Welcome back to another episode of Tasting Notes. In this installment, I take a closer look at the last of the most recent additions to the Savinelli tobacco portfolio: Juno. Tune in for my full review of the blend, or snag a tin for yourself today.
Note: The following transcription has been edited for clarity and brevity.
[Shane Ireland]: Hey, everyone, Shane Ireland here. Welcome to another episode of Tasting Notes. Today I am talking about the third out of the three latest editions to the Savinelli line of pipe tobaccos: Juno. Much like Jupiter and Janus, which I've covered previously, Juno continues a collaboration between Jeremy Reeves, Cornell and Diehl and Savinelli. That collaboration started with the release of Savinelli's 140th Anniversary tobacco, which has since has gained sort of a cult following. So it was only fitting that Cornell and Diehl, Jeremy Reeves and Savinelli would collaborate again on a handful of blends. And the three that they brought to us, I think, are really fantastic.
When planning these reviews, I saved Juno for last. On the surface, it's the simplest of the three: a true straight Virginia. So we have a Burley (Jupiter), basically a Virginia/Perique with a little something extra (Janus), and a straight Virginia (Juno). Before I get into the tin note and such, I'll say that Juno is comprised solely of red and bright Virginia leaf, some of which is stoved and some of which is not stoved. So definitely one for the purists, and if you're a big fan of true straight Virginias, this is definitely one you're gonna wanna check out.
Packaging & Tin Note
When I cracked open this tin of Juno, one thing I noticed, which has been consistent across all three of these newly released collaborations between Cornell and Diehl and Savinelli, were these beautiful flakes. I understood that this had a bit of stoved leaf in it, but I didn't expect the flakes to be quite as dark as they are. Of these three blends, Juno's tin note is perhaps the most unassuming. It's really classic; there's that sort of grassy and lightly citrusy straight Virginia, there's a little bit of tang there, along with maybe a little bit of some sugary sweetness. But mostly, it's just a pretty unassuming straight Virginia. The flakes are gorgeous, and like I said, even though there's a lot of bright leaf in here, there's also a lot of stoved and a lot of red, so the flakes themselves are nice and medium in terms of color.
The flakes are really easy to handle, easy to break down, and easy to load into the pipe. The moisture is perfect right out of the tin, so I went ahead and lit mine up immediately after packing the bowl. Early on in the bowl, and especially on the charring light, the first thing I notice is this sort of sweetbread, this bready character. It's like a mix between sweet rolls and a very distinct citrus note that's definitely on the lemony side of the spectrum. And those flavors are pretty consistent the whole way through the bowl. There are more of your typical grassy and fermented hay-like notes that you get from a straight Virginia, as well. There is also a gentle spice, and I'm still trying to figure out what it is. It's less peppery and more spicy, like a chai latte — you know, those warming spices for sure. It's maybe not as distinctive as in some of the other blends that I've reviewed, but it's definitely there, and like I said, it really adds a nice bit of complexity to an otherwise straightforward smoke.
Strength & Body
As I said before, once you get this going, it behaves very well in the pipe. It puts off a lot of smoke; the smoke is perhaps not as dense as the other two blends, but it's definitely got a certain amount of weight on the palate. There's also a really nice, creamy quality. I rated Janus and Jupiter as being in that sweet spot between medium and full strength, and I would say that Juno is firmly medium. Some might say it's mild to medium in strength, but as I've smoked it earlier in the day, I can feel that it is a little fuller than it seems at first. It's definitely an all-day smoke for the Virginia lovers out there.
Back to the overall flavor for a minute. When you talk about that little bit of spice, that kinda chai spice, I'm imagining this creamy sort of chai latte flavor in my mind. But there's also these pastry notes — like maybe lemon pastry, lemon cake, and sweet bread. As you get further into the bowl, the flavors do tend to start to deepen a little bit; they get a little bit richer. There are definitely some earthy notes there, but they're not really that pronounced. I also get some nuttiness, more like a walnut kind of a nuttiness. The other thing is the sweetness that's there, and not just that bready character; there's also some fruity kind of notes. The best way that I can describe the fruitiness is like stewed fruits, but not on the dark fruit side of things. So don't think plums and cherries, but more like peaches and apricots. It's a little more on the brighter side of the spectrum in terms of the fruitiness.
Being a straight Virginia flake, this is gonna age extremely well. Juno's ample portion of stoved Virginia gives it the illusion of a maturity straight out of the tin, even fresh. But since there's still a good amount of just straight Virginia bright and red in there, the aging potential is extremely high. These are Virginias with high sugar contents, and you can definitely feel that when you're smoking them, although the stoved does well to sort of offset the maybe harsh and bitey nature of straight Virginias that are so high in sugar. So it's easy to smoke right away and it has a real mature quality to it, but I'm telling you: in five years, 10 years, this is gonna be incredible. In fact, Juno has maybe the greatest aging potential out of the three blends, although I do think all three of them will age very well.
So I really think that you should try all three of these blends by Savinelli and Cornell and Diehl, but Juno is definitely one for the straight Virginia lovers. If you are a fan of the Dunhill Flake/Peterson Flake, maybe even Full Virginia Flake, except a little milder, or blends like C&D's Opening Night and G.L. Pease's Union Square, Juno will be a home run for you. While I typically like to smoke Virginias with a little bit of age on them, I find that, even straight out of the tin, this is extremely well-behaved, and it's also very accessible; so if you're not a straight Virginia smoker and you really want to jump off or dip your toes into those waters, this is a really good blend to do that with, because it doesn't really require aging and is just easy to enjoy straight out of the tin. So I recommend it for Virginia lovers or for anyone who's looking to try that genre. Thanks, guys, see ya next time.