Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky isn’t really a new blend. It had been available in the past but, had been discontinued years ago. But now it is back! The new Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky has been available since last summer. Two of our Tobacconists, Sam and Andrew, set down and had a bowl. Below are their tasting notes in the video and some written thoughts. Be sure to check out both and leave us feedback. If there is something you would like to see us review, be sure to let us know!
Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky
This blend from Orlik lives up to its name. It is a flake tobacco that is a mix of bright Virginia and dark fired Kentucky tobaccos. The cake is made in an interesting way with the two different tobaccos layered to create a stripe of Virginia sandwiched between the dark Kentucky. With the tobaccos separated like this you could tweak the proportions between the two to experiment with flavors. We did not do this for the review and simply broke up a couple of the flakes to fill our bowls.
From my past experiences with dark Kentucky tobaccos, I expected this blend to have a smoky tin note and taste. That was not the case here. There was a little smokiness on the palate, but it was very subdued. But that is not a bad thing here. Actually I think the Dark Strong Kentucky benefits from not having that smoky flavor. What the Kentucky does add is a spiciness that pairs with the sweet Virginia tobacco. This is a balanced smoke. The flavor is rich and full and I would put the strength at a good solid medium-- maybe a bit higher.
The flavors are complex. The spicy and sweetness are the two that stand out the most but there is a bit of smoke and a hint of sour tang that really fills out the profile. The taste evolves a bit through the bowl, with the sweetness coming forwards at times then giving away to the spicy. This could be from the way the two tobaccos are separated and not fully blended together.
To my pallet, the interplay between the two tobaccos was exceptional and makes this a world-class tobacco. The Kentucky gave depth to the sweet Virginia and vice versa. The Kentucky gets the top billing in this blend, it is called Dark Strong Kentucky after all, but Virginia is not just a supporting actor.
Andrew here with some hot tobacco takes. Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky also brings the heat with a forward spiciness from first light. The spiciness doesn’t overwhelm the palate, but works in concert with the sweetness of the Virginia’s in the blend to produce an exemplary tinned tobacco.
The acidity in this tobacco is very light and gives just the faintest hint of sourness instead of presenting a full vinegar or citrus flavor as with many Virginia blends. This makes perfectly good sense being that this is Dark Strong Kentucky, not Dark Strong Virginia. To me that is the story with this blend. Orlik has used the strengths of the dark Kentucky to contrast the Virginias in both the taste and appearance. This produces an outstanding balance of spicy to sweet and brings out an experience that borders transcendence.
I would call Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky one of those tobaccos. One of the special blends. A tobacco that has the potential, on the right day in the right pipe for the right palate, to create an exceedingly rare sublime pipe smoking experience. It is what we as serious pipe smokers search for every day: pipes and tobaccos that elevate beyond everyday occurrence. A smoke that brings fullness to our ephemeral journey. What I’m trying to say is Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky is really freaking good and I keep thinking about my next bowl of it.