- Jul 15, 2011
After having a hard time deciding which tin to pop next, I have been dipping into my stash of Billy Budd, and man is this stuff just wonderful. In the bag, the smell is that very bold, burnt leaf smell along with some chocolatey and raisin overtones. This stuff is coarse cut and loads extremely easy and takes a flame effortlessly, no dry time required. The char light and true light both have very pronounced latakia taste, and the bitter coffee smoky taste lasts for the first half of the bowl. The bright Virginia adds some very bold sweetness, and the straw-like raisiny flavor complements the smokiness very well. Then, around mid bowl, I break off the layer of ash and relight it, and something awesome happens. The cigar leaf really comes to the forefront in the last half of the bowl, and the latakia tames down, and the Virginia turns into a wonderful sort of caramel and toffee sweetness, and the cigar leaf brings out what I can only describe as a smoky, really meaty stout taste, not unlike a good rack of ribs or a nice beef roast. The latakia softens out and gives a nice sort of cocoa like compliment to the cigar leaf, and everything just plays off of each other so well and there is just so much flavor going on, and the whole smoke, especially in the second half, has a very nice oily sort of mouth coating and the smoke is extremely creamy and dense. Very very smooth smoking, absolutely no bite at all even if pushed a little bit, and it burns down to the merest ash, but this, like Petersons Irish Whiskey, will sneak up on you in the nicotine department if you're not careful, but it is a wonderfully stout and strong smoke. Billy Budd really shows the magic of a good cigar leaf blend and shows what blending with a deft hand is all about. Heavy enough and smoky enough to be a good winter smoke, but complex enough and tasty enough to be smoked in warm weather too, there is a lot to like here, and fans of hearty Latakia smokes and those looking for a ton of flavor are sure to like this one.