Review by Cortezattic
MOJO: A Matt Robillard treat.
I’ve been smoking MOJO on and off for two years: as a change of pace smoke and as a holiday treat tobacco. The reason for the latter indulgence is that deertongue reminds me of the festive spices found around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every smoker may know that deertongue is used to add spicy zest to a blend, but it is none-the-less uncommon. Of the thousands of blends available today one would be hard pressed to name more than a half dozen that use deertongue.
MOJO is an all natural, mildly sweet, Virginia-forward blend, with Burley and Perique. Technically it is an aromatic, but not in the sense of a tobacco cased with chemical flavorings. It is a mix of golden and brown tone leaves in a loose, short ribbon cut, speckled with black Perique and pale green deertongue, with a moisture level that is textbook correct. The bouquet is at once sour, spicy and sweet, but the sour aspect doesn’t carry into the smoke.
The focus of this blend is, of course, deertongue -- an herb sometimes called vanilla leaf, or wild vanilla, because it emits coumarin's vanilla-like odor when the leaves are crushed. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I don't think it has a true vanilla flavor. To me it is a spicy but pleasant herbal aromatic that is at once sweet and somewhat piquant (hot, pinching). It seems to belong in the domain of the pastry spices -- unlike, but analogous to, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace, etc. In some respects it reminds me of the almond paste in a Danish sweet roll. Well, I think you get the drift.
The Virginias in MOJO, along with the deertongue, produce a soft, bread-like sweetness that plays well in front of the Burley and Perique. To me, the Burley pushes MOJO into the realm of the codger blends; and the Perique must be doing its job, for the blend is well rounded, but I can’t admit to actually tasting it. Since the deertongue also produces a slight peppery tingle -- and it is the dominant flavor here -- it may well be masking, or at least harmonizing with the Perique. For sure, the deertongue creates some piquancy that lingers in the finish.
MOJO generates a nice volume of smooth, dry smoke with great mouth feel and no bite – in all respects a well behaved blend. It produces a slightly parching, and slightly astringent finish; and it is very satisfying, so I say it has medium nicotine strength.
As I intimated earlier, this is not a part of my regular rotation, for a little goes a long way; but my “deep rotation” would seem incomplete without at least an ounce or two in reserve. I would recommend that one buy at least that amount just for the experience.