For centuries, men of the sea have known the pleasures of fine Virginia tobaccos, pressed and aged with a drop of rum. The addition of rich dark fired Kentucky leaf brings a new dimension to the flavor and aroma of this timeless combination, G. L. Pease's Navigator.
I keep coming back to this one. I recommend a small bowl for this blend due to its strength. I say that as a person that never smokes on an empty stomach.
When you open the tin you can smell the rum, which is helping out some really fresh Virginia... Read Mores (smells fruitier with an aged tin upon opening). The moisture level was good for me right out of the tin, but burned better with time in the jar, allowing more air to get to it. I would keep coming back to this every couple of weeks or months and it only got better.
The moisture level was good right out of the tin, if you don't mind some re-lights. At first light this usually begins spicy and woody, and you really get these flavors in the retrohales. Some of the flavors linger on the tongue. As you get down the bowl, the spiciness calms down and becomes more of nice compliment to a fruit sweetness. This blend is so pleasant and delicious. Some flavors that form remind me of dark fruits, some citrus notes, woody notes, some light cigar notes, cocoa, and tangy notes like stone fruits. All of the fruit notes are enhanced by the topping. The order in which you experience the flavors will vary from bowl to bowl because the flakes are broken and as you smoke through a tin or jar you will get different mixes, and the random bits of tobacco you pick up and load will vary as well.
If you leave the room and come back it smells like someone has been burning wood, sort of. Overall with proper technique it should mostly smell sweet and bakery-like, mixed with the smokiness.
Age on this blend brings out more of the fruit character of the Virginias, and you will still notice the rum further enhancing the character of the Virginias.
I am a real navy blend fan, and this blend always makes me come back to it. This is one of my favorite blends. Read Less
Like the other reviewers say,smoke this one slowly.This would be a great morning or evening smoke.I am smoking this in one of the Ropp "Vintage Briar" pipes,and the flavor is excellent.Later,I will use a pipe with a larger bowl,to see if th... Read Moree flavor expands any.As is,the tobaccos trade back and forth as I puff my way down to where there is nothing left but ash.One of the best Virginia based mixtures I have smoked Read Less
Take this one slow and easy! Definitely balanced, a bit stronger than Sextant, but just as good, sweet, savory zesty, not overwhelming, going to buy more for sure!
If you like this, you'll love Sextant, and Sixpence! Same line IMO, but each one rais... Read Morees the bar more than the first! Read Less
This is strong, but not crazy strong like 1792 or some of the GH ropes. But it is strong. A splendid rum soaked flake. Pease's use of rum and brandy is the best out there. The Kentucky gives it a bottom but the Virginia is the center of the blend. O... Read Moreld school. Strong and addictive. Read Less
I have been patiently awaiting the arrival of this blend for a week now. I immediately ordered a tin when I received an email from one of the major online retailers, announcing the newest addition to Mr. Pease's Old London Series. I usually do not ju... Read Moremp on a new blend so quickly and, the only other blend of late that did get ordered in such a fasion was Mac Baren's HH Old Dark-Fired. I ramble, though. I feel that it can be a great mistake to review a blend after such a short time spent smoking it, and perhaps I am doing a disservice to this one, writing so soon. However, this is a masterful blend from a masterful blender and one simply cannot go astray with anything from Mr. Pease, hence my early review...
Tin: Typical C&D 2 ounce pull-top lid, and I only mention the tin to be thorough, but the artwork is quite nice too; in an understated way.
Aroma: The first release of air from the tin is a wonderful blast of funky. If you enjoy finely aged meats and cheeses, you will understand how this "funky" is a good thing. Very mature Virginia leaf is the leading player. There are hints of the dark-fired leaf and an occasional hint of rum. Mainly, though, the aroma of very nice Va. leaf.
Tobacco: This is a flake and one in the wonderful C&D tradition of loosely pressed, easy to rub up flakes. They are only a couple of inches long, not the massive straps of Sam Gawith and the like. The leaf is mainly a medium brown with flecks of golden leaf speckled with what presumably is the touch of dark-fired leaf. The moisture level is just right straight away. No need to dry and one would do well to keep in mind that C&D typically uses only water to hydrate their tobacco, so, either smoke this one quickly of put it away in a bell jar.
Method and Pipe: I fully rubbed up two flakes, again with little effort, and loaded the leaf into a medium sized Charatan Pot. I don't really follow in one type of packing method and have settled on a vaguely defined method of my own that tends to work well. I imagine that any method would work well with this one. I do utilize the delayed gratification method with Va. blends and flakes.
Charring Light: I use matches as the combution rate seems to be much lower thus producing a more pleasing smoke. The first wave is pure Virginia leaf; second match.. more of the same. After I let it sit for a wee bit, I put another match to it and settled in.
