I've just received my Christmas tobacco (couldn't wait another 2 days!) that I ordered, and I'm slightly puzzled. I want to try as many different tobaccos as possible, and since I'd already had one half of the condiment tobaccos, I decided to try this Perique that I'd been reading so much about and ordered a tin of St James Flake. It was a bit of a rush smoke and only about 1/4 bowl as I was in a rush, and I know any pipe should be smoked in total relaxation. But anyway.... Upon lighting it, I felt a nip in the back of my throat, spluttered a bit, and immediately thought "Aha! So there is the peppery perique already!", however it quickly settled down. I found it a pleasing smoke. Nice taste to it, slight nip in the nose, nothing overpowering. Very different from the strong aroma and taste of Latakia in my English blends. It was much more like my Irish Flake. In fact, very very similar. So similar that I'm going to smoke the IF and the SJF in succession now, because at the moment I'm not sure if I could tell the difference between the two. I'm assuming then that what I'm picking up from both is the VA, which is what they both have in common. But this has disappointed me slightly, because that means I'm not picking up the perique for some reason. There are two possible reason I can think of for this :- 1) I did something that I haven't done before, I allowed the SJF to dry out. Normally, I just take a flake out of the tin and plonk it straight in. Is it possible something from the perique was lost due to this. I'd actually intended to smoke it a day earlier so it had been out of the tin for a while and was really bone dry when I came to smoke it. So much so that I couldn't use the fold method, as it simply crumbled at the fold and I ended up just rubbing it out. 2) As a novice, I don't have the taste / nose for it yet, and perique is something that I will need to work at (although as a spice tobacco, I wouldn't have thought so) Any ideas on why I'm unable to tell the diff. between If and SJF then? Is it just inexperience?