Black tobacco has always been a little bit intimidating for me. The first time I encountered it I was driving with my family from Albuquerque New Mexico to Mexico City. Along the way, we stopped at a gas station near the Chihuahuan desert. My father took me out of the car to go into the station to grab a snack. On the way, we walked passed a Solo Angeles one-percenter, sucking on the blackest wad of snuff I’d ever seen. It dripped out of his mouth in inky drops, staining his white undershirt and running off of his leather. He didn’t seem to care. I was transfixed by it. We locked eyes and he said “What you making eyes at?” I clung to my dads leg and went inside.
It might seem childish, but seeing pure black cavendish always reminds me of that trip and, in a way, makes me a little nervous. So, when I opened Sutliff’s Tabac Noir, I felt a little bit of a thrill. The tobacco inside was black, and I mean pure black. It’s actually quite beautiful.
The room note was subtly sweet, with hints of honey, almond and vanilla. The tobacco actually smells quite natural despite its status as an aromatic. I was pleasantly surprised.
The tobacco itself is a cut a little bit chunky. I had to break it up a bit before smoking, as the bowl on my Canadian is somewhat small.
As I lit up I was greeted with the lovely scent of woodsmoke and apple, totally different to the tin note but just as nice.
The smoke was very smooth and very sweet. I tasted sugar, fruit, and a little bit of nut. The flavor palette was very unique, but it is not particularly deep. It’s one note, a nice note, but it doesn’t take any other paths. It also burns a little bit hot.
As I smoked I thought about the biker at the gas station, how harsh and slimy the tobacco looked dribbling down his face. I knew that my experience would be different, but as I smoked the sweet, mild tobacco I couldn’t help but think of the desert and my early childhood. I think that’s the mark of a good smoke, that it takes you somewhere, even if it’s back to the past.