Curly Cut Regular: concentrated Va. taste with piquancy and a hint of lemon tang
My supply of Curley Cut Regular was purchased in May, 2010, and stored in a Mason jar for over a year. I have not tasted an un-cellared sample. It is a tangle of brown-tone ribbons and half-inch diameter coins cut from rope; partially unwound and apparently broken up in handling. Thatís OK with me as I rub this out anyway, which produces shag-like 1mm ribbons of tobacco. The aroma from the jar is that of a sweet, grassy Va., just a little lemony, and slightly musty. I give it a little drying time, but many smokers would light it up as is.
This is a sharp, pinching Va. flake Ė pretty high on my piquancy index, so it deserves some respect lest it sinks hooks into your taste buds. Iíll stop short of calling this a bitey blend because the sting seems to be due more to Va.ís zesty temperament than to alkalinity or steam. However, a gentle draw and slow pace is not only a good self-defense tactic, but a necessity if you expect this tobacco to deliver optimum results: a sweet, concentrated Va. taste with piquancy and a hint of lemon tang.
CCR has Lakelandís floral overtones and soapiness applied with great restraint; and in any event they fade just past mid-bowl. It is probably the lightest and most subtle application of Lakeland essence that I have experienced to date. I imagine that a more sparing application of scent would be difficult to identify. I find it a most pleasant amendment and a welcomed change of pace from my usual fare. It is definitely not strong enough to ghost a briar for very long, so I use it in any of my pipes.
CCR has a fairly typical Va flake flavor, although a little bit lifeless. If I light-up a sharp Va. flake I want its peppery pinch to complement something more invigorating. While it starts out reasonably rich and sweet, its flavors, Lakeland scent included, steadily fade during the smoke. Removing the ash on re-lights past mid-bowl only temporarily rescues its initial flavors. I also think it is a little less smooth than many other Va flakes. While it is a satisfying smoke with good volume, mouth feel, and medium nicotine strength, etc., it has a bit of a hard edge. If you should chance to inhale, it will be downright harsh in the throat area.
I think this is an ideal blend to introduce the Lakeland scents to a veteran Va. flake smoker. Its innate piquancy and bite potential, however, make me hesitate in recommending it to a beginner.
It packs, lights and burns very nicely and it smokes cleanly and dryly to the bottom of the bowl. The last part of the smoke, however, loses its luxurious scents and sweet, lemon grass character, and only delivers a generic smoke Ė almost cigarette-like. It also happens to produce an acrid room note that should put off most people -- the smoker included if he should leave and then return to the room.
Iíve given this blend only two stars because I think itís just OK, not laudable for any trait other than its very subdued and comforting application of Lakeland essences. If its flavors didnít fade into generic smoke past mid-bowl I would be inclined to recommend it more highly.