Saturday, May 28, 2011
Not Very Cherry
by J.S. Holland
After a long series of positive tobacco reviews, I've finally hit one that doesn't do it for me: Middleton's Cherry Blend. Though Mr. Middleton scored a big hit on the plantation with Carter Hall, my experience with this stuff is a piece of puzzling evidence.
First thing is, it doesn't smell or taste like cherry. At all. And that's fine, because frankly, the idea of cherry flavored tobacco doesn't really tickle my tastebuds anyway. I only chose this pack because I appreciate the mythic resonance of its old-timer status, and largely on the good reputation of the aforementioned Carter Hall. But it does smell/taste like something, only I can't figure out what. It's more like apple than cherry to my olfactory, but it's more complex than that. There's a good room note, but the stuff is probably more enjoyable to innocent bystanders than it is to the guy actually smoking it.
Secondly, I wonder if my particular pack is just dried out from having sat too long on the shelf at Cox's (I did, in fact, get this pack from a different, less popular, Cox's than my usual one). The contents of the pouch are dry as a tinderbox, and there's a weird texture to it, like it's a mixture of old dessicated tree bark, stems and twigs! It's like smoking mueslix cereal, or wood chips from your hamster cage.
I do get a bit of the same raw, smoky, true-grit feel from M.C. as I do from Half & Half, but whereas H&H's anise-cased kindling makes me want to hitch a ride on a railroad car down to the confluence of the rivers and hobo like it's 1986, Middleton Cherry just makes me want to hork.
As is customary, I consulted the good panel of my fellow louts over at Tobacco Reviews. Several report exactly the same experience as me, especially as regards the dried-out crunchy nature of the product, and two different people suggest it would make a better mulch than a pipe tobacco. Yet others swear it's the greatest smoke they've ever had, delicious cherry flavor, and moist as a bundt cake in the morning dew.
I dunno. I don't even think I can make it through this pack. You want the rest?