G. L. Pease - Spark Plug 2oz
The one I've been looking for
I'm a big fan of Gaslight...but it's rich like a death by chocolate desert. Not bad but a deep indulgence in a particular direction. Take Gaslight, leave it in the driver's seat but ask a vanilla milkshake to ride shotgun in the passenger seat! I grew up on a farm and have always found Gaslight to have a "raw milk" note that comes through all the deep campfire smoke Latakia notes that I REALLY enjoy. Spark Plug is like taking that raw milk not and making a shake out of it....while pushing down the Wharf piling creosote notes just a bit while turning up the aged leather notebook notes at the same time. There's a "brown leather" note that comes through more in Spark Plug whereas Gaslight is more dark tar wharf piling. Those darker notes are still present of course but they are asked to ride parallel to lighter / sweeter elements in Spark Plug. Gaslight and now Spark Plug are the only two blends I've ever felt compelled to "stockpile" and I'm definitely in for more on Spark Plug.
Cigar Accessories - Savoy Bubinga Large Humidor
Another great experience with Smokingpipes.com! The humidor shipped right away and arrived in impeccable condition. The fit and finish are beautiful and more importantly the humidor is performing flawlessly. A salt test indicated the hygrometer provided was calibrated correctly (an unexpected surprise as it's not a high end unit and I expected to replace it). After more than 3 weeks the humidity has been rock steady with two Boveda packs. Nice to have a unit that is not bleeding humidity due to poor craftsmanship as I travel for work frequently and simply cannot be checking on a humidor every 4 days hoping things have not dried out. Thanks for stocking another great product Smokingpipes.com!!
Peterson - Irish Flake 50g
Full bodied perfection
Petersons Irish flake is a winner. I find that I'm I find I am a fan of full bodied and full flavored tobacco's but often find full-bodied too often means some predominant flavor like over-the-top latakia or a not-so-great room note. (though I am a fan of GL pease "gas light".). Irish lake is a wonderful combination of full-bodied tobacco flavor with just the right level of sweetness throughout the bowl . I detect no licorice or anise as other reviewer have mentioned which is surprising since I'm often verry sensitive to both and don't particularly care for either. My palette picks up good strong tobacco flavor and finds the sweetness comes through as hints of dried stone fruit or Turkish dates. Strong? Yes....certainly compared to much of my rotation, but nothing to be frightened of. Not an "all day" blend but as a deeply flavored reward for a long hard day this one is in my top 5. Definitely adding some tins to my cellar.
McClelland - Premium: Tastemaster 50g
If you like dark chocolate
I was pleasantly....though admittedly.....surprised by this one. We recently had a late season snowfall here in New England and so, having been stuck inside all day, I bundled up for an afternoon walk when the skies cleared on this fine Sunday afternoon. Cut: A fairly rough ribbon cut to this one. The darkness of the blend hinted a bit at what was to come. Tin Note: Cavendish and chocolate. Delicious smelling. One of those tins you want to open and just leave open to spread around the room. Room note: I always find room note hard to determine. As I was out on a solo walk with this one I had no "objective" observer to comment but I imagine this is a crowd pleaser. Flavor: This is where Tastemaster surprised me. I somewhat expected a sweeter milk chocolate or hot cocoa flavor but found this to be full of unsweetened dark chocolate. Where I expected something cloyingly sweet I found notes of bitter dark cacao much like a high end unsweetened dark chocolate bar. Not entirely what I was expecting but thoroughly pleasant nevertheless. This is one for a cold winter evening....balanced and offset by a cup of sweetened hot chocolate. Strength: I'm a bit of a newbie and so I found it to be medium in strength. Burned nicely right to the bottom of the bowl and though it was a rather windy day it was fairly well behaved in terms of not burning too hot and not giving me much if any bite. I kept my wind guard on and so perhaps that helped. A definite keeper for a certain kind of evening I think.
