G. L. Pease - Navigator 2oz
Order this one quickly...
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 jump 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. Final thoughts... 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.
Peterson - Hyde Park 50g
A Companion to Irish Flake
The new offering from Peterson is a "who's who" of component ingredients that appeal most to me. Granted, I was a bit skeptical of the rum and maple flavoring and, when I opened the tin, I felt that I had surely made an error of the utmost gravity. But, as I was into this one for two tins, I loaded up a an old GDB billiard that tends to do well with tobaccos of this type, and set match to the leaf. What a splendid surprise! Nowhere to be found was the rum and maple, save for a faint trace. What was there, however, was a wonderful symphony of deep, musty dark-fired flavor. I immediately thought of my favorite Peterson blend, Irish Flake. But, almost as quickly as the dark-fired flavor had emerged, it disappeared thus allowing a sweeter, Virginia flavor to pop in for a brief chat. This back and forth seemed to be the norm throughout the bowl. Perhaps due to the salmagundi of tobacco cuts. There seems to be everything from broken flake to cubed cut and ribbon. While both visually appealing and, conducive to a complexity of flavor, the cut may seem vexing to some. Do not let this stop you from enjoying the blend. One can simply stuff the pipe straight from the tin or, fully rub out the leaf. Both methods will leave you completely satisfied. A word of warning, though; the nicotine in this one, while not as profound as Irish Flake, will sneak up on you if you puff mindlessly, caught up in the pleasure of the moment. In short buy this one. You will be glad you did.