Levi was kind enough to send me some Lemon Rustica seed along with a sample of leaf to try. The leaf is as pretty in person as it appears in his photos. It is a nice light golden brown color. I have grown probably a dozen Rusticas and they all cure out about the same for me. The end up a muddy brown often with some dull greenish / grey mixed in. It always smokes well but my Rustica is never the prettiest leaf in the barn.
Rolled into a cigarette. the Lemon leaf burns and smokes very well. It is very light and mild like every Rustica I have smoked. Most seem comparable to a very light Virginian bright leaf that needs a little Burley to give it more flavor, but the Lemon seems to have more flavor of its own than other Rusticas. Still quite light but enough flavor to taste something and makes a nice stand alone tobacco for a light cigarette. The nicotine content is high enough for me to notice, which means it must be fairly high. I would guess it at around 7-8%. This will make a very nice morning smoke. Mild, but with enough octane to quickly get me up to operating levels. I give it a big thumbs up.
I really tried to like this. Levi generously sent me a sample of his Lemon Lemon a few weeks ago. Today, it came up in the queue. I removed about 2/3 of each leaf stem, then made a coarse pipe shred of the leaf.
I agree with the previous comments that:
it is the best looking N. rustica that I've seen
it is the best tasting N. rustica that I have tasted
The Lemon Lemon looks to all the world like a fine, sun-cured Basma. So, although the standard of "better looking" is a low measure, this does look quite nice.
On the taste aspect, it is something that I would willingly smoke in a pipe, if I had no smoking tobacco (N. tabacum) available. But in my pipe, it tastes distinctly like N. rustica, which I consider a disqualifying feature. There is no cat urine odor (thank you!), or other potty fragrance. But it does have a flavor that might incline me to mix in a dab of buffalo grease. It's not really full "ick!", but is a tiny bit icky. I was aware of the nicotine present, but felt it rated only moderately "high". The burn is ideal, and leaves a white ash.
If this is the best tasting N. rustica there is, then I'm probably not a suitable person to evaluate other strains of the species.
I may take a crack at using it in a pipe blend that might benefit from its clearly condimental edge.
For those of you who have grown this, how long after first bud did you harvest? I have some that flowered about 3 weeks ago and most of the leaves are bright yellow (as if they have been flue cured). I'm thinking of giving them the ax tomorrow.