These two blends are about to hit the market and I was asked to review them. Both blends were blended by C&D's Jeremy Reeves, though the Savinelli 140˚ Anniversary blend was blended on behalf of Savinelli, and is sold under their brand name.
C&D Christmas Blend 2016:
The bright Virginia is a little grassy with some citrus. The red Virginia has some tangy ripe fruit with a little earth, and I observe the red just a little more than the bright. The burley is nutty with some earth and molasses, and a touch of cocoa as an important supporting player. I get mild honey, toast notes from the Virginia cavendish. The black cavendish is in the background, and mainly provides a little brown sugar smoothness. The chocolate topping has a silky richness, along with a slight bitter hit from the chocolate bitters. I notice them more than the subtle vanilla from the marshmallow. The toppings sublimate the tobaccos without drowning them out. The tobacco is more like small pieces rather than cube cut, which helps the burn rate. The nic-hit is fairly mild. Won’t bite, and has no dull or harsh spots. The strength and taste are mild. Lightly moist out of tin, I only dried it (a little) twice out of the many bowls I smoked for this review. Not really as complex as my review implies as some of the nuances are very slight, but it burns cool at a slow to regular pace if not dried. Moderate puffing, and a light dry time is recommended. I find it does better in a cob. The flavor is very consistent as the toppings do not weaken at any time. Requires few relights. Leaves a little moisture in the bowl, but no goop or dottle. Has a pleasantly lingering sweet, light spice after taste and room note.
Savinelli 140˚ Anniversary:
The red Virginias are mildly tangy, dark fruit sweet with earth and a touch of spice. The bright Virginias have some citrus along with a little grass, though there is less of latter aspect than expected. Both Virginias compete and complement each other. The dark fired florets from Italy add a little wood, mild spice, a slight cigar note, and a more obvious floral quality. The cigar florets are processed from dark fired Italian burley off cuts. Background support comes from the woody, buttery sweet and sour, lightly spicy Orientals. The citrus topping sports a mildly sweet richness, contrasted by the addition of the mediumly floral essence of wild flowers. The floralness of this blend creates a European feel to the very smooth, consistent flavor. It never weakens or gets harsh, and will not bite even if pushed. It does moderately tone down the tobaccos. The nic-hit is slightly more than mild. The strength is a little closer to medium than it is to mild. The taste is at the medium threshold, mostly due to the addition of the wild flowers. Well blended with some nuance, it burns at a reasonable pace, requiring few relights. Leaves very little dampness in the bowl. The after taste pleasantly lingers, and the room note is mildly sweet and floral. It’s close to an all day smoke for the experienced piper, and a good starter for those just exploring blends in this genre.