Star of the East Flake
Before coming across Kyle Weiss’s review of this blend on the Pipes Magazine Radio Show webpage, I had never heard of this tobacco. After reading his review, my interest was certainly piqued, but what caught my attention more than anything was his reference to Star of the East Flake as having the potential to be a very close substitute for Esoterica’s Penzance. Now, being the Penzance junky I am, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to give this blend a try. After all, if it even came close to the coveted, but hard to obtain Penzance, then maybe the ludicrous lucky hunt for my Esoterica favorite would no longer have to exist. So, is it truly a Penzance replica? Let’s find out.
Info & Overview
Brand: Cornell & Diehl
Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Type: Flake
Available Packaging: 2oz tin (or) 8oz tin
Price: $9.77 USD (or) $29.33
On to the review…
From the Tin: This tobacco has a very intriguing tin note that will lure any lover of latakia into its memorizing grasp. The smell from the tin offers a burnt, smoky, campfire essence with deep, dark fruits, and rich tobacco notes. The presentation of long dark broken flake cuts is very appealing. The tobacco is easily rubbed out or brittle enough to be folded and stuffed (larger bowl pipes only). The tobacco’s moister level is a tad more than I like it, however, minimal drying time is required in order to enjoy this blend.
Tasting Notes: Boom! Right from the start the aroma and taste let you know latakia is present. However, let me be clear. This is one excellent tasting tobacco. Thick, creamy white smoke that lend itself to a figgy, natural sweet fruit taste. There was also a minor floral, earth note that appeared halfway through the smoking experience. The smoke is cool and dry offering a room note that is reminisce of an antique rustic book store. The strength of the tobacco is medium while the body medium-full. The tobacco burns extremely well leaving a nice white ash. One of the most enjoyable characteristics this tobacco offered me was the lasting aftertaste experienced long after the bowl was finished. The taste lingers beyond the completion of smoking, continuing to provide enjoyment throughout the day. A true sign of a quality tobacco.
Overall Impression: Is this tobacco a replacement for Penzance? In my opinion, no. It very well may be better than Penzance! Don’t get me wrong, Esoterica Penzance is an excellent tobacco, however, one must take into consideration its limited availability and extreme cost and ask themselves, “Is this really worth it?” With excellent blends such as Star of the East Flake on the market, that by the way, is a 1/3 of the price and regularly available, pipe smokers would be crazy not to give this one a go. If you enjoy a rich, bold, complex smoking experience, Star of the East Flake is a must try. This tobacco is very much a contender for my 2018 Top 5 list, and who knows, maybe the #1 tobacco of the year.