“Burley doesn’t age” is a common wisdom that any pipe enthusiast who’s begun building their cellar has certainly come across. The truth is that all tobacco will age, though differently, with the greatest flavor changes dependant mainly on the sugar content of the constituent tobacco. The noble Virginia leaf, being a sugar factory, of course ages wonderfully, and often takes all the surrounding leaf along with it for that wonderful ride. All-burley or burley-forward blends, I feel, unfairly get a bad rap for not taking on the epic qualities we often hear of in Virginia-based blends. As proof of a burley-forward blend that has the ability to age gracefully, emphatically and deliciously, I submit for your approval Mac Baren’s Burley London Blend. It is primarily a white burley that has been aged in wooden casks, along with a sprinkling of Virginia. This is a blend that, for all its inherent simplicity, is certainly memorable as a solid, tasty smoke. The review is based on a comparison of a 1980s vintage tin with a current production tin from December 2012.
I first heard of Semois tobacco about three years ago when an ex-girlfriend brought some back from Belgium as a gift. I thanked her, put it on the shelf and forgot about it. I had no idea at the time what unique stuff this was. So it just sat there for the last three years. (The last time she brought back some tobacco from overseas, it was crap, so that’s why I assumed this was too and didn’t even try it.)
Esoterica Penzance comes in both, a 2 ounce tin and an 8 ounce sealed Mylar bag. Very no-nonsense packaging but likeable with the old style script.
A wonderful complex secret recipe of the finest Virginias, choice Turkish and Orientals and Cyprian Latakia, all hand blended together, hard pressed and broad cut into thick flakes. Long matured and easily crumbled to facilitate pipe filling.
A strange animal, this Dorisco Mixture. It has been called one of the biggest practical jokes in the world of pipe tobacco, owing to its tin description indicating it as a Perique-forward Virginia blend, while neglecting to mention the rather generous amount of Cyprian Latakia in it. My own experience with it came about quite by accident, as I had mis-typed the item number while bidding on a popular auction site and won a well-aged tin of this instead of the intended tin of Escudo. I decided to hang on to it, even purchasing a recent production tin for comparison, and am happy to report that it was worth the effort.
Adam J. Smith
At the next gathering of pipe-smokers you attend, pause for a moment and look around the room. Chances are, at least one person is smoking a blend hailing from Denmark. Despite having a population of less than six-million, the role this small nation plays in the world of tobacco production is immense. Major players such as Orlik, MacBaren and the Scandinavian Tobacco Company Ltd. have taken over production of blends created in all corners of the world, producing some truly spectacular tobaccos. This is only fitting, for it isn’t a huge supposition on ones part to imagine that the first European to partake in tobacco hailed from the shores of Denmark; partaking in a ceremony in Vinland (modern day Newfoundland) with the local Micmac or Beothuk population.
100g (3.5oz) round tin. Same elegant branding as all the others in this line of tobacco. Backside has a description of the blend in the words of Erik Stokkebye, and a tin date (mine says Oct 2012).
100g (3.5oz) square tin, very classy. White background, brown lettering. Backside has description and tin date in actual human readable format, which I truly applaud.
It is not every day a new blend is released. It is an even rarer occasion that an entire new line of tobacco is presented. But that is exactly what the people at the Villiger Tobacco Company, in conjunction with the Mac Baren Tobacco Company, have done. Many people have commented or speculated on the branding and even the blending recipes seeming to resemble another, already established brand of blends; however that is not my purpose. Personally, while I find the business side of tobacco fascinating, my goal is to simply explain my experiences with this new brand, and give you an idea as to what you are in for.
Adam J. Smith
Tin Notes: A classic mixture harmoniously married to a Navy flake. Ripe Virginia tobaccos are first blended with Cypriot Latakia, fine Orientals, and a touch of dark-fired Kentucky leaf, then infused with a hint of dark rum before being gently pressed, matured, and sliced. The flavour is rich, bold and satisfying; the aroma an enchanting interweaving of traditions.
Adam J. Smith
Liner Notes: A bold flake of dark-fired Burleys in a well balanced unity with Flue-cured Virginias. This flake is Hot Pressed, meaning that during the pressing, heat is added by steam to the tobaccos which causes to the tobacco to intensify the marrying process giving us a bolder tobacco. The robust, earthy flavour of the dark-fired Burleys shine through in the taste, and you will experience a deeply satisfying smoke indeed.