Mac Baren - Royal Twist 3.5oz
Spicy and sweet
The Virginias steal the show with a nice sweet blend, but the dark fired Kentucky Burley adds spice so that the Perique can take on its almost berry-like fruit flavor with a tangy, zesty aftertaste. Together these flavors make a nice smoke that is both gentle and fulfilling and has a slightly fruity aftertaste without being over-civilized like your average aromatic. I hope they make this a regular feature of the Mac Baren lineup, because it has the staying power that Roll Cake and Dark Twist do not, and seems more flavorful than Three Nuns Green. The closest match is the Savinelli Doblone d'Oro which is really tasty but not quite as intense as this blend. I also noted an absence of the usual sugar fire blast on the first light, which suggests that Mac Baren might be subtly changing their topping and binding agent, traditionally maple sugar in water. You could easily make this into an all-day smoke because there is just enough nicotine but not too much, and while the flavor is strong, it is more refreshing than fatiguing. Mouth-feel is better than the Three Nuns, but less soft than the Cavendish-enhanced Roll Cake. Lots of good natural tobacco flavor comes from these little curly cuts, which light easily but burn with the slow steady flavor of flakes. Wish I'd gotten more tins of Royal Twist.
Peter Stokkebye - PS701 Virginia
Great seaside smoke
Many good times come from this blend, which being sugar-heavy bright and brown Virginias, demands extremely slow and regular smoking. Your technique is going to test you, but if you can like this, it tastes like toasted barley bread with wildflower honey, not a huge flavor but a pleasant background and aftertaste. I have no problem smoking this straight and prefer it to many more complex blends, especially when in the outdoors.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Balkan Mixture
"Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. takes the finest Virginia, Turkish, and Oriental tobaccos and expertly blend them with Latakia to give the smoker a unique taste and aroma for this Balkan Mixture. " Actual text; this is a Balkan mixture, so it has a higher percentage of Orientals relative to Latakia (but not necessarily more Oriental than Latakia).
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Kendal Gold
Best bright Virginia blend
Burns cool and slowly, delivers the honey, citrus, and hay flavors that we all love in subtlety but abundance. If you want a straight Virginia that you can smoke all day, every day, and never get bored, this is the one. Comparable to Capstan Blue but in a shag cut.
Peter Stokkebye - PS83 Amsterdam
Sweet Virginia, dark fired Kentucky Burley, and a floral or berry topping makes for tobacco that tastes like smoky candy. Medium strength, it comes from the blender relatively dry, so you just pack, tamp, and light. Smoke it slowly or it turns into both a Virginia inferno and a Burley cigarette room note. Let the sweet flavor roll over your tongue and you will realize that this is near perfection in a pipe smoking tobacco.