When a company, such as G.L. Pease, gets their hands on all the barrels of an incredible tobacco, what happens next is magical. From the depths of a great company comes a most excellent tobacco that is absolutely exquisite in every way.
When G.L. Pease was offered a load of extremely rare, 2o year aged Kentucky Mahogany tobacco, they jumped at the opportunity, and bought it all; there being enough to produce about 60,000 tins. After a few weeks of careful experimentation and blending, GLP arrived at what we now know as Cumberland.
The Kentucky Mahogany is a very deep, rich blend that can at times be shy, but under the right condition it shines.
In order to make a tobacco for the largest group of appreciative smokers and to complement the rare tobacco in a perfect way, Cumberland was blended to have some real backbone. It is not a tobacco for a young pipe smoker or for the sensitive piper. Instead, Cumberland should be enjoyed by a smoker who appreciates and can detect the nuances of the powerful tobacco, but is able to take their time and let each draw be represented independently.
The opening aroma of this blend was just as complex as I thought it would be.
There is a swarm of dried fruits that fills the olfactory system, namely raisins and figs, that is covered by an immense leather blanket. I was able to detect a small amount of the sour Perique that is in the blend as well, but this was very subtle.
This blend is made up a specific amount of the Kentucky Mahogany (which is a branch of the Burley family), Perique, and a base of Virginia.
The moisture level and coarse cut of this tobacco make it incredibly easy to pack and light. And even though this blend may be a little on the dry side, there is no issue with dry tobacco in the smoking process.
Something that was pointed out to me by someone else is that there is a large presence of veins in the tobacco of this blend. What that means is that this tobacco has not been very processed, it is still in quite a natural state. I love this and I know many of you will too.
As I briefly mentioned above, this tobacco packs one heck of a punch.
This is most definitely too powerful of a tobacco for many smokers.
The flavors of this blend consist mostly of a salty flavor, nuts, and dried fruits. I am imagining that the Kentucky Mahogany is responsible for some of the salty tones but I cannot be sure. Throughout the bowl, there are times when a very prominent sweet and savory combination is found.
As you smoke through the bowl, you seem to enter certain stages of flavor and exit others.
There will definitely be different draws through the smoke where you notice that the flavor has changed. You will get Burley hits, Virginia hits, some leathery hits, and others.
This is why I say it is imperative that this be a slow smoke. There should be no reason for the smoker to rush this bowl. Give your senses time to recover after each draw. The flavor changes so often, that unless you are prepared for each taste, you will miss it. If that happens, then you are not really smoking this blend at all.
Surprisingly, for as strong as this blend is, the room note is not terrible.
The note is leaves of warm wet leafs that you would find in the forrest. It has that outdoorsy, yet swampy feel to it.
And another shocking note, the smell does not really stick. I smoke almost every blend I review in my car so that I can get back in a few hours and see what the leftover note smells like. With Cumberland, the note was almost not there. I detected more ash smell in the air than smoke.
So all in all, this tobacco has an excellent room note for such a strong American tobacco.
When reading descriptions of this blend before I smoked it, I noticed how prevalent the dried fruit flavor is.
So with that in mind I chose a sweet red wine to accompany Cumberland.
I chose the San Antonio winery Cardinale. It blended perfectly. The sweet, fruity, and rich flavors of the wine seemed to complement the tobacco perfectly on my palate. It was almost as if my mouth took a bath, and was clean and ready to experience the next draw of the tobacco.
As I have already said this blend is strong.
This blend is most definitely full-bodied.
There is absolutely no hiding the strength of Cumberland.
Unfortunately, the master blender at GLP came out in 2012 and told the tobacco world that all the barrels of Kentucky Mahogany has been depleted. But he claims that he has found an identical substitution that changes the blend in no way. They will keep selling Cumberland.
So for some purists, this is bad news. But honestly, I do not see the problem. The tobacco will taste and perform the same.
Now hopefully, there are still some smoke shops around that have been storing and have leftover Cumberland. This way there is still the original out there. But that is not for sure.
I suggest buying Cumberland now from sits such as Tobacco Pipes and hope that the tins they have were produced in 2012, which is very possible.
Now I must rate this blend:
I give this blend a 9 out of 10.
This blend really is fantastic. I do not see too many better tobaccos at this price point.
Now go out and snatch up what is the last of the Cumberland!
Tobacco provided by Tobacco Pipes for the purpose of an un bias review.