Like most pipe smokers, one of my favorite ways to relax and have a little fun is to drive over to one of the local smoke shops, sit in the lounge with some smokers I haven’t met before, and enjoy trying a new tobacco while making new friends.
Besides the community of smokers, there is one other reason why I absolutely love smoke shops: I love finding and trying house blended pipe tobaccos.
For me, there is nothing more original and inspired than a house blended tobacco that carries the story of that smoke shop. I believe that smoking the creation of your local tobacconist teaches us about the history of the establishment and connects us to the blender; much like appreciating art connects us to the artist.
One of the house blends that I have recently tried is a Cherry Moonshine blend made by JR Cigar in Burlington, NC.
I was first introduced to Cherry Moonshine by a friend who is a frequent customer at the smoke shop. He told me, “you need to try the Cherry Shine from JR Cigar. I typically hate cherry blends, but this one is quite good.” At this point, I had to try it.
When I picked up my sample bag, I was surprised to find that there was no overpowering aroma of cherry, which is so often overpowering. Instead I subtlety picked up on the tartness of the cherry that was incorporated into a sweet and corny fragrance.
From my estimations, Cherry Shine seems to be made up of about 70% black cavendish, 15% burley, and 15% red virginia. The tobacco comes in a roughly cut ribbon form tobacco.
One thing I did notice is that this blend was quite moist. It is hard to complain about this though, because almost all cherry flavored tobaccos are too moist for my take. But it was not overly moist, so I complement the blender on avoiding a common problem with tobaccos of the sort.
I really appreciated the subtle flavor of Cherry Shine.
The cherry flavor is without a doubt present, but as with the aroma, a sweet nutty flavor takes more real estate on the tongue than the tartness.
I would say a large problem I had with this blend is the ash. As I smoked through the bowl, every time, no matter the pipe I used, there was an eventually taste of the ash that made its way onto my tongue after about 60% through the bowl. At first I thought it may be the pipe I was using, but after switching between a corncob, bent pipe, straight, and so on, it was still there. Personally, I would blame the base blend used for the tobacco, although I do not know what that is.
Even though there was an ashy presence, overall the smoke was very smooth and just easily rolled its way around my palate.
The room note of this blend was definitely cherry.
Whilst there are some aromatic blends out there with a stronger and more potent aroma, Cherry Shine definitely has a loud and pleasant note sure to please any and all around the smoker.
I personally found that I enjoyed smoking this blend in the morning. Something about the flavor and easy pack made it feel right to be smoked in the morning around breakfast time.
I think that enjoying this blend with a large and hearty breakfast is the way to go. I may suggest pancakes as a place to start, but surely any breakfast item will go great with it.
This blend was in no way overpowering for any smoker.
Cherry Shine is a mild blend.
I would say the only reason a smoker may avoid this blend is because of the ashy taste that can come up. Besides that, I see no good reason why it should be avoided by any smoker.
Things I enjoyed about Cherry Shine: The company, the mild cherry taste, the room note, and the early time I took to enjoy it.
On the other hand, I felt as though it could smoke a little less ashy and that there could be much more flavor packed into an aromatic (and I don’t mean cherry, I mean sweetness and overall complexity).
I give Cherry Shine a 4 out of 10.
This may sound like a low score, but that is not necessarily so. Having been created in house, it truly is an accomplishment to be proud of. I am just committed to ranking it alongside other premium blends.
Cherry Shine is a good blend and I am glad to have smoked it. Give JR Cigar a call, order some for yourself, and make an opinion for yourself.
Tobacco provided by JR Cigar for the purpose of an un-bias review.