Lighting is easy and one is welcomed with a slightly sweet and spicy smoke. The Latakia does not overwhelm the other components and the Orientals keep a steady beat of spice going throughout the bowl. The flavors trade off from the sweetness of the Virginias to the smokiness of the Latakia. This is very well-balanced. There is a hint of a topping but I am unsure if this is simply my own impression.
The tobacco smokes hot even when smoking at a very slow relaxed pace. It does not bite but the taste is almost steam-like at times. After speaking with several other smokers who smoke this blend it appears to be a common characteristic. This may or may not be a problem depending on the individual smoker. For some it is an easy trade-off for a good blend and for others it is a dealbreaker.
The ash left behind is dry and grey. I have noticed that there is usually some moist dottle at the end of each bowl and the smell from inside the pipe is quite unpleasant. One needs to do a lot of cleaning with pipe cleaners after a bowl of this blend.
I like this blend and would recommend this as an alternative to Penzance. It is not nearly as complex as the old Dunhill classics or the GLP English blends but it is a good change of pace on the lighter side. I do feel that for the money there are much better blends in this genre.