Okay, I admit it: I have a sweet tooth. I was the kid that ate dessert before dinner, spent his lunch money on cupcakes, and considered a box of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs a balanced breakfast. Now that I’m all growed up (well, mostly), and have doctors harping at me about "Middle-Age Health Concerns" and pants that fit a bit tighter than I remember when I bought them, I look to satisfy that craving in adult enjoyments that don’t have such an impact on my waistline. Fortunately, I love aromatic tobaccos, and CAO’s offerings are among my favorites.
I’ve waxed poetic about another CAO marque, Cherry Bomb, in the past. It still holds as my favored cherry aromatic, and I’m reasonably sure I’ve tried every single one of them out there, including the new Captain Black premium line, Red Sky. Eileen’s Dream has a way of ending up in my cellar with some regularity as well, though not as often as others in the CAO Flavours line. Every now and then, though, it scratches that sweet-tooth itch that nothing else will, and it’s a great tin to bring to a party of mixed company if you want to be asked what you’re smoking every few minutes. It’s a mild and subtle aromatic, more defined in the room note than the smoke itself, recommending it as a definite crowd-pleaser.
Tin: The tin note and presentation, like others in the CAO lineup, is where the blend easily scores high marks. A bold graphic of a clover hints at the Irish cream flavor, as does the name itself—it doesn’t get more Irish than "Eileen", does it? Happily, Eileen is dreaming of white chocolate truffles, and believe it or not they’re in there, though faint and fleeting. I wasn’t actually aware of the list of ingredients that went into the flavoring until I started writing this review, and will admit to a eureka moment upon discovering that coconut milk was listed; now that I’ve made the connection, my palate can discern it clearly. A smorgasbord of confections rounds out the flavoring list: frothed cream, hazelnuts and almonds, cocoa and vanilla, white chocolate and whiskey. There’s a lot of flavor packed into the Black Cavendish strands that glisten in the freshly-opened tin.
Char: While slightly moist in the tin, it dries quickly and easily—it’s not a humectant-laden blend, just liberally topped. It lights easily and stays lit, and is flexible with bowl size, though I prefer it in smallish straight pipes.
Top: The room note blossoms immediately with the promised Irish cream of the tin description, and the taste is sweet from the top through the bottom. Unfortunately, the flavor doesn’t translate as directly as the room note does. It is a very enjoyable and satisfying sweetness, but lacks the definition of individual flavors in the smoke stream.
Mid: Properly packed, and smoked slowly—very, very slowly—one can tease out the threads of the ingredients’ flavors: here a wisp of white chocolate, there a glimmer of hazelnut, and hints of the coconut milk now and again. Overall it’s a mild and very enjoyable sweetness, it just lacks focus. Mid-bowl is where the blend is best, and if one can pace their smoking to keep heat at a minimum, there is ample reward in flavor.
Finish: With a little air-drying, Eileen’s Dream burns readily, with minimal moisture and relights. Have no fear, this will not leave a goopy mess of dottle in your bowl; it’s actually quite benign. Those who enjoy mild aromatic blends will find a smoke of interest here, as the palate feel and aftertaste are classic Cavendish. And again, it makes a great choice to smoke around others: a light, sweet taste for the smoker and an ambrosial cloud for the bystanders.
Room Note: The room note is marvelous, actually outshining the direct smoke. Exhibiting much more of the profile of the flavoring ingredients, the aroma is delectably sweet, intriguing to those who try to parse it out.
Presentation score: 14 points—eye-catching tin art, quality leaf and heady aroma.
Draw & burn score: 29 points—dries easily, not loaded with humectant, but can damage the flavor experience by burning a bit hot.
Flavor + aroma score: 35 points—this one is all about the aroma, which surpasses 98% of all aromatics in loveliness; unfortunately the flavor doesn’t keep pace, but still a nice sweet smoke.
Cellar or Smoke?
Looking through my notes and comparing tin dates, I find much more to enjoy in the year-old or younger tins as opposed to a four-year-old tin. Like a Beaujolais nouveau, this is made to be enjoyed fresh.
Blender: Scandinavian Tobacco Group
Cut: Coarse & ribbon
Tobaccos: Black Cavendish, Virginia
Room Note: Medium-quite sweet
Tin Size: 50g
Eileen’s Dream offers a combination of Irish cream and white chocolate truffles. Fine Irish whiskey, frothed cream, and coconut milk make up the Irish cream, and the white chocolate truffle is derived from a mixture of hazelnut paste, white chocolate, ground almonds, cocoa, and vanilla extracts. Truly a dream to smoke.