I first received some of this in the pipe tobacco blind taste test 2 years ago. I loved it so much that not only did I have to order some Grand Orientals Y. Highlander, but I had to try others from the Grand Orientals series. I was down to a couple pipes worth, so I havenít smoked it in a while. The current blind taste test thread brought it to mind and I decided to light some up (and I'm about to order some more since I'm so low).
Iíll start with the tin note and appearance impressions I had when I first opened it 2 years ago (I looked up my post in the old taste test thread). The smoking impressions are based upon my current impressions while smoking it right now in my old mini-meerschaum as well as memories of past smokes.
Upon opening, you are greeted with a quite spicy aroma with a little (but not much) smoky smell as well. Definitely a bit earthy/peaty, like a good whiskey (it doesn't smell like it is cased with whiskey, but rather has a smell that is reminiscent of a good single malt Scotch). In appearance, it is a mix of light, medium and dark browns, both thin and thick ribbons (the lighter colored tobacco tends to be the thinnest) and some broken up flake. It has a touch of the McClelland sweet ketchup smell.
Upon lighting it, you are immediately treated to a terrific flavor. It has a little of the characteristic McClelland ketchup/vinegar, just a little Latakia smokiness and sweetness, and some Oriental spice. It is a very mellow smoke (donít read that as thin, it has a good medium flavor, and average nicotine, but it is buttery smooth). The blend of Orientals, Syrian Latakia, an Cyprian Latakia give it some nice spiciness (I know I already mentioned that) and complexity. I donít think you could get tongue bite out of this or overheat it if you tried. Right now I have had to relight it several times, but that is due to the low quality meer, not the tobacco (I don't remember having to relight it much in the past).
While for some reason I donít treat this (or any of the Grand Orientals series) as an everyday smoke, but rather as a special occasion smoke, there is no reason it could not be an everyday smoke. It is terrific stuff, with a wonderful flavor that would be hard to tire of, with a good mellow but medium character.
Definitely a favorite. B+ to A-