A somewhat polarising blend
This is a full-strength offering, complete with a lot of applied casing; in this case, Tonquin bean, a product heavily used in the perfume and soap industries. Whether an aroma used for soaps and shampoos is appropriate for a strong pipe tobacco, I shall not judge beyond the simple statement that I do not feel too offended.
I like tobacco with lots of Nicotine. This blend offers that for me off the shelf, in an environment where most pipe tobaccos available are rather cheap, weak aromatics.
As usual with Sam Gawith's flakes, the cut is a bit wide (changed from only a short time ago when it was more hit-and-miss), takes a bit of an effort to properly rub out, and is rather wet out of the tin. If one can get over that (and I think I can), this is a beautiful if strong offering. I have had stronger, but in my home country, this is in the top 5 %.
With proper preparation (i.e., rubbing out thoroughly and letting dry for a bit), this is a wonderful evening smoke for me. Once more: this stuff is rather strong for most continental European smokers. I like it that way. Most of the audience where I am does not like the room note; I shall keep it mostly for myself as a late-evening blend. And still wish for something stronger. Sorry about that; I have had a few of Gawith, Hoggarth & Co's "black" ropes.
So, rating? Four stars. I like to drink a good Orkney or Islay Single Malt to go along.