As a “VaPer Lover”, I usually classify my purposeful excursions into Aromatic and English blends under “Market Research”. I do get an urge for Latakia now and then, especially when I’m digging in the dirt, or find myself walking along a trail, or otherwise in a Sherwood Forest sort of mood. After the typical youthful exploratory period, aromatics seemed to be more for those in nose-shot rather than for my own delight. But I came across a blend recently that gave me pause to rethink.
I noticed the word “unique” ironically applied to three or four different aromatics that incorporated my beloved Perique into the mix for some extra effect, ranging from a dark sweetness to a lively kick of spice. It seems to be the Zelig of tobaccos, a chameleon condiment that can create different effects depending on what it has to work with. But unlike the oft neglected “Aromatic English” designation, such as the Samuel Gawith Perfection blend, there is more mystery surrounding a classification for aromatics laced with Perique.The Hearth & Home Signature Frenchy’s Sunzabitches, with its splash of bourbon, is resolutely “Aromatic, Non Aromatic”, while the more complicated Steamroller boldly plays it across the board declaring “Aromatic, English, Non-Aromatic”.
Sutliff, however, seems to be in the vanguard of these off-center, simply “aromatic” blends. For example, their Celtic blend melds Perique with a “soft vanilla note and a touch of honey”. Their Cranberry & Honey offers a pleasant surprise with its light flavoring and a “touch of Perique” (more about that in a moment). Then there’s the Cherry Cranberry blend that also introduces a bit of the spicy black leaf for good measure. And if their Walnut Knoll concoction of rum, fig, peach and walnut flavors enlivened by Louisiana You-Know-What strikes as curious a chord in your tobacco orchestra as it does mine, I’d say it was time to do something about all this temptation.
I chose the blend that first drew my attention to this Periqueified (sic) aromatic world, the Sutliff American Dream. After extracting a good bit of enjoyment from the first ounce, the Italian chef within me pushed me into a “little bit of this and that” routine. For me, if a blend has a “touch of Perique” I’ll want to punch it up with even more, especially in the case of the American Dream. While nice enough by itself, it cried out for some extra P-zazz (sic again). So with the addition of some good straight Virginia and subsequently enough extra Blending Perique to even it all out, the experiment was well underway. With equal parts of the aromatic blend and some nicely aged Esoterica Brighton I had handy, I just instinctively sprinkled enough of the Parish product until it looked about right. Excellent, as far as I was concerned!.
And so, naturally, I could not stop there. I can scarcely go beyond my initial sampling of an aromatic now without plotting my mixture experiment upon it. So far it’s worked well with the likes of all the Sutliffs mentioned here, as well as the Brigham Ripley Avenue, Mac Baren Black Ambrosia, Peter Stokkebye 316 Sambuca, and yes, even the W.O. Larsen Edition 2015. So while my heart still belongs to the non-aromatics kingdom, I expect to be cruising quite often through the uncharted waters of this Periquish Ocean (man, that’s sic!), in search of my own great American dream. Not to make the perfect blend, but just to have a lot of tasty fun along the way!