After the fiasco of Sillem’s Black, it took a great deal of convincing myself to give any aromatic a try. However, I needed tobacco, now, and a trip to my local tobacconist revealed that there was little that I had not tried in the little shop.
Kelowna Tobacco Land carries all of my staple tobaccos, with a broad enough selection that I don’t need to look far for variety. However, the variety is all in things I’ve tried a lot of. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just bad for reviews.
So, I picked up a tin of an old reliable favorite, Solani 633: Virginia Flake with Perique, and while browsing their Solani selection, I noticed one that I had not tried; the X: Sweet Mystery. With a name like “Sweet Mystery”, I thought to myself that this could be nothing but another aromatic… Joy!
Oh well, Solani hasn’t steered me wrong yet, and I convinced myself that not all aromatics can be that bad… Can they? After Sillem’s Blech, I had totally forgotten about Two Friends: Celtic Mist. So I persuaded myself, that I could reassure myself that not all aromatics were bad, if I waited to open the tin until I could check my site for aromatic reviews that were at least OK.
Therefore, I chose to open the dependable “number one”, and stuff my pipe on the way home with a satisfying old friend.
This is a blend of Coarse Cut Sweet Red Virginia, Bright Broad Cut Virginia, Broken Virginia Flake and Sweet Black Cavendish. Two toppings are used, Black Currants treated with Bacardi and Coco Cream, resulting in a wonderful tin and room aroma.
Hmm… Sounds interesting… But, ANOTHER black Cavendish blend… Hesitantly, I open the can…
The tin note is dreamy. Sweet and tart, buttery and chocolatey all at once and hinting of honeyed goodness.
The tobacco is not too moist, and looks interesting in its wild, unmatched colors and sizes. It loads into my Vintage Meerschaum Bulldog (it is Meerschaum Monday when I started this review, after all) with ease, requiring nothing more than a finger to tamp it with.
Then I start to smoke.
I first noticed that the tobacco burns cleanly and evenly, and stays lit easily, though it does require a little more puffing on my part.
The taste… Great! The room note… Fabulous! The tongue bite… Almost nonexistent! Another win in the Solani camp. I said at the beginning of the review that Solani has yet to let me down, and they hold to their mark. Though, ultimately not strong enough for me (hey, few aromatics are) you are definitely going to please the In-laws with this one. The room note is much like the tin note, fruity, buttery, chocolatey, and sweet.
As for the bulldog, how can you go wrong with a meerschaum? Even though the pipe is very old, and the stem is quite brittle, if performs nicely, and remains cool. Not the first time I’ve smoked this pipe, but always an enjoyable experience.
As it is, with most aromatics, the stem gets a little gurgly at the end, and a wet plug of dottle is left in the bottom of the bowl, but Hey?! What you expect, it is an aromatic.
What’s the enigma you ask?
Well, there are three pipe smokers in my house. Me, my wife, and my poly partner. And it turns out (not really a surprise to me) that neither one of them really like aromatic blends. I have three different types of tobacco to smoke (on my current rotation), and one of them is a personal favorite, so…
Where did all the Solani 113 X: Sweet Mystery go?!
I really don’t think I could’ve smoke that much of it, my partners won’t smoke it, and only two bowls were shared at the first meeting of the Okanagan Pipe and Cigar Club.
It’s a mystery…<cue Theremin>
But seriously, it’s good enough that I smoked a bunch without knowing it, and obviously stronger than I thought or I would have noticed I was smoking all the time..
I just might end up with an aromatic on my rotation (when I can’t get Hobbit’s Weed).
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!