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Old 01-16-2009, 09:12 AM   #17
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Default Re: Virginia/Perique (VaPer) Showdown


After a long hiatus, filled with too many other blends, I give you the next installment in the VaPer Showdown.

Well, I’m sitting down with yet another blend from the Hearth & Home stable. This time it is Rolando’s Own. This is one of the last VaPers from that I have not tried. I ordered this one on kind of a whim due to the fact that no matter how hard I searched and how many people I had asked, not many people knew about this blend and even fewer had actually tried it. So in the name of curiosity and this showdown I decided to order half a pound and check it out for myself.

Here is the description off of the website:

Named for renowned pipemaker Rolando Negoita, this is a Virginia/Perique blend with Rolando's artistry in mind. A mixture of lemon, red and stoved Virginias is enlivened with a moderate dose of wonderful Perique, for a sweet and flavorful all-day smoke.

I have read a lot online that some of their blends are getting shipped out a little raw and need to age a bit more. This is probably due to the fact that most of their blends are so good that it is hard to keep up with demand. My plan with this blend is to smoke 3 or 4 bowls and then put the rest away for a month and see how it has changed in that time.

Okay, off to the review.

The first thing that shocked me about this blend was how light the color of it was. It has a lot of light tan tobacco in there some dark browns and some near black. It has a wonderful aroma fresh out of the bag. It had the spicy/sour smell of a VaPer that I have grown to love so much. This tobacco comes as kind of a mix cut. Some small pieces and some longer pieces mixed together. It says that it is supposed to be a ribbon cut on tobaccoreview but they are not really any kind of uniform length to me. Packing and loading was really easy with this one. I had to take care not to pack it too tight in there (I’m trying to learn from past mistakes). Lighting it was pretty easy as well. This blend came with the proper amount of moisture in it. I just put it out for 15 minutes before I packed it and I had no trouble lighting it or keeping it lit throughout.

I have to say that the different Virginias add an interesting twist to this blend. It is a bit sweeter than most of the others that I have tried. Not sure if this is due to the addition of the Lemon Virginias or not but I like it. The flavors are a bit muted in the first third of the bowl but they all seem to fall into the groove a little before the halfway point. I would agree with their description as to the Perique amount in this blend. I would say it is moderate to medium. It’s not going to overtake the blend but it is also not in the background. Take your time with this one. I learned the hard way that if you puff too fast then the blend can turn a bit harsh.

This blend maintains its sweetness to the bottom of the bowl. The spiciness also kicks in a bit more towards the bottom.

Overall I think that this was a really good VaPer. I rank it right up there with my other current favorite of theirs, AJ’s Blend. It doesn’t taste the same. AJ’s is a bit more bold but Rolando’s makes up for it in flavor. I think that this one is my third favorite bulk VaPer behind AJ’s and Peretti’s Park Square. Now I don’t know Rolando and will probably never be able to afford one of his pipes but I will agree with him on this blend. It is very tasty!!

1) McConnell Scottish Cake
2) Samuel Gawith’s St. James Flake
3) Escudo
4) GL Pease Filmore
5) H & H AJ’s VaPer
6) Peretti’s Park Square
7) H & H Rolando’s Own
8) H & H Anniversary Kake
9) G & H Louisiana Flake
10) C & D Night Train
11) Reiner’s Long Golden Flake
12) Treasures of Ireland - Limerick
13) Dorchester
14) Luxury Bullseye Flake
15) McClelland Bulk 2015
16) GL Pease Telegraph Hill
17) Kajun Kake
18) Luxury Navy Flake
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