I have wanted to try Anni Kake for a while. I haven't smoked a lot of kake tobaccos and I was interested in trying it simply because it was a kake and therefore a little different. Many of my favorites are flakes and kakes are similar enough that I wanted to see if it seemed to make a difference to the tobacco, and Anni Kake seemed to be near universally praised. Well, thanks to a sample from DanR on the blind taste test I was able to try it (full disclosure: this review is largely adapted/lifted from my blind impressions of Anni Kake from that thread)...
In the bag, my impression was that is was a nice dark chocolate color cake, with some speckles of lighter colored browns. It smells a little of unsweetened chocolate soaked (sparingly) in some kind of liquor. It also has a faint fruity scent, maybe figs or raisins. It really does look and smell good enough to eat and is reminiscent of a dry and only mildly sweet cake you might find at a holiday or cocktail party.
My initial smoke was out of a MM Pony with some homemade green tea/mint ice tea on the side. I wasn't sure if you should rip off a piece with a kake or cut it off, but I already had my Kershaw Leek in my pocket (great knife) and cut off a chunk and rubbed it out a bit before loading into my pipe.
My initial impression (not knowing what I was smoking) was that this is mostly a VA tobacco. I definitely got the grassy/hay-like flavor and smell of a VA and there was a nice sweetness to it. It has a bit of a fruity undertone to the flavor, though I couldn't tell if it is cased, or if it is just from the tobaccos. There is just a little peppery spice to it from the Perique but it is far from overwhelming. It may be a slightly overly damp tobacco, or that may just be from the (extreme) humidity in the air, I am still not entirely sure.
After I finished the bowl, I noted that it smoked easily with no need for relights and burned down to a nice mostly gray ash. As I got a bit more than halfway through the bowl, the spiciness became a little more pronounced (but still pretty mild). I noticed no real nic hit, so I'd say it is pretty mild for a VA.
What was my overall impression?
I have been interested in Anni Kake for a while. Once it was confirmed that my sample was Anni Kake, I went immediately to the Pipes and Cigars website to order 1/4 pound, enough to tide me over a while until I make some room in my cellar (i.e. 1/2 of a bookcase in my bedroom). I really enjoyed this tobacco, and it will become a part of my regular rotation. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone considering trying it who is on the fence, get down off that fence and try some.