The Smoke: Very nice, this one. Again, as with the tin aroma, well matured Va. is the key player early on but things do progress very nicely soon after you get the pipe to a smolder. You simply must take it slowly with this one; not because of any bite either. If you smoke slowly, you will reward yourself with a very rare treat: A very complex smoke from a very simple recipe. The Va. is both sweet and full on the palate, perhaps it is the rum. Who knows? The dark-fired is there, but not really. Only hints, it seems. As you progress through the middle portion, the strength picks up and, from seemingly out of nowhere, the touch of dark-fired leaf that early on was way in the background, now comes to the front with strong cigar-like undertones. The room note is amazing at this point. It smells as though someone else is in the room enjoying a fine cigar while you puff away on your mature Virgina flake. This interplay continues on through the end of the smoke, too. Wow, what a wonderful blend. Two simple ingredients (well three if you count the rum) but it has the complexity of one of Mr. Pease's famous English mixtures.
I did have to use a pipe cleaner once during the smoke but that was probably my fault as I got a bit eager towards the end. The smoke was very cool and flavourful. Nice salt and pepper grey ash at the bottom. I give this one 4.5 stars out of five. The other half star would easily come with age and I can only imagine what a year of two will do to this one. I hope that it is packaged in 8 or 16 ounce tins soon. Read Less
Not a lot going on here. The dark fired and virginia taste mild, like burnt steak. I'm a fan of Odyssey and Haddo's Delight, but this blend just isn't doing it for me. It burns okay, has a good moisture content from tin. But rather than being smo... Read Morekey and sweet, it has just a burnt flavor to me, even when sipped. Read Less
I originally did not know what to think of this tobacco at first seeing as I have never had a good experience with flake tobacco.
The tin smell when first opened had a brandy smell along with a smoky hint to it. On my first bowl I tasted just the br... Read Moreandy and not much outside of that. However a couple of bowls later I started to pick up on some other flavors. There was the brandy twang but there was also a sweetness almost vanilla that I did not smell when I opened the tin.
I also picked up on kind of a campfire smokeyness that showed up just before it went to the sweet taste. Even at the bottom of the bowl I could still taste the flavor. It is not too overpowering but just strong enough to put you in that calm state. Takes a little effort to light but once going it is a fantastic smoke. This something that will definitely order the pound version off in my next order. Read Less
This is a blend that has a similar feel to sixpence, in my opinion. That rum flavor is not over powering, but adds just a touch of sweetness.
This is a perfect workshop blend for me. Sip it slow, and you'll be rewarded.
I found it really difficult to pick up much of the natural tobacco flavours until i'm almost done. There is a heavy dose of a Navy Rum on this blend that kinda makes me need to think while smoking to really pick up on the nuances.
Although I do quite... Read More enjoy the blend, and am a massive rum fan, I think this one could stand to lose a bit of the rum.
But still another good Pease blend. Read Less
It kinda irritates the gums a bit. That being said, I could literally smoke this all day long, and I am half tempted to do it. It has a really, really solid rum casing, and the tobacco is just so, so sweet. This is one of those smokes that I don't th... Read Moreink belongs in a cob, but runs really, really smooth in a meerschaum. Smokes best when rubbed and then left to dry for 20-30 minutes. Without hesitation, I found myself smoking this everyday. I hadn't intended to, but it just out performs other similar blends. This here is a best of all the worlds. Read Less
Not since smoking Vintage tins of McClelland's offerings have I tasted such rich, bold, satisfying Virginia Flake. I'm smoking this presently in a Premium Peterson 1/2 bent Author, and loving every puff. The Virginias are absolutely astonishing, the ... Read Moremixture and pressing are perfection, the slight addition of Dark Fired Kentucky and Rum add deep, mystifying layers to a gorgeous broken flake. This flake is well behaved, cool smoking and enough to satisfy any sailor or land lubber. Read Less
It's good. But not something I'll have regularly. I'll finish the tin, then I'm done with it. It's very strong. Very "tobacco-y" and earthy. Not BAD but just too one-sided of a flavor profile. The taste of the casing is there (Rum, citrus, ... Read Moremaybe something else) but it's not present enough for me. All I taste is earth. I have nothing bad to say about this blend. It's just not what I prefer. I expected to fall in love with this blend but it didn't happen. I've had other Virginia+Kentucky blends that I thought were more flavorful, between the casing and the natural earthy-ness of the tobacco. This one didn't hit that mark. I see where Pease was going with this. He probably nailed it. The question is, is it what you're looking for in a smoke. For me the answer was no. Read Less
As a man who once lived by the sea and spent many hours upon it, the name and marketing of this blend appealed to me.
