Review by Schmitz Bitz
A benchmark blend.
I may hate the term "English" when used to describe tobacco, but I will admit that every time I hear the term, this particular blend comes to mind. I've not been lucky enough to sample any of the Murray's production, this review is on the current Orlik offering.
Out of the tin, this tobacco is a fine cut ribbon, shot through with chocolate brown, tan, golden red, yellow, black and dark olive green hues. Tin aroma is quite pleasant, with the familiar smokiness of the latakia leaf carrying hints of cardamom and cloves, with almost a caramel sweetness in the background...akin to a sweet/savory barbeque sauce.
Out of the tin, this tobacco requires a few minutes of drying time, although I do find that I prefer the flavour profile when smoked while still slightly moist. Using the three-stage pack method, its almost like this blend *wants* to be in the bowl; packs with the greatest of ease.
Admittedly, when I pack a bowl of this blend, I tend to cherry-pick somewhat, dropping a couple of nice black latakia ribbons across the top, so my charring lights tend to have a lat. bomb effect, although hints of the complexity to come still sneak through.
On true light, this tobacco takes a flame wonderfully, and burns slow and cool. Through the top of the bowl, Orientals dominate, with flavours of cardamom and cloves, saffron and cumin prevailing; backed up by a sage like smokeyness (that I attribute to the latakia) with hints of an almost citrus-esque sweetness.
As the bowl passes halfway, the Orientals begin to fade into the background, while the fruity sweet flavours of the Virginias begin to really step to the forefront; hints of mandarin orange, mango, and paypaya mix dance fleetingly across the palate, interspersed with rich woodsmoke and herb flavours.
By the heel of the pipe, the rich smoky latakia flavours dominate, while the sweet Va's once again undergo a transformation, losing the citrus sharpness in favour of an almost apple/rasin flavour, which the clove and cinammon flavours of the Orientals compliment wonderfully. I often find myself trying to light a pile of ash, wishing the bowl had not ended so soon.
The room note of this tobacco is pleasant enough to smoke just about anywhere, with the subtle herbal notes of the Oriental leaf taking precidence over the strong, woodsy latakia smoke. Hints of rasin and citrus waft gently in the background, but are oft gone as soon as they are noted.
All in all, a truely wonderful all day blend, and at this time, my go to "English" (ugh!) for all occasions. Very highly reccomended - a solid, all round 5 star tobacco.