You always know it is going to be a good day when you are tirelessly working on getting estate pipes online and Russ places a brick of tobacco on your desk and says “try this, it has been in the press for about two weeks.” Well, I guess I knew what my first bowl of the day was going to be. The brick smelled delicious, like a sweet Virginia cake with a nice helping of spice. I quickly loaded my pipe and Russ just looked at me and smiled, he said it was VR Blend. I was familiar with the blend and smoked it a few times. When I smoke a newer tobacco I usually look at the reviews online while I smoke the first bowl. It appears that every review rated the tobacco between 3.5 and 4 stars. I like when Russ gives me tobacco to try.
As soon as the bowl is lit I taste the wonderful Virginias and the Cavendish, which lends a certain depth to the blend. The Cavendish is not sweet and it is there to add body not sweetness The spicy Perique showed up about a quarter into the bowl, and for a few puffs it was strong. Then it settled down and instead of competing with the other tobaccos in the blend it settled back and complimented the blend, the spice enhanced the sweetness. This is part of Russ’ blending genius, all of his blends are blended with complimentary tobaccos and he achieves an overall flavor/theme for each blend. I recently opened a tin of a famous Va/Per and I have to say I like VR blend a little more. I think once the tobaccos settle down you are left with a harmonious blend where all of the components work together. This just came out of the press a few minutes ago, I cannot wait to see what happens once the brick has a chance to age a few more weeks. I can see this being an afternoon smoke.
I have to say, I may have the best job ever for a pipe smoker, I sit five feet away from a master blender.