Review by Cortezattic
Dunbar: A soft and mild Virginia with a juducious touch of Perique
Dunbar, a non-aromatic, is a bright and festive looking fully rubbed flake with shreds and ribbons of about 2mm width. Their colors are mostly high tones: yellow, gold, honey and orange, with the darkest being a light brown; and the Perique is a slightly more brownish shade of black than I expected to see. I estimate the latter is mixed in at about the 5% level. The bouquet is soft, with the sourness of fermentation, and aroma elements that bring to mind both apricot and a variety of olive-like flavors – all of which appear in the smoke stream to some degree.
The moisture level, from the tin, is a point or so higher than I usually like, but I have no packing, lighting, or burning problems as presented. Under the match it generates a good volume of smoke with a luxurious mouth feel – full bodied, but smooth and mild tasting. It possesses moderate strength, smokes coolly and dryly, and has no inclination to bite.
This is not a sharp, grassy Va., but rather, a softer, more fruit-like blend with the gentle sweetness of a well cooked vegetable -- as opposed to that of caramel or burning sugars. In addition, I find little or no tartness or lemony zest despite the abundance of bright leaf, and in that respect the flavor profile is a little flat (but not in a bad way). The Perique, used as a condiment rather than a showpiece, works nicely to moderate the Virginias and provide some darker tasting contrast; and while always present in the flavor matrix, it never upstages the Virginias. In brief, a very well accomplished blend.
For all the praise, Dunbar remains, in my mind, a fairly pedestrian sort of smoke: good – delicious even – but without much pizzazz until you reach the bottom of the bowl, where the Perique reveals its stewed fruit and musty flavors, and the blend’s latent strength and assertiveness come to the fore. This blend works well as an anytime smoke owing to its mild flavor and smoothness; but if one is willing to devote some time and attention, it reveals pleasant and rewarding nuances and subtleties.
Dunbar should be on every VaPer lover’s short list of blends to try, and for an initiate wanting to explore the genre it is an excellent starting point. Those who enjoy mild Virginias and VaPers really can’t go wrong with a blend of this quality.