As a former McClelland devotee, it harbors the Virginia darkness and naturally sweet depth that I thought I had lost.
The tin ... Read Morenote to me is far more citrus than rum, but what they have done here is really quite nice.
Now, when you read the reviews advising that you go easy, or perhaps pack a small bowl, you should most definitely heed those warnings. I did not, and nearly paid the price.
Halfway through the bowl this becomes nearly divine, but that is also about the point where I needed to convince myself to take a break, but did not, and kept going because it was so lovely.
This is a full but not overpowering and very satisfying blend. For me it is not by any means an all day smoke.
Highly recommend for lovers of Virginia blends. Read Less
There is a learning curve to Navigator that is steeper than most blends. As stated numerous times in this review section, Navigator is best when smoked slow, and in my opinion the absolute best when folded and stuffed with kindling on top which will ... Read Morehelp facilitate a slower smoke. When smoked quickly the dark fired will quickly overpower and dominate your palate, or at least it did for me. When folded and stuffed, and smoked slow, the flavors really open up and the sweetness of the rum and VA flavors dance with the dark fired beautifully. No matter how slow you go, however, it should be noted that the dark fired is a large part of the flavor profile here, and it is done very well. Moisture level in my tin was perfect, and the nicotine medium. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this blend ages. Especially once the virginias get deeper and the dark fired softens a little and melds more. It should be a supremely delicious blend and would earn the final half star. Will update then. Read Less
I tried this right when it came out a couple years back.
I just received a new order, and it's changed, at least to me.
My first tin, the tobacco was very light blonde in color, rubbed completely out and it's flavours was that of a standard VA, poss... Read Moreibly lightly topped. I never detected the dark fired at all, I am very sensitive to dark fired and can generally pick it up immediately, but I never did with my 2013 tin. Enjoyable none the less.
Flash forward to my recent order. The leaf is very coarsely rubbed out - no where near to the first tin. The dark fired is quite present in this tin (gave me hiccups near the end of the bowl - my personal sure sign of dark fired being present) and the top note not nearly as present.
Deep, dark, rich, smokey, spicey, lightly sweet to the tongue with only a hint of some sort of topping, that truly augments the leaf and doesn't at all over-power or mask the flavours. Nice after taste, nice room note. Only a small dottle near the end resisted burning.
This current configuration really hits a nice niche. Richer than many other VA's, but not as heavy as some of the dark fired leaf, or full VA's.
I liked it before, I like it even better now.
This was a fresh tin too, packed on 4.16.2015 so age doesn't explain the change. Whatever the change, I like it.
I'll be buying more for a standard rotation smoke and to cellar some as well. To date this and Six Pence are my favourite of Pease's blends. Read Less
My tobacco cellar is full of blends that didn't quite hit right with me, and even moreso with blends that didn't sit well with my body chemisty. Alcohol cased blends are particularly notorious for tearing up my tongue and leaving me not tasting anyth... Read Moreing for days. This isn't the case with Navigator. I don't know if it's the Kentucky balancing it out, or if it's a matter of what C&D puts in (or leaves out) of the tobaccos they blend, but Navigator is likely to find its way into my daily rotation. I can definitely tell C&D's hand in producing it by some of the similarities it shares with it's cousin "After Hours". The big difference comes in where After Hours has a definite sweet body to it, Navigator is more balanced and savory. Read Less
A really nice tobacco here. Plenty of tobacco flavor, a decent hit of nicotine. Nice and smoky. Doesn't burn too hot, never had it get wet on me. A really nice Navy style here. A little sharp to inhale similar to Dunhill Navy. I like the rubbed out f... Read Moreorm, it's about right. Room note didn't get any complaints, but very few compliments.
It has an interesting side flavor, sorta reminded me of MacBaren Plumcake, just not as strong or cloying.
It's different, in a good way. Read Less
I will try almost anything Sir Pease puts out especially his rum-infused Navy blends. My first impression is that its a lighter version of Sextant. Its cut the same, has lighter blond tobacco in the mix, and doesn't have quite the punch of Sextant.... Read More I'm a fan of Sextant but I could easily see myself making the switch to this. Read Less
I GOT THIS IN THE MAIL ON THE 3rd, SMOKED A BOLE ON THE 4th AT ABOUT 10AM, AND THE TASTE WAS JUST OF THE WALL,AND STAYED WITH ME ALL DAY. I JUST LOVED IT. MY WIFE DID NOT LIKE THE ROOM NOTE AT ALL AND SENT ME OUT SIDE TO SMOKE. THIS IS GREAT. LOVE IT... Read More.. Read Less
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