Review by cortezattic
For me, a Gemini mixture.
My several bulk purchases of LJ Heart Burley have always arrived in an astonishingly dry state. Because of this dryness and its loose, coarse-cut appearance, it has been aptly (if somewhat humorously) compared to fish food flakes -- and don't sneeze into it or it'll fly all over the place! There are two up-sides to this: it burns and tastes much better dry than moist (I've tried it both ways); and, you get a lot more tobacco by volume, so you're not paying for water content. This distinctive presentation takes a little getting used to when handling and packing, but it's really not a problem -- just plan on more storage jars than you originally estimated.
My review is based on the last part of a large supply I purchased and jarred back in Feb., 2009. It seems to have become a little more rounded and luxurious with age; but the essential taste hasn't changed very much -- which is no surprise for a Burley. On opening the jar one is greeted by an olio of bright golden and brown-tone tobaccos speckled throughout with unflavored black Cavendish. The "tin note" is mostly an oat-like aroma that is only slightly sweet, and even less so, musty.
This blend has a sweetness unlike that of sugar, or honey, or any of the other saccharine tastes. Rather, it boldly delivers the sweetness of a nicely braised aromatic root vegetable like parsnip or carrots -- at once velvety and earthy. A gentle salinity adds interest to the blend, and it never fails to remind me of the taste of Grapenuts Flakes.
If you're a Burley-holic this could make a great all day smoke because it features Burley's quintessential full-bodied tobacco taste; and aside from a tinge of woodsy aroma, it has little in the way of complexity to distract you from whatever you're doing. This is one of those blends that "has your back", as they say, inconspicuously delivering good taste and moderate nicotine -- ideal for driving, playing cards, or being otherwise pre-occupied.
For me, this blend really shines as a luxurious, satisfying after dinner smoke, bathing the palate with flavors that are a perfect complement to a fine meal. It is rich and full bodied; and its ethereal cigar note will make you feel like a king! Its flavor is so expansive that it can overwhelm the palate if smoked in a full-throttle, large diameter pipe. For me it's best in a smaller bowl, but not a deep one because the sweetness of this blend tends to fade in the last quarter and Burley bitters appear. (Some folks like that; I merely tolerate it when it happens.)
So why have I given this blend such an indifferent rating after having reviewed it in such glowing terms? It is a very uneven performer from a personal point of view. Under some conditions of personal mouth chemistry and perhaps even the pipe it's smoked in, it can be bitter and unpalatable right from the get-go; and when that happens it doesn't improve much with continued smoking. I'll give up on it immediately and dump it out, realizing that this isn't the time or circumstance for this particular blend. I'm still an enthusiastic fan, and I feel duty-bound to recommend it because when it's good -- and that's most of the time -- it's very good. It is a blend that the Burley lover must try -- sooner rather than later.
No goop, gurgle, bite, or other burning issues. Medium nicotine, good smoke volume, good mouth feel, and my first choice for an after dinner smoke.