Navy Flake, Please!
I confess it. I have fallen totally in love with Mac Baren Navy Flake. It's weird, though. I've smoked it here and there for years; if a friend offered a bowl when I'd run out of tobacco, or when I was offered tobacco at the Mac Baren factory, or even just because there happened to be an open tin around the office, but I'd never embraced it with any particular alacrity. The change in my approach was first set in motion when I was in Denmark a few weeks ago, and while visiting the Mac Baren factory, asked Per Jensen for something to smoke. Earlier, as I was first getting out of the car to head inside and see him in his office, I had realized that the only tobacco I had on me was a famous blend from a famous competitor, and had decided it would be really poor form to whip that out while there. He offered me a couple of options from sealed tins he had handy and I took the Navy Flake. At the time, I just thought of it as a solid, safe choice, something I knew I kind of liked, but not something that excited me unduly.
Fast forward to the end of the trip. A few days after I got home, I polished off that tin. And then bought another 100g tin of it. A couple of weeks later, that tin is almost gone. I've smoked almost nothing else at the office. I've smoked other things at home (including some really special much-aged tobacco), but I've found myself wishing I'd brought home a tin of Navy Flake. No other tobacco lately has been hitting the spot. The combination of the almost grassy start and the rounded, well-bodied richness, with just a hint of sweetness, has just been perfect lately.
So, where am I going with this, except to extol the manifold virtues of this most lovely of flakes? Taste in tobacco is just weird. I've smoked this blend here and there for years, but without any great excitement, and then, suddenly, it seems like the best thing in the world to me. I've always thought that it was good-- everything Mac Baren does is high quality and consistently well executed-- but it had just never grabbed me before. But lately it has grabbed me and now it just won't let go. Nothing else has really changed with me. I don't have a cold. No food tastes any different. And I think we can be fairly certain I'm not pregnant.
And while it's great stuff, I'm not necessarily saying that this is some sort of Grail tobacco. My point is simply that there's a certain mystery to why we like certain tobaccos and it behooves us to explore and try different things. That process is also fun; it's a central part of what this hobby is all about.
And in today's update you'll find bunches and bunches of great pipes to choose from, all of which are ready for whatever blend it is you choose to smoke. You'll find more great pipes from Peter Heeschen, along with awesome entries from American pipe maker Rolando Negoita. Joining them, you'll find Ser Jacopos, Ardors, Brebbias, Petersons and much, much more. Enjoy!
Sykes Wilford: Founder/President