Reiner Blend No. 71 Long Golden Flake

12000106_1027662030598270_1103618288_nBy Greg Wolford

I picked up a tin of this at a B&M in South Carolina on vacation last month. It was dented but still sealed well and marked half off; I figured I couldn’t go wrong with 3.5 ounces of mostly-Virginia flakes for under $15 so I picked it up.

The paint can style tin had been opened a week or so ago by my son but both the metal and plastic lids had been replaced he told me a few days ago. I know these types of tins are supposed to hold moisture well after opening but, still, I wanted to get it jarred up properly.

When I opened the tin I saw these huge, beautiful flakes that smelled of pure hay; a very nice Virginia tin note. Though it had been opened the tin did its job; I found the tobacco to be at the perfect moisture level to smoke. I also noticed the tobacco was far from the “light” color the name implies or I’d expected. I recall the owner saying something that lead me to believe this tin had some age on it; what she said I don’t remember but I’m certain it’s at least a year old, perhaps more.

Unable to resist, I peeled off a loose flake end and dumped the bits into a coffee filter, my preferred medium for loading my pipe on, and rubbed out the tobacco. I used the air-pocket or “Frank” method to load a County Gentleman and set out to try this blend with a cup of dark roasted coffee.

It charred easily and took fire well for the true light, requiring only one re-light for the entire bowl. I was greeted with a nice sweet and slightly spicy-zippy taste. The flavor stayed nice and steady until the last quarter bowl when it went a little sour and “off” tasting; maybe the old cob needs a good shank swabbing? At any rate, the tobacco burned almost completely, leaving only a very small amount of dottle, lots of ash and a hint of moisture.

This morning I decided to give this blend another go, for a proper tasting. I opened the jar and, with my tobacco-scissors, began cutting a nice piece off one of the large flakes. I took the time to really smell the tobacco today, inhaling the jarred contents deeply and repeatedly. I now picked up hay and a slight orange tin note. I packed the pipe, grabbed my coffee and smoking tools and headed out to my deck to evaluate this blend properly.

On the charring light a sweetness is present, as is a nice honey-orange flavor; I didn’t detect it the first time I smoked this blend so it’s not overwhelming but is present. The true light brings more of the same, along with the nice zest I got yesterday. I’m not picking up much if any of the burley but the flavor is very good as it is.

A third of the way into the bowl and the blend has stayed steady: slightly orange-citrus notes with a tang from the Perique. Though the top note, Perique and burley are there, this blend is really about the fine Virginia it is made from. As expected, a little more attention is required today as I employed the fold and stuff packing method in an old English-made bent billiard that was well rested and smokes only Va/VaPers. But each re-light is a treat of sweet, citrusy spiciness.

A little past halfway through the bowl and the flavor has intensified a bit, in a good way, and I can get wee hints of a buttery, nuttiness from the burley now and again. One could possibly attribute some of the sweetness to the honey that is mentioned on Tobacco Reviews.com but I’m not so sure of that; it seems very natural-sweet to me. Smoking at a leisurely pace, the smoke has yet to get even close to hot or the pipe more than warm.

As I approach the bottom third or quarter of the bowl all the flavors I’ve been experiencing are still present except the burley, which as I mentioned, is only slightly detectable to me at short intervals. The orange-flavor and tangy/spiciness have become more subdued while the sweet Virginias have become the star of the show now. Throughout the bowl the blend has been smooth and tasty this time, contrasted to yesterday’s experience; this is one of the reasons I won’t write a review on a single bowl of a blend (unless I have only enough for one bowl). Even at the heel, I’m re-lighting one last time to consume the last bit of goodness.

Wishing there was a bit more to smoke, after enjoying this bowl for just under two hours, I finally give in and dump the bowl. What remains? The smallest amount of un-burnt, dry tobacco (hardly worthy of being called dottle) and fine, light gray ash; the pipe seems completely dry.

I would classify this a as a mild-medium blend, similar to Orlik Golden Sliced but with more flavor, depth, and complexity.  I’d also venture to say that if you enjoy OGS you’ll like this as well, and probably better than, OGS. I would rate this on a scale of 1-5 as a solid four-star blend; the presentation of the oversized flakes, the quality leaf, burn characteristics, and most importantly the flavor are all there for me in this blend, one that I think I could enjoy any time of the day and packed/smoked well in at least two different methods.

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