A friend of mine sent me a rather substantial sample of this very interesting blend. Knowing that I am primarily an aromatic smoker, he wanted to know my opinion. I like it. I have always enjoyed Black Cavendish blends. Berry Nice is different from the usual vanilla cased Black Cavendish. Being an aromatic I decided to smoke it in a variety of medium bowl sized pipes. The best of these smokes were in my Cavicchi Volcano.
The pouch note is lightly sweet with a subtle but noticeable berry flavor. I am most familiar with the aroma of Blackberries, and I recognized it before detecting the Black Currant. My sample was a bit drier than I would have expected an aromatic to be, and required no drying prior to stuffing and puffing. It was a very dark, course cut, and easy to pack. I had no trouble keeping it lit, and the little bit of dottle left at the end of each bowl was dark and dry. This is not a goopy blend at all.
When it comes to fruit flavored tobaccos I prefer a berry flavoring, and like most people have the greatest experience with cherry blends... Most of those have a very forward and in-your-face cherry flavoring; Russ Ouellette's Berry Nice is much more subtle. But, one doesn't have to go searching for the berry flavor. The berry flavor comes through nicely in balanced measure, and is noticeable on the char light and true.
The black currant and blackberry flavors are quite complimentary and don't struggle to be the dominant flavor, they work nicely together. One aspect to the flavor (in my humble opinion) is the smokiness of the flavor, imparted by the toasting of the Cavendish. The smokiness isn't a Latakia type smokiness, but rather an added robustness to the flavor that helps to separate the berry flavor from the smoke. It seems to me to be a very good toasted Black Cavendish tobacco, and by itself is quite good. The berry flavor seems to be quite separate from the smoky flavor, readily identifiable and is and additional treat. So, there is a two part complexity, that doesn't beat you over the head. To my palate… two very complimentary flavors; Smoky toasted Black Cavendish and berry. Simple and good.
I didn't find Berry Nice to be in the least bit goopy or sugary, but is a bit on the sweet side. However; the sweetness doesn't overpower the berry taste, and seems to be exactly right.
I recommend that aromatic smokers give this subtle blend a shot. I think that Latakia lovers will enjoy this as a smoky and lightly sweet diversion as well. It's not what I would call a "go-to" blend, but with the winter coming on, Russ Ouellette's Berry Nice will go comfortably at your Hearth & Home.