|Contents||Black Cavendish, Gold Virginia|
|Flavoring||Fruit, Berries, Chocolate|
|Overall Rating||3.5 out of 5|
Honestly I think the Devil gets kind of a bad wrap sometimes. Sure there is the whole “pure evil” thing but lets be honest… The Devil has contributed some pretty cool stuff to society, heavy metal music being a great example of this. So even if he is the embodiment of all that is unholy Satan sure knows how to make some kick ass tunes. Ironically in addition to shredding guitar solos and barely intelligible lyrics he apparently also has hellish good taste in pipe tobacco. A few weeks ago a friend of mine suggested Devil’s Holiday to me and being the gullible sort I thought I would give it a try. Ironically when I started to plan for this review Devil’s Holiday wasn’t at the top of my list of tobaccos so I can only assume that some form of demonic influence is the reason why I am reviewing this blend instead of something else. Lucky for me I sold my soul years ago for a really nice rusticated billiard so I should be just fine…
Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself…
Like many of the other offerings from Dan Tobacco the art on this tin is pretty freaking cool. It’s simple but I think that’s part of what I like about it. It definitely has an old world kinda feel and the illustration reminds me of something you might find on an old tavern sign in Europe or maybe as artwork in a Grimm’s Fairy Tales book. I really liked it and it definitely was a big selling point.
When you crack this tin open you are going to have your breath taken away by the strong aromatic casing that has been applied to this stuff. It’s right up there with some of the strong aromatics that I’ve reviewed in the past like Bootlegged so just be ready for an aromatic blast of demonic proportions. The smell coming from this tin is a little different than other strong aromatics that I’ve tried in the past. Instead of the “chemical” smell that you might get with something like a cherry blend Dan Tobacco has managed to give Devil’s Holiday a more organic or natural scent. It reminded me of opening a box of chocolate covered cherries or some other fruit/berry candy. I didn’t detect any of the sharp, acidic qualities that you might expect a heavy topping to have. This was a big plus for me since I don’t want that bitter chemical taste in my pipe. I also never detected any fire or brimstone so if that is your thing you are probably going to be a little bummed out.
Pleased to meet you… Hope you guess my name…
As with other Dan Tobaccos I’ve tried in the past Devil’s Holiday was a little moist right out of the tin so I let it dry a bit before loading my bowl. The cut of this tobacco is perfect for packing and it makes getting a good draw really easy. Lighting and keeping this stuff lit is also pretty damned easy so unless you just aren’t paying attention you should be able to keep this stuff going with minimal effort on your part.
Once you have Devil’s Holiday lit you will instantly start to enjoy the flavor of this blend. It’s not at all sharp or cloying as you might expect from such a heavy aromatic blend. Best of all you don’t get much of a “funk” when you first light this stuff. Personally I have found that fruity or berry blends really have a bad taste while you are lighting them but Devil’s Holiday somehow avoids this initial bitterness and gets right down to business with a bright fruity flavor that is immediately enjoyable. Unfortunately at no point during my enjoyment of this blend did I ever have my head spin around or find myself floating above any furniture. So if there is one down side to Devil’s Holiday its the total lack of anything evil about it.
I’m a man of wealth and taste…
I really have to give it up for the Devil… when that guy picks a tobacco to put his name on he really knows what he is doing. The mid bowl of this blend is by far the high point for me. It has a fantastic berry flavor that mixes with the tobacco itself to form a kind of chocolate covered berry with coffee effect. Like any good aromatic Devil’s Holiday mellows out mid bowl and lets the topping blend with the rest of the flavors but unlike most aromatics this blend seems to have a lot going on besides the superficial flavor. At first I really thought all I was tasting was cherry but the more you enjoy this and really start to pick it apart you realize that there is a really nice mixture of berry flavors… Sometimes I got blueberry or even blackberry out of it on top of a hint of cherry. The tobacco flavor really works well with Devil’s Holiday too. Sometimes when I smoke an aromatic it seems like the longer I’m puffing away the less flavor I’m getting, kind of like when you have been chewing gum for too long. But I’ll be damned if that happens with this mix. It seems more like it levels out and then stays there for most of the smoke. I don’t know who had to sell their soul at Dan Tobacco to make this happen but it might just have been worth it.
And all the sinners saints…
Towards the end of the bowl is really the only time all hell breaks loose. Nearly every bowl I smoked I ended up with some gurgle… It isn’t horrible but it’s there every time and it really kills the flavor at the end of your smoke. By the time you start to hear the rumbling from the depths of your pipe it’s a sure bet that you are going to start tasting the acidic, ashy flavor of a tobacco that has gone south. I was able to lessen the effects by running a pipe cleaner down the stem but in the end it is pretty easy to tell when Devil’s Holiday has given up the ghost. The tobacco left in your bowl is a mix of goopy and ashy with a thin ash cap over a slightly damp glob of dottle that you will need a pipe tool to pry out of there.
On a more positive note as long as you haven’t been puffing on this stuff like a demon you shouldn’t get any bite out of it. That’s not to say that it is a bite free blend because it isn’t… But if you just take your time and enjoy the flavors you shouldn’t end up with any tongue bite. So I wouldn’t recommend this as a quick smoke because the faster you go with this the more likely you are going to regret it.
Have some courtesy, Have some sympathy, and some taste…
Passing final judgement on Devil’s Holiday is rough… On one hand I really enjoyed it and as far as fruity/berry aromatics go it’s probably one of the best I’ve smoked in a long time. A few of the positives for this blend are that it’s a nice change of pace from less “powerful” aromatics and it’s one of the few that really taste as good as they smell. In a large bowl this stuff has a lot of staying power and you can nurse that sweet spot in the middle of the bowl for a long time. If you are a junkie for aromatic blends this one should be at the top of your list when making your next purchase. I found it to be a well balanced aromatic with a lot more going on than just a topping soaked mess like some aromatics tend to be.
If there is anything that damns this blend it’s the way it finishes up. Wet and acidic with a lot of ashy flavor. If it could just hold it together for the entire smoke I would have to say this is a perfect aromatic but unfortunately (for me anyway) the end of the smoke took away from my overall enjoyment of Devil’s Holiday. I wouldn’t say it was a deal killer but I was a little let down. My only other bitch is really just a personal preference. I could never see Devil’s Holiday being an all day blend or even a daily smoke for me. It’s just too much fruity, berry sweetness for me personally. Die hard aromatic fans might feel different but for me this is really a once in a while blend or a desert tobacco after something like cake or paired with a nice strong black coffee.
A final word of warning about Devil’s Holiday… This stuff is going possess your pipes and ghost the living hell out of anything you smoke it in. I would HIGHLY recommend you use a pipe that is dedicated to aromatics or buy an inexpensive corn cob pipe to smoke this stuff out of. It has a demonic presence that is going to carry over into anything else you smoke for a long time. I have a small nose warmer that I use in the car and I smoked two bowls of Devil’s Holiday in it over a week ago. I can still taste it in there when I smoke a vanilla blend or even Peter Stokkebye’s Cinnamon which is a pretty strong aromatic as well.