Jim's Revised Carter Hall Review.

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JimInks

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In 1976, I tried this blend and hated it. I wasn't ready for burley blends. Except for my occasional SWRA forays, my reluctance for smoking OTCs since then was hard to break. In 2012, I decided to try it again. The burleys are nutty, woody, earthy, and bready with a touch of cocoa. They are the lead components. The grassy, tart and tangy citrusy Virginia is in the background. The toppings are mild chocolate, a little molasses, and light bourbon, and mildly tone down the tobaccos. The toppings do weaken a tad around the last quarter of the experience, and the natural tobacco flavors become more obvious. The one drawback is that with the lessening of the topping, you can experience a cigarette note or two if you puff fast. The strength, taste and nic-hit levels are mild. Won't bite or get harsh, though it does sport a few small rough edges. It burns at a moderate pace, cool and evenly. Packs very easily, with a short lived, pleasant after taste and room note. Leaves just a little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. It's easily an all day smoke. It goes well with any drink you choose. Three stars.

UPDATE 6-2022: This blend is currently made in the Dominican Republic and there are some differences between it and the old Carter Hall. The chocolate and bourbon are a little stronger now, so you won’t notice the expected nutty quality of the burleys quite as much. The effect of the molasses is lighter as a result even though the chocolate isn’t as rich in flavor as the earlier production. However, the toppings do lightly weaken after the half way point, and the familiar, though mildly rougher and savory nutty, earthy, woody burley notes light rise to your taste buds. So does a slight sourness. The Virginia is reduced in status a mite. The toppings have a very small chemical note as they help create a smoother, mildly less tobacco forward version of the old CH. There’s still a chance of a cigarette note due to fast puffing after the half way mark. The strength and taste are a couple steps past the mild mark. The nic-hit is a notch behind them. All of the other aspects of the original that I noted in the first paragraph still apply. This manufacture is a two star blend, and my Tobacco Review site rating reflects Carter Hall’s latest version.
 

Ranger107

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In 1976, I tried this blend and hated it. I wasn't ready for burley blends. Except for my occasional SWRA forays, my reluctance for smoking OTCs since then was hard to break. In 2012, I decided to try it again. The burleys are nutty, woody, earthy, and bready with a touch of cocoa. They are the lead components. The grassy, tart and tangy citrusy Virginia is in the background. The toppings are mild chocolate, a little molasses, and light bourbon, and mildly tone down the tobaccos. The toppings do weaken a tad around the last quarter of the experience, and the natural tobacco flavors become more obvious. The one drawback is that with the lessening of the topping, you can experience a cigarette note or two if you puff fast. The strength, taste and nic-hit levels are mild. Won't bite or get harsh, though it does sport a few small rough edges. It burns at a moderate pace, cool and evenly. Packs very easily, with a short lived, pleasant after taste and room note. Leaves just a little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. It's easily an all day smoke. It goes well with any drink you choose. Three stars.

UPDATE 6-2022: This blend is currently made in the Dominican Republic and there are some differences between it and the old Carter Hall. The chocolate and bourbon are a little stronger now, so you won’t notice the expected nutty quality of the burleys quite as much. The effect of the molasses is lighter as a result even though the chocolate isn’t as rich in flavor as the earlier production. However, the toppings do lightly weaken after the half way point, and the familiar, though mildly rougher and savory nutty, earthy, woody burley notes light rise to your taste buds. So does a slight sourness. The Virginia is reduced in status a mite. The toppings have a very small chemical note as they help create a smoother, mildly less tobacco forward version of the old CH. There’s still a chance of a cigarette note due to fast puffing after the half way mark. The strength and taste are a couple steps past the mild mark. The nic-hit is a notch behind them. All of the other aspects of the original that I noted in the first paragraph still apply. This manufacture is a two star blend, and my Tobacco Review site rating reflects Carter Hall’s latest version.
Jim, when did they move production to the DR? I bought 18 pouches last year and I believe the date on them was 2019. Do I have the old or new version?
 

JimInks

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Jim, when did they move production to the DR? I bought 18 pouches last year and I believe the date on them was 2019. Do I have the old or new version?
You have the old version. I believe production started in the DR around late Spring of 2021.
 

Blackhorse

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Jim…in your experience can different batch or harvest years account for differences like you noted with the CH…without consideration of geographic variables?

PS: I’ve always found it interesting that a company can put together a blend, year after year, and have a perfectly identical product even though there must be mild to moderate to significant differences in the tobaccos between crop years. It’s like a vintner or a distillery producing identical bottles from year to year.
 

JimInks

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Jim…in your experience can different batch or harvest years account for differences like you noted with the CH…without consideration of geographic variables?

PS: I’ve always found it interesting that a company can put together a blend, year after year, and have a perfectly identical product even though there must be mild to moderate to significant differences in the tobaccos between crop years. It’s like a vintner or a distillery producing identical bottles from year to year.
I've smoked Carter Hall from every decade from the 1950s on, and until now, it was always the same with no variance. The same is true for the old Edgeworth RR. I smoked some from every decade from WWII until it was discontinued in 2010. I had the very same experience with Sir Walter Raleigh from WWII until now. SWRA was changed sometime in the early-to-mid 2010s as they changed the toppings, and it's more chocolately now. Same goes from Amphora Original, which was the same from the 1970s until the early 2010s. It has a little less Oriental and a stronger chocolate topping, which barely existed in past productions.

What all this means is no matter what crop changes would happen, those companies worked it so the flavor of their blends wouldn't vary over the years. Mac Baren, unlike K&K which has changed a great many blends the past couple of years, keeps their blends consistent because they still have tobaccos in their warehouse that date back to the 1970s. They blend old crop years with newer crop years to keep their blends tasting the same throughout the years. Whether the producers of those OTCs did the same... I don't know. I do know they used to care about their products. You can't say that about K&K or STG (compare Sail Yellow now to the 1970s through the 1990s and you'll see what I mean).

I'm in the process of revising reviews of several K&K blends. Check out these reviews at TR: Astley's No. 44, Wessex Brigade Dark Flake, Wessex Curly Block (which was originally made by Mac Baren), Savinelli Doblone d'Oro, Peter Henrich's No. 30, and No. 39, HU Makuwa, and HU Director's Cut. A couple of B&Ms are kindly gifting me several PH, Wessex and Astley's blends so I can compare them to the older versions. In the next couple of weeks or so, I'll be working on them.
 
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Ranger107

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I think you summed it up with the statement "they used to care". Maybe because there were more pipe smokers in those years. Smoked McBarens for years and McClellands after I discovered them in 2001 because they were consistent. Same with Dunhills even though I never was that fond of their blends.
 

JimInks

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Just posted my revised review of Wessex Sovereign Curly Cut at TR. Yes, it was changed, too.
 
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