Samuel Gawith - Cabbie's Mixture 50g
The "Saison" of pipe Tobacco
Tin: Nice packaging with a too-small image of a cabbie in a horse drawn carriage evoking turn of the century London. Tin note: Citrusy, lemony, green hay/alfalfa, or green tea. Cut: Nicely layered coins tending toward dark (surprising given the lighter aromas of hay and citrus....one expected lighter and more blond colors in the cut). A touch moist out of the tin but this makes it a pleasure to rub out.....soft and supple A bit of waiting while I repeatedly smelled my hands taking in the original tin notes. Flavor: (Subjective) Green hay and alfalfa notes come through clearly.....the lemon/citrus not so much. An "herbal" smoke that made me think of French Farmhouse Ale and a touch of horse blanket (yeah...possibly a horrible connotation but stay with me for a minute...because it really works). A bit of pepper spice...particularly in the retro-hale. Some of these qualities faded just a bit toward the bottom of the bowl. Smoked nicely without much bite unless seriously abused and over-drawn. Room Note: I find room note hard to gauge when I'm smoking but....not unpleasant but not as nice as some aromatics according to my innocent bystanders. Palatable and not off-putting As mentioned previously the combination of tin note and flavor immediately created a mental connection with a good Farmhouse Saison ale.....so I went to the cellar and paired this with a 12oz. Dogfish Head Saison Du Buff....an ale crafted with sage, rosemary, thyme, & coriander. PERFECT combination of complimentary flavors and aromas. Grassy, citrusy, herbal, with a touch of spice from coriander in the boil. Cabbies Mixture is a great blend that I will definitely revisit and seems ideal for slow and relaxed summer nights with a nice pale Saison.
G. L. Pease - The Virginia Cream 2oz
A great find
What a great blend this is! I'm a new to pipe smoking (non smoker up until now) and exploring various tobaccos to see what flavors and blends might suit me. I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by this one and definitely ordering more. We had an unusually warm day here and so I loaded this blend into my Peterson (also purchase here at smoking pipes.com.....thanks guys!) and put my feet up in the sun. The tin note on this one is fantastic!! I'm a great fan of a good bourbon but I would not say this smells as if it has been topped with a mature bottled bourbon. Instead what comes comes through from the tin is more like a sour mash or a young bourbon that's just beginning to take on the barrel notes of vanilla and wood tannins. The aroma is sweet with a touch of sour or piquancy in the nose. There are notes of dried orange peel or candied orange and vanilla and the smokey notes of bourbon. Some have complained of tongue bite on this one and so, as a new pipe smoker who is still learning to slow down and not try to keep my pipe lit by over-drawing, I worried this would be a problem for me. To the contrary, I found I got virtually no tongue bite at all. It took to the match quite well with only one relight after my char. It has a nice creamy white smoke with good vanilla notes, and a bit of spicy perique in the retrohale. Many have called the flavor of this blend sweet.....which it surely is.....but I found, and particularly enjoyed, some slightly sour and spice flavors coming through. If one were to stay with the bourbon theme I would have to say the spice reminded me of a really nice glass of Rye while the sour really evoked a bourbon like Mitchner's Sour Mash. This may be the first blend I've tried where I actually enjoyed the development of the entire bowl. It evolved a little for me as I worked my way though starting with the Mitchners Sour Mash flavorings early on....mid bowl I started catching flashes of my grandfather's cigar....and then near the end an unexpected sweetness came through again at the bottom of the bowl. I've tried other aromatics in my efforts to figure out what sort of blends I might like. In general I've found I may not be an aromatics fan. I find many of them are at their best in the tin. Most become fairly off putting as the bowl progresses and become downright unpalatable at the bottom of the bowl. Virginia Cream is the first aromatic (is it really an aromatic??) that progressed wonderfully and finished clean with the original flavors coming through right to the end...again....sweet with a hint of spice and sourness that, for me, was just right. I ws surprised to find it smoked down to a clean and surprisingly dry white ash leaving a very clean bowl. There's no accounting for taste and one man's ambrosia is another man's poison but I'm an instant fan of this one. I'll be adding a few more tins for the long haul to my growing collection.