Macanudo - Ascots Cafe
Wonderful -if handled properly
This is a wonderful half an hour panatela-like smooth and creamy smoke, with a distinctive mild flavor. However, not unlike most cigars, it requires some care. In my experience, it should rest for a few days (a week, at least) in a humidor (or even a Ziplock bag). Additionally, I recommend that the Cigarillos be removed from the tin and acclimate at a 65% humidity (not higher), by adding a Boveda bag. To do otherwise (smoked upon receipt), may result in an annoyingly tight draw and (if too dry or too wet) in a bitter bite. Cheers,
Cornell & Diehl - Burley Ribbon Cut 2oz
Plain but not Dull.
A shorthand annotation about this tobacco: After enjoying countless bowls of my daily burley, Carter Hall and Prince Albert, I find this Burley Ribbon Cut to serve as the un-edulcorated, artifice-free version of the same. It is quite the plain burley, but simple is not intended as dull. I find it richly fragrant and palatably pleasant, delivering the full flavor of tobacco with the same but more subtle notes of cocoa and molasses, we enjoy in Carter Hall and Prince Albert. It burns rather quickly; if one follows instead of retarding the burning rhythm, it may deliver a few harsh or bitter (cigarette-like) notes. I recommend it to those who, like I do, devotedly enjoy Carter Hall and Prince Albert, but occasionally wish these blends had more body and strength. Cheers,
Cornell & Diehl - Habana Daydream 2oz
The elusive and subjective taste of Tobacco
I recently discovered Cornell & Diehl's “Habana Daydream” -and I love it. We all developed our own discrete perceptions and memories of the distinctive smell and taste of Tobacco. Hence, and obviously, this remains an utterly subjective matter. Habana Daydream perfectly captures my sensory definition of Tobacco's fragrance and flavor. It is quite exemplary of a genuine, pure leaf, which is neither edulcorated nor adulterated. The pleasantly sharp cigar notes form the steady scaffolding of the blend, but do not obfuscate its delicate architecture. The texture of the smoke is smooth and creamy. It is not a complex tobacco, but certainly not simple either. I like to think that the purpose of this blend was to conjure precisely the fragrance and flavor of tobacco in a purer state. If so, at least for this enthusiastic reviewer, it has wonderfully accomplished it. In fact, although the blend resorts to natural spices, Latakia, Perique and unsweetened Cavendish to adorn the Virginias, the addition of “a spoonful of rich Cigar Leaf” seems to dictate the mood of the blend. I can only describe it as suspended between the aroma of an unfiltered Gauloises Cigarette and that of Dominican Macanudo. And yet, this is not a cigar in your pipe, but a sophisticated cigar-inspired pipe tobacco blend. I must add that my excitement is due, in part, to a striking similarity with one of Ed Burak (Connoisseur Pipe Shop)’s blends -that I enjoyed as immensely as I am now left to miss- aptly named “Havana Seed”. This blend, “Habana Daydreams”, is not for everyone (as no blend could kindle unanimous consent). If one relishes overwhelming flavors, sweet or spicey as they might be, this will prove quite disappointing. One must like tobacco in its plain, stripped down essence, as a fragrant Baguette with a glass of Bordeaux and nothing else. And (to complete the French narrative) perhaps, I should not conceal that my nostalgic affection to this -as the standard flavor of tobacco- may forgive some faults and flaws, in my Proustian memory. After all, “Habana Daydreams” is to me the evocative "petites madeleines" of la reserche du temps perdu. It may be relevant to add that: 1. Nicotine is certainly at the medium level; 2. If carefully kept in check with a gentle temper, it easily burns to the end with no further relights, after the charring ritual; 3. No bite whatsoever, even if hurried.
Balkan Sasieni - Balkan Sasieni 50g
An unrelenting staple in my rotation
(I report here the review I contributed to Tobaccoreviews.com in 2010) So many times I had tried to give up the vile cigarettes for the more noble pipe. I always failed, leaving behind a well balanced and poorly smoked collection of beautiful pipes and hundreds of wasted tins of the widest assortment of tobaccos. A month ago, however, I picked up a tin of Balkan Sasieni and since can no longer inflict myself the injury of the tasteless cigarettes smoke. I am in love with this blend. It is perfect, creamy and fragrant, leaving as captivating an aftertaste as it is intriguing throughout each bowl which I smoke down to a thin powder of whitish ash. This tobacco is easy to appreciate and to smoke, which I can recommend for the novice, as I am. It burns well and smokes consistently, its delicate taste and scent remaining nearly unaltered until the end.
Dan Tobacco - Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend 50g
An outstanding English blend.
As I write this review, I am enjoying yet another bowl of this wonderful blend. This tin has aged 10 years. I find it quite dry, but redolent of pungent orientals and latakia. Taste and aftertaste are quite faithful to such distinctive scent. Those who like me incline English and Balkan blends, will find this savory, fragrant, pleasant and remarkably easy to smoke. It is as rich as Balkan Sasieni but definitely more complex, harmoniously weaving together the distinctive flavors of Latakia, Orientals and Virginia, each enhancing the characteristics of the others, as a proper blend should. The obvious need to sip slowly applies to every pipe-bowl, and this tobacco is no exception. Nic is mild to medium. A hint of moisture and white to gray ash sign off a very satisfying smoke. I would propose it would work well to break-in a new pipe, and wholeheartedly recommend it to both the consummate expert and the novice.