This week has been pretty good. I got my two Generals and two pouches of Granger in the mail on Monday, and today one of the "tobacco shops" here in Cleburne called to advise that they were able to order Granger and Velvet (classic old OTC's) and that they had already gotten it in. I headed out of the office like a Coon Hound on a trail! I've been smoking the Granger ever since Monday, and it still has the flavor and burn quality that I remember. It burns slower than Carter Hall and has a flavor that reminds me of roasted peanuts (the ones that are still in the shell). Good stuff, and still my favorite OTC. The Velvet, the subject of this post, is a very different story. I went to the smoke shop over lunch, and sure enough there were multiple packages of Granger and Velvet out on the shelf. This smoke shop is only charging $3.99 a pouch for it, as-well-as for Carter Hall, Prince Albert, and half and Half. This is about a buck cheaper than anywhere else around here, and only fifty cents more per pouch than what Mars Cigars (on-line vendor) charges. So, it makes sense for me to start buying these locally. I bought two pouches of Granger and two pouches of Velvet while I was there. Anyhoo, I couldn't wait to try the Velvet so I opened a pouch and had my first inkling of disappointment - it smells like Prince Albert. The Velvet I remember had an aroma that was similar to good old PA, in my opinion, but softer and it had a leathery quality to it. This just smells like PA. Not a bad thing, since I like PA, but it's not the Velvet that I remember. Then I filled the DR G. that I keep at the office and fired it up. Not the taste I remember, either. The taste of this "new" Velvet seems to fall sometwhere between Half and Half and Granger. The last time I smoked it, about three or four years ago, it had a very unique taste that I have yet to find the words to describe other than it tasted like.. well.. Velvet pipe tobacco. (A very mellow, nutty taste with a prune-like note - I can't do any better than that). This stuff is not the Velvet that I remember. I'm going to try it again in a cob when I get home tonight, and I sure hope it's just the pipe. However, H&H and PA still tasted like H&H and PA in this particular pipe, so I'm not too confident that a cob is going to make much of a difference but hope springs eternal with me. I'm really not ready to write up a proper review on it yet, but right now my impression is not too favorable. I hope it's just the pipe, becase it would be a real shame for a tobacco that I used to like so much could have fallen so far from grace. (YMMV).