Newminster’s No. 23 Blackberry Brandy intrigued me when I saw it at smokingpipes.com because it finally was an aromatic that didn’t include Cavendish. In fact if the Virginias in it were air-cured, it would be a similar composition to most cigarettes sold in Canada.
The tobacco itself is a mix of Mexican air-cured Burleys, and flue-cured Virginias from Brazil and the USA. It is a mix of cut plug and loose cut tobaccos blended with blackberry essence and brandy.
The result is a tobacco that smells bright and sweet in the bag and makes your mouth water waiting for the taste.
Putting it to the ultimate “tongue bite” test, I load it in my three-inch Chacom Punch 340 Billiard, and prepare for a smoke.
When I first got the bag, the tobacco seemed a little moist all, but a few days at room temperature instead of the cold moving truck and warehouses left the tobacco just about right. So, without airing I load the pipe and light up.
In the first couple of draws, I notice that when the smoke hits my nasal passages, it leaves behind a delicate floral scent, like fruit blossoms.
The taste is strong and fragrant and you can really taste the Virginia’s sweet bouquet. The blackberry essence is sweet, the brandy tart, and there is a tannic oaken flavour that might have come from the barrels that the brandy was stored in.
The room note is a great crowd pleaser, scented identically, I’m given to understand, to blackberry brandy, no surprise there.
The little Chacom Punch performs marvellously, delivering a nice clean smoke, though it does get a little warm near the end.
The dottle, almost nonexistent and there is no gurgling near the bottom of the bowl, though I am unsure as to whether or not at this from the pipe or the tobacco.
Overall, I would have to say that this is the best aromatic tobacco that I have ever tried. It literally lacks in nothing. Good strength, good taste, good room note, good bag note and very little dottle and gurgling.
Give it a try, I’m sure it won’t disappoint you.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!