Dunhill - Standard Mixture Mellow 50g
A light English for the Virginia smoker
I can see why English lovers may be down on this blend. I think this is a great intro to English blends for Virginia smokers however. Dip your toe here before jumping to Nightcap or something. I smoke mostly Virginias, and this really could basically sub for any of my straight VA blends. You do taste the orientals slightly, but this is a very grassy, bright, white pepper Virginia blend at heart. A nice mellow smoke for warm weather or a sunny day.

Lane Limited - 1-Q
Every tobacconists house blend
My first thought upon opening 1-Q and taking a whiff: "This smells exactly like the stuff that most tobacco shops sell as a house blend." Little did I know, and learned later through some Google-Fu, that's actually exactly true! Now, full disclosure: I'm not an aromatic fan. I just wanted to try one of the more talked-about aromatics and see if maybe I've just been smoking the wrong aromatics. Short answer: nope. I just don't like aromatics. But, to benefit my aromatic-loving friends out there: 1-Q tasted just like a marshmallow to me. Extremely light smoke, with a sugary marshmallow flavor. Too chemical for me personally. I'll be giving this to a friend who likes aromatics.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Rum Flake
Yep, It's a Lakeland
I had high hopes for this blend. Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly acceptable and unoffensive smoke, even for a non-aromatic smoker. Casing is barely detectable at all. I'm just not a fan of the "Lakeland essence," which is featured prominently on the exhale. Some liken it to a "soapy" taste, but I think it tastes exactly like Nag Champa incense. Not a fan of that part. I'll keep it around though to see what age does, and for a rare occasion I may want to fire it up. I'm being more harsh than necessary, just don't like the incense flavor.

Newminster - No.400 Superior Navy Flake
Surprisingly great
This was a nice surprise. Virginia's are my everyday smoke, and this has found a place in my rotation for sure. Rich, sweet, and mellow all at the same time. Classic Virginia with a hint of the grassy white pepper of a light VA, backed up substantially with the malty sugars of a darker VA. If you smoke with care it will be surprisingly consistent through the bowl. But watch out! If youre enjoying yourself a little too much ang get carried away with the puffing, it'll run away on you and be hard to get back under control. This is all in how you pack it and how you control the burn. Once you get the hang of this, it'll be a favorite for the Virginia fan. I agree that this blend will benefit from aging, but it's good right away as well. Just keep an eye on the temperature and you'll be rewarded. I'll be placing a large bulk order of this for smoking and cellaring!

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