In the first place, I’m not a huge fan of Haddo’s Delight. This is probably because I’m not terribly crazy about Perique. I find the blend a little
harsh on my throat and have some trouble spotting the nuances so many others tend to describe. But because I love pipe tobacco, and will smoke just
about anything at least a few times, I gladly agreed to smoke a bowl of eight-year old Haddo’s from Sykes’ personal stash when he offered it.
As far as I’m concerned, something truly magical has happened to the contents of this tin as it sat marinating in Sykes’ cellar all these years.
This much was evident at first puff. Whereas previously I found the Virginia leaf and Perique component rather disparate, here they taste delicately
wedded to a unique, peppery sweet flavor. Previously, I found the vinegar notes from the fermented leaf distracting, but here it was cooled, and
pleasant. I might even buy a few tins to open in a decade!
Here’s what Eric had to say on this aged tin:
After very conveniently leaving the bit of Haddo's Delight Sykes handed me in a not-quite-zip-locked Ziploc bag overnight, this G.L. Pease mixture
was at just about the perfect point, dry-but-not-too-dry, to stuff it into a fresh pipe and light up. While the blend in its natural, non-combusting
state may indeed have an aroma of cocoa and dried fruit, from the first puff the smoke hit me with an easy, pleasant, but very definite nutty/raisin
flavor. Sweetness was detectably at work here as well, but only as a component of the flavor as a whole - much the same way you know there's sugar in
dark chocolate, though it is by no means central to the flavor, nor obvious in any independent way. Given this is a blend advertised as heavy on
Virginias, I had expected at least a little tongue-bite might be expected, but the Perique seemed to do its job just fine, adding a bit of spiciness
while simultaneously keeping the Virginias civil. As I made my way through the bowl, the nutty/woody elements seemed more dominate, though the fruit/raisin notes did stay around, making things interesting by generally milling about and catching my attention now and then as it
apparently suited them. A full exhale tended to reveal their presence more in the "aftertaste", as did likewise exhaling through the nose. In reaching
the last third of the bowl, fruit/nut/raisin flavors became a touch richer, and an extra hint of sweetness made itself known as well - the Perique's
spiciness appeared happy to stay where it was, however, making the rest of the flavors all the more easily enjoyable.