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New WLT Latakia and Perique: Product Review Moved to WLT

deluxestogie

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#1
New WLT Latakia and New WLT Perique: a review

It's always a pleasure and a privilege to sample some of the new offerings of WLT before they are made available to purchase. It's like an advance copy of a book about to be published. In this instance, I'm reviewing two new tobaccos, both of which are intended for pipe blending, though some also use these for cigarette blending and cigar blending.

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{Find deluxestogie's review for Latakia here, and Perique here! moved to the WLT website. Thank you Bob / deluxestogie!!!!!}
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Since neither the Perique nor the Latakia is suitable for a solo run, I made up one of my favorite blends to sample them together:



Pearl of Shibam
  • WLT Lemon VA: 5 parts
  • New WLT Stacked Basma: 4 parts
  • New WLT 2017 Latakia: 4 parts
  • New WLT Perique: 3 parts
[I measured the "parts" in tablespoons of shred. No need for a lab balance. This is all hand-shredded to a coarse strand.]

I'll begin my impressions by mentioning that, years ago, I used to have Craig Tarler, at Cornell & Diehl, regularly mix this blend for me--it's not one offered by C&D. The primary blend difference between that and the present blend is my use today of WLT's really exquisitely cured Basma, instead of C&D's Izmir. Today's blend is better than any of it blended by C&D.

Pouch aroma: The crispy edge of the Basma is immediately evident, as is an intense Latakia incense. Both present the impression of "fresher" spice. The fruitiness of the Perique masks its underlying, subtle barnyard. For an English/Balkan blend, pouch aroma doesn't get any more inviting.​
Strength: The overall nicotine strength of this blend is mild to moderate, and seems typical of previous batches made from generic ingredients.​
Taste: I don't notice quite as much soapiness as I typically find in Latakia. The Lemon and Basma together give it an appropriate, sour edge. I suspect that my perceived, slight sweetness is imaginary. There is no particular taste to the Perique ingredient within the blend, as it burns. One secret to this particular blend is that the VA Lemon and Perique are in perfect balance, resulting in zero tongue bite.​
Aroma: The musty and warm scent of a spice censer swinging in the hand of a priest, as he slowly walks the aisle of a cathedral. Maybe even the friendly mustiness of the "stacks" in a university library 40 years ago (where browsing professors puffed Dunhill English blends and Balkan Sobranie White in their pipes).​
Burn: Typical and excellent and cool.​
Aftertaste: This leaves a delicious, slightly salty, dessert-like reminder.​
Residual Moisture: None in the bowl or shank. No dottle. Only clean, light gray ash.​

Conclusions:
The Stacked Basma, new Perique and the new Latakia are genuinely excellent. If you are considering purchasing similar blending ingredients (the pre-shredded stuff) from pipe tobacco retailers, all three of these WLT offerings are of a much higher quality, and cost a lot less.

-Bob
 
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deluxestogie

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#5
...WLT offering pipe blends similar to the cigar and cigarette blends?
Interesting prospect. I don't know the proportion of pipe smokers who prefer highly flavored aromatics vs. those who smoke pure (unflavored) tobacco blends (Va-Per, "English-style" and "Balkan/Oriental-style").

Those pure tobacco blends would be excellent candidates for whole leaf blends, while the aromatics would require a bit of creativity from your tobacco casing consultant. Cavendish would be lacking, but that still leaves a wide range of possibilities:
  • Virginia and burley blends (like the commercial "Half-n-Half")
  • Virginia and Perique blends (Va-Per)
  • Balkan style blends (like the Pearl of Shibam recipe above, or selected blends--mild, medium and robust--from my Latakia blending matrix) [Every blend in the blending matrix consists of identical ingredients in differing proportions, pivoting on the percentage of Latakia. It seems like a "Master Latakia Blender" kit, accompanied by a printout of the matrix, would be a fun offering. ]
  • English style blends that include some burley (many of the commercial "English-style" formulations)
  • Lemon vs. bright vs. red in various ratios in any of the above Virginia ingredients
If you look at the ingredients (they seldom mention actual percentages) in the large selection of offerings from Cornell & Diehl, you can find some interesting possibilities.

https://www.smokingpipes.com/tobacco/by-maker/cornell-diehl/bulk/

Clicking on each of the blends will reveal the ingredients list of that blend. Lots of ideas there.

Bob
 
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#6
I would say only as very general blends, such as navy flake, and an English blend. Half and half, as Bob suggested sounds good in principle, but the actual Half and Half is so bad that the mere mention of it gives me flashbacks. It would be a copywrite problem, it wouldn't offer much that a navy blend with perique in it wouldn't offer, and although it would be excellent, the name would make you think of one of the worst pipe tobaccos to ever have existed.
 

deluxestogie

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#7
Half-n-Half, as well as a dozen or so other long-time "drugstore" blends sells a gazillion units a year. Whether or not you personally like it (I don't. And the commercial casing wrinkles my nose.), it holds a significant market share. A blend kit will survive or die, depending on interest level, rather than on our personal preferences.

Navy flake is essentially just Virginia and Latakia. Add burley? That's easy. Add some Perique? Sure. That's the beauty of a blend kit that functions like a well-stocked pantry.

Bob
 

FmGrowit

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#8
Seems I recall seeing something about a blending matrix somewhere on the forum. It would probably make the most sense using tried and true recipes.
I would also insist on the Tobacconist who created the blends accept a Royalty for using his work.
 

deluxestogie

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#9
Every one repeatedly tried and true.



There is of course the always imitable Pearl of Shibam. Perique blends in general are computed with a Virginia : Perique ratio of 5:3 for zero bite, regardless of the other ingredients, and a lower proportion of Perique if a more edgy Virginia taste is desired.

I have not at all explored pipe blends using portions of cigar leaf (since they make my pipes stinky).

I'll accept a principality, dukedom or even just a single county.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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#10
Just for everyone's amusement, here is an image for a Pearl of Shibam blend, sized to fit on a round, removable laser/inkjet label. It uses a generic description of ingredients.



Most browsers will allow you to right-click it, and select download image. [Again, the inscrutable Arabic says, "al sharq", which means, "The East".]

Bob
 
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