Review by cortezattic
The Juicy Fruit of Tobaccos, and who doesn't like that?
Valle Crucis is a blend that defies simple categorization. I suppose that in principle it is a Full British blend: a basic Virginia, Oriental, Latakia mixture with Perique; but the addition of black Cavendish and what I believe is a ginger liqueur topping marks the point of departure. It is a smooth, mellow, and amazingly complex blend that offers multiple layers of delicious flavor. I believe it is destined to become one of those storied blends whose passing will, in future years, be mourned by the few who consider themselves fortunate to have tasted it, and who rue their decision not to have cellared it by the pound.
My supply is from a bulk purchase stored in a Mason jar since January, 2009; but occasionally sampled as a treat tobacco after about a year of aging. It is a mix of brown and black rough-cut leaves, supplied at an ideal moisture level (though my current supply is slightly drier and more suitable for me.) It packs, lights and burns well, delivering a good volume of luxurious, chewy smoke. The aroma from the jar is sweet, fruit-like, and oh, so boozy; evoking an olfactory memory of something resembling overly ripe bananas and, of all things, Juicy Fruit Gum! (in a smoky, tobacco-ish way, if you can wrap your head around that!)
On lighting-up, that enticing aroma from the jar proves to be a faithful harbinger of the smoke to follow: an incredible mosaic of tobacco flavor -- ambrosia for the pipe! Although it is composed of 5 different tobaccos and a topping, it is a very integrated and well balanced olio of flavors that invite close examination by the palate. The flavor profile is that of a full British blend that emphasizes the Virginias (probably reds and stoved reds, I dunno), with the other leaves playing supporting roles; but the ginger topping holds center stage throughout the smoke. It has great body, or depth of character; absolutely wonderful flavor; and medium strength -- all of which make for an incredibly smooth and satisfying smoke. It's one of those blends that demands your full attention; and when you light it up, you'll eagerly give it no less.
When I encounter a tobacco this yummy I often catch myself puffing furiously -- no, make that gluttonously. Despite that, this blend refuses to bite, and continues to deliver a cool and dry smoke without gurgle, goop or dottle -- absolutely well-behaved.
As I mentioned earlier, I reserve this as a treat tobacco because of its festive sweet 'n spicy flavors. I can't imagine smoking it on a regular basis, but I can't imagine being without a generous supply in my tobacco cellar.