Welcome back to another episode of Tasting Notes, everyone. Today I'll be taking a closer look at the most recent addition to Low Country's tinned tobacco portfolio: Edisto. Low Country pipe tobaccos are made by Cornell and Diehl exclusively for Smokingpipes.com and Low Country Pipe and Cigar, which is our brick and mortar retail store here in South Carolina. And this line actually represents the first collaboration that Smokingpipes.com had ever done with Cornell and Diehl, dating back before Cornell and Diehl became part of the Laudisi family.
There are a number of really great blends in the line, and I'm actually going to review all of those in the coming weeks. But today, I wanted to start with Edisto because this mixture is the most recent entry, and, if I'm being honest, it's also one of the blends in the Low Country line that most closely matches my own personal tastes in pipe tobacco. If you've been watching these videos for any length of time, you've heard me say many times that I am primarily a smoker of Virginias and Virginia/Perique blends, particularly those that lean more toward Red Virginias than the Brights.
Edisto, like all Low Country blends, is named for a river system in the Carolinas. The Edisto River system spans over 250 miles, and it is actually the largest river system completely contained within South Carolina. It actually exists out into the Atlantic as well, near Edisto Beach, which sort of inspired the colorful tin art.
Components And Cut
As for the tobacco itself, it's a pure Virginia flake and really just beautiful. It's a great example of Jeremy Reeves and Cornell and Diehl's ability to use a rather simple list of ingredients to achieve something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. It's just a showcase of a deft hand at blending and the finest Virginia grades, mostly Red Virginias from the Old Belt. That mixture of Reds comprises Red and Mahogany grades from Virginia down to the Carolinas, all of 2017 vintage, medium in nicotine, and relatively high in sugar — clocking in at 9.5% sugar content. The flakes are super delicate, and nice and thin. There's a little bit of Bright Virginias in there as well, though they're more orange to chestnut in hue.
Inviting Tin Note Of True Tobacco
If you're familiar with any of the Cornell and Diehl Virginias, the tin note is going to be comforting to you. It's very familiar. I just really love the way that C&D processes their Virginias, as it gives the smoker a very good idea of the natural aroma and flavor of the leaf. On the nose, there are loads of cereal notes, and it's definitely very bready in the tin. But there's also a little bit of that zesty, iced tea kind of character — a little bit of tang in the higher register like a tiny bit of citrus — and there's also a hint of sweetness, almost like a really faint sugar cookie sweetness. All in all, it's a very inviting, balanced tin note.
Likewise, these flakes are cut really well, and they're super easy to handle whether you're folding and stuffing or rubbing it out. I tend to rub out my flakes if I'm smoking indoors, and the moisture content is nearly perfect. I think if you live somewhere, like we do, where the relative humidity is on the high side, even in the winter, you might want to give this five minutes or so of drying time, but I have found that, both in preparation and in smoking technique, Edisto is a very forgiving flake.
Bready Foundation With A Delicate Sweetness
Right off the bat on the charring light, you'll immediately notice notes of rich malt and baked goods; it's definitely bready. There's a gentle spice on the back of the palate and through the retrohale, but it is so subtle that I'm hesitant to even name it. At times it reminds me a little bit of anise, maybe. There are definitely some warming spice kinds of vibes there, but it's just enough to keep things interesting and to balance out the more cereal-like notes, the breadiness, and the modest sweetness.
I would say it's medium-to-full bodied, medium in strength, and medium in flavor, but the smoke is very dense and heavy on the palate. One of the reasons I gravitate toward darker Virginias is because, just personally, I feel that I can pick up on a wider spectrum of flavors — particularly fresh out of the tin. There's a lot more bass in middle notes in Edisto, for example, than there is in something like Sun Bear when it's straight out of the tin. It's really well balanced between the maltiness, the sort of vegetal and herbal notes, the slight earthiness, and the sweetness. In the smoke itself, the sweetness for me seems to range from sweet breads to something that's a bit more syrupy or honey-like. There are moments when I am experiencing a lot of sweetness, and there are moments when that sweetness is just in the background, supporting the cereal notes and the maltiness of the Virginia leaf..
Enjoy Now Or Wait 10 Years For Gold
Now these are 2017 Red and Mahogany Virginias, so they do have a little age on them, but since they were only recently pressed and processed, they do give a good indication of what you can expect in the future. Simply put, I think Edisto is going to age marvelously. If you're primarily a Virginia smoker like I am, you're going to want to stock up, because you're going to want to cellar away a good number of tins. These Virginias will undergo a radical transformation in the next five years, and after the ten-year mark, it's gonna be gold.
A Pinch Hitter for CRF
Now for something controversial. This will likely be an unpopular opinion, but I think that Edisto is going to give Carolina Red Flake a run for its money. They are different, both in terms of the varietals used and the sort of point behind them, but if you're looking for something that's readily available and can pinch hit for CRF, Edisto is an excellent candidate. Comparatively, Edisto seems to be a little less zesty and a little heavier — maybe more of an after-dinner smoke. Now, no doubt, Carolina Red Flake likely has the edge in terms of complexity overall, but for an all-day, pure Virginia smoke that I'm never going to tire of, Edisto is certainly one to beat.
So if you're a fan of Carolina Red Flake, Sam Gawith's Full Virginia Flake, Solani's 660 Silver Flake, or Rattray's Old Gowrie and Brown Clunee blends, then Edisto will definitely register for you and will no doubt find an interesting place in your rotation. I suspect that it will probably end up being something you reach for more than you would think. It's well-suited to a cup of coffee in the morning; it's full enough and flavorful enough to stand up to being smoked outside; and it's robust enough to pair with an adult beverage or smoke after a heavy meal in the evenings. Edisto is a home run for Jeremy Reeves and Cornell and Diehl in the Low Country Line — a damn near perfect, all-day Red Virginia flake.
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