Hi guys, It's been a little while since I had much to contribute here, but I've enjoyed many a pleasant smoke lately. After I bought and reviewed my ash churchwarden, I spotted the Middle Earth series of aromatic blends on Just For Him. It took me a while to get around to ordering some, but the package arrived this morning, so I thought I'd give each blend a try and reviwe it here. I must warn you, my palate is not very developed, so I just wrote down what I thought I could taste/smell while I was smoking. Hopefully I'm not far off the mark ! I decided to buy one of their sampler packs, which is $10 for five 1/4 Oz samples of each blend in the series. The series is comprised of: - Longbottom Leaf - Old Toby - Treebeard - The Ruins of Isengard - A Shortcut to Mushrooms Two of those blends will be recognisable to Tolkien fans, the other three being more thematically named - presumably to evoke a particular chapter, passage or scene. I placed my order on Sunday the 8th, and I recieved notification that it had been shipped later that day! So far so good! Nine days later a USPS package popped through my letterbox, and I was able to track the package in transit. So far star service there, if like me you are in the UK don't hesitate to order from them. I didn't get charged customs or anything, the customs slip was simply marked "merchandise." I'm going to review these blends one at a time, from the perspective of a fan of Middle Earth, written for fans and non fans alike. If JFH set out to create blends which are evocative of the place, I will see how sucessful they were. First I must warn you that these flavours might well be totally imagined, as I said my tobacco palate is pretty green. So I started with Longbottom Leaf: Longbottom Leaf Just for him writes: This is the first in the Middle Earth Pipeweed Series! Fragrant Virginias are blended with a hint of vanilla to produce the finest leaf the Shire has to offer! Upon opening the ziplock bag comtaining the tobacco, I tried to nose around to define the blend's pack-smell. Not a strong aroma to be sure, much more subtle than the Gawith Hoggarth aro's I'm used to now. However, I was able to detect a dominant aroma of spiced rum, and a very slight musty vanilla. So far so good, I took a few pinches and loaded them into my bowl. The blend is ready rubbed, but quite coursely cut - so strands may need a bit of breaking down if your pipe has a small bowl like mine. Onward to my balcony! There was a bit of breeze up, so unfortunately I wasn't able to get much of a sense of the room note, however there were plenty of flavours to be explored in my mouth and nose. The leaf took to flame very easily, and was not hard to keep alite. I was pleasantly surprised at how thick and opaque the smoke was as well as dry - no gurgling, quite large billows of ghostly grey smoke - quite dramatic! The first flavours that were picked up were woody ones, there was a solid pine or spruce flavour, along with a good helping of tree sap. Following that came notes of woodsmoke, the kind you would get from a slightly damp spring fire. The next flavour I started to get was moss, almost rocky if there is such a smell. Quite earthy but in a green kind of way. The kind of smell you might get when close to a stream with big mossy rocks in it, which you might smell if you were clambering over them (as I often did as a kid.) This wandered into a leafy smell at times, like a wet forest floor after rains. These aromas were simialar, but distinctive enough for me to tell apart. There were also some spicy notes, not quite as vanilla as I had expected, more like nutmeg. The smoke is very mellow in the mouth, it was only when snorked that it really made itself heard. Very cool smoke, not bite whatsoever. So all in all, a very damp, rural theme going on here. Not so much green fields and hedgerows, more like forest streams under a greyish sky. If I can wear my cheesy hat for a moment, if applied to Tolkien's work it is definately a Shire aroma for me. Berhaps near the old forest on the borders of Buckland, or in a wooded valley somewhere in the East Farthing. Even without the fantasy connotations, a very pleastant armomatic and I would reccomend it as ideal if you have been smoking sweeter aro's and want to try something a bit earthier but still mild. I generally don't give scores for things, I either say smoke it or leave it. My conclusion here is a solid smoke, I can't wait to smoke this is a more suitable setting. Get some in and try for youself ! Next up, Old Toby, which I will review in the next day or two. All the best, Will. Disclaimer: I reserve the right to be cheesy and nostalgic in these reviews, if it doesn't suit you, just concentrate on the more practical parts .