Welcome back to another episode of Tasting Notes, everyone. In today's installment, I'll be taking a closer look at two of Warped's most recent pipe tobacco offerings: The Red Hunt & Until The End, available today only at Smokingpipes.com. Be sure to watch "until the end" (pun intended) for the full review of both blends, or check them out on the site here.
Any Warped fans out there? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: The following transcription has been edited for clarity and brevity.
[Shane Ireland]: Hey everyone, Shane Ireland here. Today I am tasting two blends, the latest two additions to the Warped line of pipe tobaccos.
Over here on the right I have The Red Hunt, and then over here on the left I have Until The End. If you've been following the Warped saga, Jeremy Reeves and Kyle Gellis, the owner of Warped Cigars, teamed up last year to start blending a line of pipe tobaccos produced by Cornell & Diehl. The special thing about this, especially with the first couple of releases, is that they feature the cigar leaf prominently in a way that's quite different from a lot of other pipe tobaccos featuring cigar leaf.
So, you're probably familiar with some blends that have cigar leaf in it, including some old sort of heritage blends from James Fox and Rattray's, and things like that. Those blends that contain cigar leaf often contain a portion of Latakia as well. In fact, they're usually English-style mixtures with a little bit of cigar leaf added to them. Now that's a great combination, very very tasty, but the Warped pipe tobaccos are special in that they elevate and showcase the cigar leaf itself. Warped's blends are a great crossovers, in terms of being a pipe smoker who occasionally smokes cigars, or vice versa. So, if you enjoyed The Haunting, The Cloud Hopper or King Stride, you're definitely going to want to check these out.
So, let's start with The Red Hunt. It is the first Warped pipe tobacco that does not prominently feature a significant portion of cigar leaf or cigar leaf Cavendish. So, it is basically a traditional Virginia/Perique flake with a little something extra. So, right up my alley personally. I'll start of by saying that it's definitely an all day smoke, and the aging potential is, like, off the charts for this one. The Red Hunt is comprised of several shades of Virginia: Red, Mahogany and Bright leaf. It also includes two, aged Oriental components, Basma and an Izmir Turkish both aged several years, and a generous portion of Perique. So, like I said, think of it as a traditional Virginia/Perique flake with a little something extra, a little more depth.
It smells crazy good; there is just a little bit of added sweetness and a little bit of a boozy character. If I were going to compare it to other Virginia/Perique flakes on the market, or other Virginia flakes on the market, to me this is a little more like some of the stuff coming out of Germany: John Aylesbury Luxury Flake, Fribourg and Treyer Special Brown, or Fribourg and Treyer Cut Virginia Plug. So along those lines but with a little more spice and a little more complexity. So, the tin note's amazing honestly. It's luscious, it's definitely on the sweeter side for a tin note. There's a little citrusy kind of thing going on from the Bright Virginia's. There's a little bit of that balanced sort of tangy, sour flavor, which I'm gonna also credit not only to the Red Virginias, but also those two, aged Orientals. Kind of this like floral, tangy, yeah almost an incense kind of a thing when it mixes with that Perique. Really really great tin note, and honestly the tin note is a very good indication of what you can expect from the smoke, and it's also in my opinion, a very good indication of how long the legs are on this one. This is gonna be amazing in five, 10 years and so forth. A lot of Virginias that follow a similar recipe definitely have aging potential. It's one of the styles of tobaccos that we think of most when we think about cellaring. But with this one in particular, like I said, I am very excited to put some away and see how it changes, because I think that added sweetness and that boozy character really gonna mix with those sorts of like baked goods and citrusy flavors, and turn into something really special with time.
The bowl starts off a little on the unassuming side but definitely perks up as the brighter, grassier, breadier sort of Virginia flavors and the citrus make their appearance at the beginning of the bowl. It changes quickly, and in my experience with this blend, it continues to change throughout the bowl. This is a Virginia/Perique that is anything but one dimensional. It's very complex. That said, it can transform into a "fade into the background" kind of a smoke if you need it to. But the complexity here is very high. Instantly, I'm getting some of those earthy and floral notes and that incense-like quality that I credit to both the Perique and the aged Orientals in this mixture. What surprises me most is the vast array of notes that remind me of baked goods. You know, there's like a lemon pound cake, kind of a Creme Brulee sweetness there. I definitely get a little bit of a vanilla essence but closer to the kind of vanilla that you get from a really, really heavily charred oak barrel bourbon. It's woody, and the sweetness is balanced but not cloying.
And as you progress down the bowl, the Perique starts to come out a little bit more. You start to feel the tingle a little bit on the retrohale. A little bit of those plummy dark fruit notes. What really keeps this interesting, for me, is that little bit of of vanilla-like boozy sweetness and the sort of floral incense-like earthiness from the Orientals. Again, it's what tobacco blenders strive for. And it's a little bit of of a cliche to say, but the balance in this blend is remarkable. The sort of bready and citrusy notes and the spiciness and the sweetness, they're all there, and it seems like they're almost all taking center stage at once, which is unique, but like I said, the complexity, high on this one. It's just really easy to smoke. It's well behaved in the pipe, and especially at first light, it throws off a lot of smoke. I'm a pretty slow smoker and even then when I back away off on this I'm still getting a lot of volume. I'm really really delighted with this one and I could see this making my daily rotation, for sure.
