Review by romeowood
This cherry is the bomb.
If you enjoy aromatics at all then you will love this blend; it's that simple. It's truly everything a tobacco lover's aromatic should be: smooth, no bite, flavorful and based on the highest quality tobacco. Although the casing is thorough and strong, it does not merely use the tobacco as a delivery system; it is married exceptionally well to the taste of the fine Cavendish used to make it. I've got dozens of cherry blends in the cellar, from OTC to high-end vintages, and this is the one that I consider to be the gold standard.
Tin: On opening the tin one is immediately regaled with a rich, sweet cherry liqueur bouquet (Bob's 'Kool-Aid man comparison is not an embellishment). After a bit of drying time, and some time in the opened tin, the vanilla will become more apparent as the casing mellows and the sweetness is a bit tempered.
The dark chocolate- to tar-colored ribbons are not overly moist, but a small amount of air drying will deliver the best results less than half an hour should suffice for the portion you will smoke. There are no lumps or gummy deposits; the tobacco is neatly manicured and leaves no residue on the fingertips, a problem with many of the stronger cherry aromatics. To note, the ribbons are stout cuts of the leaf; there is no stringy end-leaf or stalk apparent.
Char: The first light speaks of this blend's actual mildness, which is almost surprising considering the strength of its initial aroma. A few minutes to cool and a light tamp is generally all that is necessary to allow the rest of the bowl to burn smoothly through with few relights until the very end.
Top: The first impression is again of surprising mildness for such a strong-smelling blend, like a cherry wine spritzer or Italian soda. I believe the vanilla keeps it grounded, though it's thoroughly cherry flavored. Very pleasant on the tongue, and not dangerous with proper cadence you won't even think about bite. As the bowl warms it becomes very confectionery, but never unpleasantly so. With more drying a little bit of pepper comes to the nose on the exhale.
Mid: As the burn progresses, the cherry calms down a little and the vanilla smoothness starts to come through, along with the rich flavors of the smoky Cavendish. Faded cherry bubblegum or black cherry soda, and a very light toastiness, dominate. Vanilla also becomes more readily apparent in the room note.
Finish: The cherry, ever present, has transformed from a very upfront sweetness on top, through a mellower cherry soda, finishing again with a pleasant softer sweetness by the end. The aftertaste it leaves is really quite good, sugary rather than acidic, although it may be a detractor for some that it will linger for some time. It will likely require a relight, averaging 4 matches, or perhaps a couple more in larger bowls. It seems best suited to smaller, slightly conical bowls filtered Medico pipes are a perfect match for this, as are MM cobs. In a larger, unfiltered bowl there will be a bit of moisture, but no more than many VaPers or straight Virginias. A detractor for some may be its staying power, however it will definitely linger in your pipe, so be considerate of your choice in that regard. Alternating chocolate blends with this, however, can be very rewarding.
Room Note: The cherry in this blend is one of the most pleasant I've ever smelled, both while smoking and for those around me. While strong, it's never overpowering, and not so overly-cased as to make the tobacco smell become rancid I reiterate that this is quality tobacco perfectly married to its flavoring. The scent will linger in the room and on your smoking jacket as a pleasant memory.
Overall: Contrary to many reviews I don't find it a one-dimensional smoke, albeit not extremely flexible; if you pay some attention to it you will be rewarded with some great character and depth for such seemingly standard fare. Having said that, it's also a great time pass that you can enjoy without fear of being bitten. I've never been able to smoke just one bowl; I generally enjoy three in succession, in fact. Great tin packaging as well rounds out this blend's many attributes.
RATING: 4.75 stars
For presentation, flavor, burn, room note, finish, and availability.
Minor points lost for price point, lack of flexibility, ghosting.