Solani White and Black Thumbnail image Winter 2009 P&T Magazine Reiner Long Golden Flake and Solani White and Black reviews Reiner Long Golden Flake thumbnail

Solani White & Black

GAGE: A tempting, mild, slightly fruity aroma greets you. Like a subtle oriental carpet, a bit of brightness accents a mostly deep brown mixture of flaked, loosely broken slices containing bright Virginia flue-cured leaf, some black Cavendish, dark Latakia and a predominantly mahogany-hued red Virginia. In packing, leaving the chunkier strips requires looser packing or aggressive drying than if the blend is more fully rubbed out. With magnum-sized pipes, either briar or meerschaum, you need not be concerned about rubbing out as long as the pipe is packed properly. The tobacco lights quickly and settles down immediately. The Latakia lays out a carpet of smoky hickory flavor—definitely comfortable but not excessively assertive. A barbecued, charred prime beef rib flavor dominates this blend. The mixture can be a bit sharp in the sinuses on relighting, but it's gone in a flash. White & Black is no wallflower—it's assertive, with pronounced Latakia punch, but still restrained. This is a barbecue cook-off prime rib compared to lightly butter-sauteed filet mignon. Enjoy now for a sweet smoky treat; cellar to give the Virginias time to develop some tangy sugars as they age.

HARB: The tin describes this as English black flake with Latakia. A leathery, smoky Latakia aroma wafts prominently from the open tin, with a delicate spicy sweetness beneath the Latakia aroma. The blend is composed of dark brown broken flakes with ribbons of lighter brown tobacco that are interspersed with dark Latakia. At first light, I was met with an unexpected zest from this blend, which came through as a tangy, spicy note on the palate that was very pleasing and was well complimented by a smoky depth from the Latakia. This blend was very smooth right out of the chute and remained smooth and cool throughout the bowl. Although the aroma hinted at a full English Latakia blend, Solani White & Black is a medium-flavor blend with more depth and complexity than the aroma revealed, and there is good interplay between tobacco types right from the start that continues to the end of the bowl. This one is a definite for the to-try list.

Reiner Long Golden Flake

GAGE: From German manufacturer Rudiger Will, blended for famed pipemaker Reiner Barbi, this is a seldom-found sliced long flake that's rolled into remarkable 15-inch-long by 1.5-inch-wide speckled strips. It's somewhat similar to Stokkebye's Luxury Dark Flake but with much less aromatic flavoring. This long-sliced format gives the pipe smoker a wide variety of options—from fully rubbed out to chunks as big as you like. These rolled strips rattle around in the tin like a holiday gift, barely filling half the 100-gram tin. Broken slightly and fluffed, they completely fill it. An entertaining discovery. Visually, it's an exciting tobacco. Lay out a couple of strips—the dashes and flashes of light and aged dark Virginia tobaccos, plus some white Burley, has more action than a NASCAR race. It's advertised to contain Virginia leaf from southeast Africa, and I admit little knowledge of the quality or character of Virginia leaf from Africa. I thought it smoked smoother and stayed lit better when fully rubbed out. A touch of Burley, unusual in such a blend, added little in flavor but a considerable amount of smoothness. Deftly used, Burley is a perfect nondescript mediator in a bright Virginia blend. I detect the smattering of Perique included in this blend, and it was a good spicy touch. I can assure you this will age well, because I put aside a tin months ago and opened it to compare with the newly tinned product. Even with a relatively short tin-aging time, the tobacco develop a complex fruity and mellow nose. Cellar this with abandon.

HARB: This tobacco comes as 14-inch strips of pressed flakes that have been rolled in a tin with a paint-can lid. The aroma is light, with light sweetness, delicate tartness and a hint of a citrus note. The components are golden Virginia, white Burley and a touch of Perique. The strips broke apart easily into thin ribbons that packed evenly. At the touch of the flame, the tobaccos lit easily and yielded a light sweetness and tang, which slowly developed a faint chocolate undertone. This is a mild flavored blend with a hint of nuttiness from the Burley that, with the Perique, lends a light body to the smoke. It burned clean and cool and was well-behaved on potential bite as long as I didn't cause it to heat up too much. Reiner Long Golden Flake is similar to the Dunhill Light Flake reviewed elsewhere in this group.
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