Here is my review of the original manufacture along with a comparison of the re-release.
The various Virginias offers a range of flavors: plenty of fermented stewed ripe and tangy dark fruit with a lot of earth, some tart and not tart citrus, and a few grass notes, along with a minor hits of tea and vinegar. They also provide a mild floral quality which is slightly more obvious in the first half than it is later on. They form the major base of the blend. The touch of Malawi burley has some earth, nuts, toast and wood far in the background. The deep raisins, prunes, plum and moderate spice from the Saint James perique continually underscores the experience. The cocoa topping is lightly applied, but works well in concert with the Lakeland-esque additive. These toppings do tone down the varietals a mite, though the Lakeland recedes some in the last third of the bowl, more so than the cocoa, which weakens slightly. No chance of bite or harshness, and sports no dull moments. The nic-hit is a step closer to medium than it is to mild. The flakes are a little moist, but need no dry time. Burns a little slow, and fairly cool with a rather consistent taste that also has a little creaminess. Leaves just a little moisture in the pipe, and requires some relights. Has a pleasant after taste that lingers. Not an all day smoke, but it’s a repeatable one, provided you can find a tin.
As for the new version, I find few differences. The fermentation from the Virginias is barely present, but that was due to the aging process anyway. The Lakeland essence is a tad stronger and the cocoa is a little more more obvious than that, and a bit prominent than the 2001 version. Again, I attribute this to the age of the original as related to fresh. As with the older production, the Lakeland loses a little of its impact by the last third of your smoke, and the cocoa hardly does (same as the 2001 sample). The only other thing I observe is that the perique is tad less noticeable here, but I’d attribute that to the freshness of the blend because the toppings of the old were muted just a little over time, and their full influence when fresh would naturally reduce the effectiveness of some varietals that are added in small amounts. The Malawi burley is moderately less affected. For the most part, the tobaccos deliver as they did in the past. The bottom line is that the differences are due to the aging process, and not a change in recipe as the variables aren’t quite as obvious as this review makes them seem in cold print.