Review by cortezattic
Troost Special Cavendish: my glove box blend
I bought two 50 gram pouches of Troost Special Cavendish in January, 2010, and I immediately transferred them to a Mason jar, from which I’ve been sampling regularly ever since. It has obvious navy flake origins, but it is rubbed out to golden brown shreds that are coarser than ribbons, but more complete than a broken flake. I do a little more rubbing and teasing to bring it to the ribbon stage that I prefer; and I dry it slightly before packing and lighting.
From the jar TSC smells like a typical grassy Va with an intensity and piquancy that betrays its flake origins. It also has a darker tobacco note; and a musty, pungent odor that never reappears in the smoke. The term “aromatic” goes hand-in-hand with Dutch Cavendish, and in this case the flavoring is a rather thin licorice treacle, but there is no chemical off-taste, goopiness, or artificiality of any kind. This is far from an off-the-rack blend of cased, low quality Burley. Here the flavoring rounds-out and enhances quality tobaccos, and caters to the smoker’s palate, not his wife’s nose (though it may have a pleasing room note too, I can’t say.)
On lighting up, TSC produces the expected sweet grassy Va taste with a faint yet pleasant citrus edge, accompanied by that thin licorice flavoring. It is a fairly soft and smooth smoke with a weak peppery finish. There is nothing sharp, piquant, or “hot” tasting about it, although you can sense that you’re smoking a zesty Va that has been tempered and rounded-out a bit – probably by the Burley. I hope I haven’t dwelt too much on the flavoring. It’s a really minor player in this blend: it produces a continuous dark sweetness more than anything else; and it adds interest to the smoke.
By mid-bowl, or perhaps a little beyond, the Va flavor gives way to a more generic tobacco taste, and this transition makes the “dark” sweetness more noticeable, but no more important. The faint licorice / toffee flavor appears in the finish, or aftertaste of every puff, but a generic tobacco taste is pretty much the whole story until you reach the heel of the bowl. At that point the initial Va taste, riding on a good volume of thick smoke, blossoms once more for a brief finale.
This is a very mild smoke that burns well and has a mild-to-moderate nicotine strength. There is good balance between flavor, strength, and body; and it produces an excellent volume of smoke with good mouth feel and a dull licorice finish. There is no goop, no gurgle, and no bite. It packs and lights well, and it burns slowly, dryly, and completely.
TSC should appeal to most smokers who can bring themselves to smoke a lightly flavored tobacco; and if you like Va’s, I think you’ll return to this time and again. I can’t say it has any truly outstanding attributes, but it’s a satisfying and comforting smoke: reliable and predictable. For this reason it would make an excellent “glove box blend” – a back-up smoke to reach for whenever you’re away from home and you run out of tobacco.