Review by Schmitz Bitz
De Luxe indeed!
When I cracked my first tin of this tobacco, I was taken aback - certainly, 50g is 50g, but the small stack of "coins" contained in the tin seemed miniscule.
The individual coins run about 2" in diameter, at approximately 1.5mm thickness. Definitely on the moist side straight out of the tin, as they dry, the tight spun tobacco will start to loosen up, much to the detriment of the granulated perique contained within. A swirl of dark browns, golden tans, and blacks, interspersed with bright flecks provide some visual beauty to the tobacco. The one downside that I have noticed is that the coins do have a tendancy to stick together, particularly after jarring.
The tin aroma is namely of figs and rasins, with hints of fresh cut hay and spiced rum dancing lightly in the background.
I have found, due to the granulated perique, that this tobacco doesn't benefit from rubbing out, but rather smokes best when simply folded up and stuffed in the bowl, with any straglers placed on top, as kindling.
On charring light, the full flavour of the Virginias comes forth; highlighting the sweet grass or hay like qualities of the fine brights in this blend, with just a hint of the figgy, peppery notes of perique.
With true light, the sweetness mellows some, allowing fruity notes with almost honey-dew like qualities to linger on the palate; whilst being subtley underpinned by the peppery notes of the perique.
As you pass 1/3 bowl, the fruity notes mellow some, transforming into something reminiscent of rum cake, with strong flavours of rasins, currants, brown butter, brown sugar, and rum take center stage. The perique remains mellow, although the peppery bite begins to take shape.
In the last quarter of the bowl, the perique really comes to the forefront of the flavour profile, and while the figgy/peppery bite never overpowers, it makes itself known. The rum/rasin flavour continues, but if one searches, hints of lemon and brown sugar can be found.
The room note on this tobacco is extremely pleasant, both for me (the smoker) and others subjected to it. The sweet aroma of fresh hay, marked with leather, butter, and sugar are at the forefront, with notes of currants and rasins wafting delicately throughout.
The nicotine level of this tobacco is just about perfect - it doesn't floor me, even when pushed, nor does it leave me craving a cigarette by the end of the bowl, something I can't say for most Va. forward blends I've had the pleasure of encountering.
All in all, a solid Navy style VaPer, and well worth keeping on hand.