Simply Red is a good name, but this is not a simple blend. There are several different shades of red (from light to medium to black) with a little orange in this ribbon cut Virginia product. Some of the reds are obviously processed differently. I believe there’s a little stoved red in the mix. The characteristics I observe are a burst of ripe dark fruit with a little fermentation, some tanginess, a lot of earth and wood, a splash of semi-tart citrus, mild grassiness, light sugar and stewed fruit, and a tinge of floral along with small spice, bread and acidic sour notes. It also sports a whisper of vinegar, though you won’t smell it when you sniff the tobacco, and will seldom taste it. The taste level falls just short of medium. The strength is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium, while the nic-hit is barely past that center. No chance of bite or harshness even when pushed. Has a minute rough edge here and there. The tobacco is lightly moist, but I don’t think it needs any dry time. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with average range of complexity and a mostly consistent, well balanced, rather smooth, medium sweet flavor that also has a touch of sour savoriness from start to finish. These attributes translate to the short lived after taste. Barely leaves any dampness in the bowl, and requires a couple more than an average number of relights if given no chance to dry. The room note is pleasant. An all day smoke that makes a good mixer, too.
It’s a little more complex, smoother, refined, mildly less sweeter, less matured, and a notch stronger than McClelland’s 5100, which also has a modest vinegar presence that Simply Red mostly lacks. SR is not quite as earthy or sweet, but is smoother with a hair more variety of subtleness than the more matured C&D’s Carolina Red Flake, which is a rung or two higher in the strength and taste departments. It’s not as sweet, aged, or as smooth, is a touch earthier and a little more nuanced, and doesn’t have the depth of flavor that the various years of McCranie’s reds have. This blend reminds me a bit of the reds used in the Sutliff crumble kakes with a little more nuance, and a little less strength and flavor. Simply Red is a couple of degrees more complex, citrusy, grassy and earthy, and is not quite as sweet as Sutliff’s Matured Red Virginia 515 RC-1, a fraction of which I suspect is in this manufacture. SR also has a tad more potency in body, depth, and variety of flavor. As far as I know, the tobaccos in this creation are provided by Sutliff. Four stars out of four.