Welcome to another round of 'Mystery Tobacco' where the winning prize is simply bragging rights. Let's see how Eric, Sykes and I did this week with Susan's mysteriously labeled little baggy.
Susan picked us a fairly simple looking number - an ultra-fine shag of what appears to be darker Virginias, and/or possibly burley as well. One thing for certain is that the darker leaf is the dominant element, with only a small fraction of the blend being of a lighter, golden Virginia. As you might expect, it packed easily, and lit up with no effort at all. From first puff the very subtle sweetness of the Virginia leaf kept well beneath the main body of the blend, which was what I could only describe as a rustic "woodiness". My attempt to cheat by asking Pam to describe the room note was a wash - she said there wasn't one at all. It may be I packed too lightly, easy to do given the readily-deceptive springiness of a shag cut (which can make a bowl feel more densely tamped than it actually is), but this blend smoked fast if I wasn't careful. With a slow, easy draw, it was enjoyable and civil enough, but too much puffing quickly brought out a noticeable bite - it may have been something in the blend, or from a build-up of heat as the leaf rapidly combusted. Towards the end of the smoke, that low-profile sweet note and the main, woody element seemed to coalesce, creating a unified flavor which I found more pleasurable than the earlier two-piece arrangement, while at the same time a nice, mellow nicotine buzz came rolling up to say hello. Possibly it was a little too nice, as I began replacing my "i"s with "o"s as I typed up the final lines of this review.
From look and feel alone, it's immediately clear that this is an unscented blend from Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. My first thought was Dark Birdseye, but closer inspection and the first puff put that guess to rest pretty quickly. The cut is fairly fine, as GH&Co's ribbon cuts tend to be; they're thicker than cigarette tobacco by quite a bit, but thinner than most pipe tobacco cuts. The medium slightly mottled brown color is attractive, but does little to suggest what to expect. From look alone, I'm having trouble pinning down the contents. I'd guess lots of dark fired burleys, but we shall see...
My burley guess proved correct, I think. It's either straight dark fired Kentucky, or nearly so. The subtle nuttiness of the Kentucky leaf certainly shines through. The nicotine load is pretty good, certainly at the upper end of the range that I find pleasant, without quite kicking my butt. It's a little monochromatic to my taste. There's that nuttiness, a little grassy-ness, but not much else going on that I can discern. For the fan of burley heavy blends, I think this would be a great choice. For me it's a bit too much of a good thing.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure (though not positive) that it's Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.'s Kendal Kentucky.
This is definitely a Gawith & Hoggarth product. There’s a Lakeland aroma and flavor at work here, but not as noticeable as that taste of something like Ennerdale Flake. No, this is a lot more subtle. Not to mention that this is a very fine, shag cut mix (and not a flake). The blend is dark tasting, but smooth. I’d call it burley or Virginia. I’m going out on a limb, but is this Kendal Kentucky?
So, yeah.... The blend, was in fact G&H's Kendal Kentucky. Hey, we're pretty good aren't we? I certainly did a lot better than last time. In all fairness, though, I've smoked a lot of this blend fairly recently!