It's also really interesting to see Kyle and Jeremy flex their creative muscles when it comes to reimagining a traditional pipe tobacco, because like I said, if you're at all a Virginia smoker or Virginia/Perique smoker, you're gonna enjoy this. And if you've never smoked a Virginia blend with a little bit of Orientals that does not contain Latakia, you're in for a treat here, because they really add an interesting element to the blend. When you get a little bit further down into the bowl, the spice from the Perique and the Oriental sort of ramps up a bit and mixed with that sweetness that is still very present, I almost get this kind of like nutty liquor, almost like an amaretto kind of flavor. And like I said the Creme Brulee, the lemon pound cake, those are still there for sure. But there's a little bit of added woodiness, a little bit of earthiness, and a little more spice. This stuff is excellent, honestly. I can't even explain or pick up all of the flavors that I'm getting. But I will say that if you are the kind of smoker who really loves complexity, this is one that's gonna keep you interested for more than just the course of the one bowl.
So, the second blend that I'm talking about today, one of the latest editions to the Warped line, is Until The End. Until The End is the more robust between these two mixtures. It's another masterfully crafted sort of crossover blend between a cigar flavor profile and a pipe tobacco. This one is comprised of a high grade shade grown Ecuadorian cigar leaf, Bright Virginia, and a little bit of cigar leaf Cavendish — the same cigar leaf Cavendish that's used in King's Stride — and finally a specially selected grade of Dark Fire Kentucky.
Now the cigar Cavendish is a Cavendish that was made from a cigar leaf that was pressed and heated Cavendish style and turned into a really nice Black Cav. It's unflavored, and it just really adds a lot of body and depth in the same way that a regular unflavored Black Cavendish would. Only with a little more of that cigar character. It balances really well with the shade grown Ecuadorian leaf in this mixture. The really interesting addition here is that specially selected Dark Fired Kentucky. The grade that Jeremy and Kyle picked out here is just a little bit different from what you see in a lot of pipe tobaccos, and it is essentially just slightly less smokey in flavor. So, same leaf, same process, just a grade that is slightly less smokey. It's still very meaty and sort of you know, rich and earthy, a little more nutty than campfire smokey.
Right off the bat, that nuttiness comes through, front and center. Again, it lights nicely and takes to the match very well. I immediately get this red wine dryness at the back of my palate, followed by that nuttiness from the Dark Fired leaf. As I start to smoke through this, I'm picking up more just a hint of a citrus from the Bright Virginia, which is great. It's kind of like adding a squeeze of lime or lemon to a spicy stew or a spicy soup. But this one is a lot more about the deep robust flavors. It's very earthy. I also get a fair amount of dark chocolate, a little bit of coffee grounds, like a strong espresso. Like I said, there's this nuttiness that's almost like roasted sunflower seeds and cashews. Maybe even similar to walnut a little bit. Mostly this is dry, there's not a ton of sweetness on tap here, but it's really rugged and rustic. It definitely has an Old World feel to it.
And as the bowl progresses, I'm getting a lot more of that cigar character as well. Very mature tasting overall, a lot of depth to this one, and I would say pretty full flavored and medium to full in strength. The more I get into it, and especially on the retrohale, I get something that's almost like a chili powder kind of spice, so not quite black pepper. It almost feels like a little more heat than that, not in terms of temperature but just like the tingle. I smoke Toscano cigars quite a bit; I'll smoke them in the morning, and while this is not as Dark Fired forward as a Toscano cigar is, I feel like I could definitely swap this out and have this first thing in the morning with a coffee and sort of scratch the same itch. So if you're a fan of Toscano cigars, blends with a good amount of Dark Fired in them, some of the more robust Burley based flakes out of England, you're most likely going to enjoy Until The End.
The remarkable thing about this one is that, even though most of the flavors are on the base end of the spectrum — they're deeper, they're more robust, they're rustic, they're a little fuller — the smoke itself, and the experience itself, is still like velvet smooth. Again, extremely well balanced. Considering this is such a full mixture, so flavorful, and so cigar forward, there's an elegance here that does again remind me of sort of a really bold, full red wine. Really strong flavors, but there's delicate complexity as well. If you are mostly just a cigar smoker and just want the occasional pipe, I could see this blend being your entire rotation, like all you need. If you really slow down and sip this one, you'll find a little bit more delicacy, a little more of those delicate flavors. And if you really push it, you definitely start to get the feeling that you're smoking a powerful cigar. It's an extremely versatile blend that fits a variety of tastes and situations. If you are used to smoking heavier stuff, this could be an all day mixture for you, but I think that first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee or after dinner in the evening, it's an excellent, excellent smoke. Great aging potential on this as well.
Both of these blends are going to be staples in my personal rotation, I'm sure of that, and I definitely recommend stocking up on a couple of them and putting them away to let them mature and really meld in the tins, but they're both ready to smoke now. So thanks again, Kyle and Jeremy. You both hit it out of the park yet again. I'm really excited to see how these do, and I'm really excited to see what you guys come up with next. Thanks, everybody.