I have smoked two of the blends Russ created using the cigar leaf,and let me tell you,they are wonderful. It was a sight to see Russ hand cutting the first batch with his pocket knife. He first tried to cut the leaf with an old coffee grinder but that did not work, he gave up after twenty minutes. The first blend he gave me was a Virginia/Perique blend with the cigar leaf mixed in, it was fantastic and I confiscated the sample and it sits in my desk hidden away. The second blend was an English mixture. The cigar leaf gave the latakia more depth and the blend was very rich. Russ had a big smile when he received this leaf and I think he knew how special it was the second he opened the box. I feel lucky and very fortunate to be able to sample these blends and see how they develop from start to finish. A few years ago I smoked a lot of Bankers and Robert Lewis 123, both are great examples of what cigar leaf can do to an English blend, but I think Russ is taking the concept in another direction that is different than anything on the market.
As Russ likes to say, this is going to be very exciting.