Kendal Dark Vanilla - Gawith, Hoggarth & Co.

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beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
I recently reviewed GH’s shag cut Kendal Kentucky and Dark Birdseye, and hawky recommended I give Kendal Dark a go as well. I ended up ordering the vanilla version just to spice things up a bit. I figured it’d be interesting to see what 1-Q would have been like if old Gawith and Hoggarth blended it instead of Lane.
Tin Note / Preparation:

In appearance this is identical to the other G&H shag cuts I’ve tried, Kendal Kentucky and Dark Birdseye. The smell in the jar is similar, though one can certainly detect a subtle vanilla top note that is absent in the others. (Throughout this review, I’ll continue contrasting and comparing this tobacco with the other robust shag cut offerings from GH, so if you’d like to read that review, you may do so here.)
Kendal Kentucky and Dark Birsdeye, though moist, smoked perfectly out of the bag for me—it seems the moisture tames the shag cut, which generally burns a bit too fast for me. The first time I tried to smoke the Kendal Vanilla, however, it didn’t burn as well as the other two, so I tried drying it out a bit more, which works. I think perhaps the added vanilla makes it moist in a way that hampers the burn more than the KK and DB.
Smoke:

After a little drying, it smokes well. It is a bit more of a balancing act than the Kendal Kentucky and Dark Birdseye—smoke it too fast and I get a harsh taste from it that I more associate with a strong burley. This is a classic British sort of aromatic where the topping is quite mild, similar to the G&H ropes. During the smoke, there is a discernable sweetness, but it doesn’t dominate.
This was a pleasant smoke, but I didn’t find it quite as pleasing as the Dark Birdseye. There is a deepness and sweetness to the Birsdeye that I don’t get in the Kendal Dark and Kendal Kentucky who have a brasher, more Burley-esque attitude about them. It’s interesting that the Dark Birdseye actually seems sweeter to me than this, even though this has a vanilla topping.
The overall taste is the dark Virginia leaf that I love in Gawith blends, but with a more dark-fired, smoky taste. I don't think this actually has any Burley in it, despite what some sites report, but I can see why they might assume it. The African Virginia leaf is already a different animal than your standard Virginia, and when fire-cured like this feels a bit closer to Dark-Fired Kentucky than what we generally associate with a Virginia.
Nicotine level:

As expected, this was strong.
In Summary:

This is a great smoke, and I quite like it, but I probably won’t purchase it or the Kendal Kentucky again simply because I prefer the Dark Birdseye. That said, I don’t presume that everyone has my palate.
For those who like the robust strength of SG and G,H, &Co offerings, but don’t like the hassle of a flake or a twist, I’d recommend buying a few ounces of the Kendal Dark, Kendal Kentucky, and Dark Birsdeye, and seeing which one you like best. Dark Birdseye seems (perhaps paradoxically) the strongest (nicotine-wise) and the sweetest of the three, with Kendal Dark on the more daring, fire-cured end, and Kendal Kentucky in the middle.
These shag cut offerings have really spoiled me. Though I love the SG and GH ropes dearly, they now seem finicky by comparison!

 

mawnansmiff

Lifer
Oct 14, 2015
6,672
4,996
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Nice reviews Beast. When you say 'Kendal Dark' are you referring to 'Lakeland Dark' by Sam Gawith?
If so I recently acquired some of that and am still working out if I like it or no.
Regards,
Jay.

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
This is actually a shag cut unlike the broken flake of Lakeland Dark, though it may be a fairly close relative. I've read that Kendal Dark is essentially a shag cut version of Gawith, Hoggarth, & Co.'s Dark Flake (unscented). GH's Dark Flake and SG's Lakeland Dark are probably similar from reading, although I haven't yet had the Lakeland Dark.

 

mawnansmiff

Lifer
Oct 14, 2015
6,672
4,996
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Interesting Beast, I shall do a bit of digging around on the websites tomorrow. Lakeland Dark is essentially 1792 minus the tonquin (or so I read). I sort of like it but it is a tad harsh. Perhaps one for yourself to trial?
Regards,
Jay.
PS: Did you have any joy in sourcing Mellow Virginia?

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Yes, your review of Lakeland Dark was helpful because I like the 1792 quite a bit.

Anything with "Gawith" in the title that has a substantial amount of the potent dark African Virginia/Indian leaf is a winner for me.
For the record, the Lakeland Dark is Dark Fired Kentucky and Virginia, which is similar to the Kendal Dark, which has some of the dark VA that are dark-fired.
If you prefer Dark Birdseye (mostly the dark African VA), it is likely that you don't like the dark-fired taste, and that may be what is harsh to you. That may help you in choosing future blends.

 
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