Newminster - No.23 Blackberry Brandy
Very nice treat
This tobacco arrived as a sample from SPC--the other offering was a Tom Eltang that I had already tried. It has been quite some time since I smoked any aromatics--but my journey into pipe smoking many decades ago began with them. The bag aroma is quite nice and not terribly overwhelming--but it is very full and obvious. As with many aro blends it was moist, but not sticky. The blend loaded easily in a Washington MM, and did not compact too tightly limiting the draw. A prelight started the bowl well, and there was no rise that required a lot of tamping. For me, the taste of the Virginia came through immediately. Typical notes of hay and the sweetness of that tobacco--quite distinct from the sweetness of the blackberry and brandy. At first, the taste of the blackberry was a bit subdued--but began to take on greater character moving into the first quarter of the bowl. At this point, the richer burley takes a center stage from the VA, as does the level of nicotine! It has a bit of a "tang" that is not quite a bite--but the mouth feel that is associated with a good burley. The smoke itself is a nice body--but not heavy or thickly creamy. This is quite satisfying for those of us who chase the tobacco tang of English/Balkan blends. Halfway into the bowl and moving down, the blackberry fills in the balance from the earlier VA and burley steps--melding with each and making for a quite satisfying smoke. The nicotine remains moderately full, and the aroma of the blackberry and brandy FILLS the room--but not unpleasantly or cloyingly so. The finish strengthens toward the bottom with some loss of the initial distinctions--a bit monochrome if you will--and the moisture levels damp but not too problematic to cause gurgling. I left a bit unsmoked--as is my custom even amongst my regular English/Balkan rotation. I had hints that the very last of it was not going to be pleasant. On the second bowl later, I smoked it in stages--returning several times to relight and enjoy. There was no significant degradation of the blend--nor any harshness from resting. All in all, I found this blend quite enjoyable--and will add a few ounces on a regular basis to my cellar. A thing to note though. Pick a pipe you smoke similar aro's in or dedicate a briar or cob. Once you pass a couple bowls through--it is going to move in and stay. It will also dominate a room--and depending upon the sensibilities of others may become a good or bad thing. Smoke responsibly!