At the Richmond “CORPS” Pipe Show in October, 2021, which was hosted by Sutliff Tobacco, Perique processor, Mark Ryan, owner of L. A. Poche Perique Tobacco (the only source for legitimate Perique since 1980), showed up with a supply of Katerini Perique. What makes this tobacco so special is that Mark created this variant of standard Perique as an experiment, so there was only a small supply that existed. (By the way, I was able to purchase a few ounces, which I still have much of, before the rest of the barrel got bought up.)
Sutliff is owned by Denmark’s Mac Baren Tobacco Company A/S, so it made sense for the local team in Richmond, having just been introduced to this experimental Perique, to make contact with the company’s Master Blender, Per Georg Jensen.
Jensen winged his way to Richmond with the specific intent of vetting this experimental Perique and perhaps creating a tobacco blend with it if he felt it would work. The Birds Of A Feather Signature Series project sprang from the inspiration that came from a small amount of experimental Katerini Perique.
It was obvious to everyone involved that there wasn’t enough of the Katerini Perique to create more than a single tin release, so Jensen & the Sutliff team came up with a common theme that would support a six tin series as Birds Of A Feather. The common theme they seized on is “Unique Tobacco”.
The team set-up six blend profiles — two using Katerini Perique, two Using Nicotiana Rustica, two with true St. James Perique, and one featuring standard Katerini Orientals (I know, that’s seven, one of these has two Unique Tobacco ingredients.
ECCENTRIC (Release # 4 of 6)
This blend is the only one of the six that features Katerini Orientals, and is rounded out using Latakia, Red & Bright Virginias and Burley and it’s delivered to you in Plug format.
When you see Latakia in a list of tobaccos, you’re mind probably tells you that you’re dealing with a blend that is going to taste and smell like a campfire. When I opened the tin, I got close to the freshly exposed tobacco plug and took a deep whiff. It revealed some smokiness, but certainly not an overwhelming amount. In Eccentric, there are several other aromas that elegantly interact together with the Latakia, hinting at the complex nature of this Modern English style tobacco.
The tin I opened had a 71% humidity level, but burned fairly well in the broken format I used to separate a bowl from the plug.
Katerini is a very important tobacco producing area in the southwest of Thessalonika on mountain slopes of mainland Greece (western Macedonia). The small, heart shaped leaf takes the area’s name and makes it legendary. Grown from Samsun seed, the typical Katerini leaf is light golden in color, delicate, elastic, porous, robust and somewhat spicy. In general, Oriental tobaccos, are a highly aromatic, small-leafed variety of tobacco which is sun-cured. Turkish tobacco plants usually have a greater number and smaller size leaves. These differences can be attributed to climate, soil, cultivation and treatment methods.