Chenet's Cake is a cellaring tobacco designed to hit its peak in ten to fifteen years. It's an ambitious project from the old yet new house of Cornell & Diehl. They've launched three new tobaccos into their Cellar Series. I do have all three, and plan on reviewing all three for my dear readers.
Of course, my dear readers know how plans go on this blog.
I'm writing/filming this review as I smoke the first bowl, which is not giving this tobacco a fair shake at all. Of course, given its purpose, you could say that smoking the whole tin wouldn't give a fair shake; after all, I'm supposed to wait fifteen years.
But the promise from Cornell & Diehl is: "...it's fantastic right now!"
C & D called Chenet's Cake a "perique powerhouse", so I went into this thing with high expectations. When I opened the tin, I was not disappointed. A robust raisin cake aroma burst out, with a hint of mellower fruit. The cake itself crumbled beautifully. I used a knife, but needn't have. Just a rub would have done. It was a tiny bit more moist than ideal for smoking, but that's what I'd want out of a just-opened tin.
As I mentioned, I'm smoking the thing right now. I'm about fifteen minutes past the filming of the YouTube video below, and it's smoking like a dream. I love a billowy cloud, and I'm in the middle of billowy cloud heaven right now. It was a little slow to light, due to the slight moisture I mentioned. Notwithstanding, the first half of the bowl burned well enough, and now is burning beautiful.
I was expecting a bit of a perique bomb (is that a thing? "latakia bomb" is a thing, so I'm going with it). It's not. It smokes clean and campfiery, the classic virginia profile. The perique only shows up at the end, as a lingering black pepper at the back of the throat as you exhale.
The fruit was initially completely absent, but as I smoked the raisin began to emerge, shaded by a white wine note. I'd call it a very light resin note, but that sounds unattractive. We'll stick with white wine. Very pleasant.
Still, the most intriguing thing about the tobacco was not the flavor profile of the first smoke, but the hint that the perique would really blow up given cellaring. Which makes me sad, to be quite frank, since I'm not the cellaring type.
Sometimes I cellar a tobacco for a year or two because I forget about it. Otherwise, I'm an instant gratification kind of guy. Nonetheless, good stuff, and I have high expectations for the other two in the series, the Joie de Vivre and the Oak Alley.