns cooler and doesn’t bite, which is not true of the original, unless you puffed it verrrrry slowly. The strength is a couple of steps past the mild mark, while the taste is a slot past the center of mild to medium. The nic-hit is a rung past the mild threshold. These last three aspects were also true of the original. Burns clean and cool with a very consistent taste from top to bottom. Has no cigarette notes, which the original tended to have near the finish if the bowl was any near hot. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires few relights. Has a pleasant, short lived after taste and room note. An all day smoke. I gave one star to the HoW version.
This is a good smoke. I prefer BRG mixture to this, although both blends are clones of one another. Unlike the BRG version (which pays homage to Briggs) this did not need any dry or air time. Also found the Briggs match to be a tad spicier. If you have a can of the now discontinued BRG, you could mix both to stretch it out. Smooth and full bodied. The spiciness of the match version peaks its head every now and then, whereas BRG is more monochromatic. Doesn't cook your pipe but may not be your cup of tea if you prefer aromatics.
I tried this blend against a sample of the HOW version of the same and enjoyed it much more. Part of the reason behind the result may have been the age of the target blend which rendered the burley ineffective. Having tasted the Match, I can tell the burley is the most important component of the blend.
There is a topping on the blend and it is kind of odd. To my tastes it is a little fruity, but also a little "perfumey" which is always a bit odd when I encounter such essences. Particularly in the early bowls of the trials. Once I got used to it, it wasn't bad. In any case the topping loses some of its potency and it just allows the wonderful burley base to come out as you progress down the bowl and the finish is just wonderful.
If the topping was more to my liking at the beginning, this would be a four star blend, but I would still put it at 3 stars as it is as there is nothing repulsive in the topping as may be the case with M79. I point out that blend for two reasons. The first is, that it is always fun to bag on M79, but the second because, the base leaf of this blend reminds me a lot of M79, which remains, to my tastes, that blend's only saving grace.
The Virginia seems to be the dominant tobacco in this blend, giving it a somewhat grassy or hay taste. I don't get much from the burley. There doesn't seem to be much added topping or casing. Burns well, but if smoked too fast can get a little ashy tasting toward the end. It reminds me of Half & Half Burley and Bright, only without the added corn taste. This would be a good all day smoke, or maybe when you're not sure what you're in the mood to smoke.
I love the pouch aroma of this blend. Every time I reached for it, I would open the jar and inhale deeply. Notes of cocoa, slight fruitiness and a mild alcohol undertone.
Appearance is 2 distinct leaves, the burley and the Virginia. Although no stems were found in my pouch, there are some large chunks of burley that seem big enough to roll a cigar out of. Take a few minutes to break those up, there wont be any issues. I learned to pack this one with a light touch, as it does swell like several of the other match blends from Russ.
As TallPuffO'Burley stated, this does have a slight perfume/floral character, but it dissipates shortly after the first few puffs. However, it does not interfere with enjoying the natural flavors of this tobacco. I really enjoy the toastiness of the burley, and the Virginia offer the right amount of natural sweetness to balance this blend out. Notes of cocoa undertones are apparent throughout the entire bowl, with a slightly spicy finish. Briggs has been a great companion for me the last few weeks with the extreme heat and humidity we have had here. Its light enough for summer time smoking, but fulfilling enough to satisfy your cravings. I truly think this will also be a great indoor wintertime blend.
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