Rudolph A.

John Aylesbury - Dragon Flake 50g
Similar To A Peterson Aromatic
Dragon Flake arrived in a round tin. Tin aroma was that of maple and an essence reminding me of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. I couldn't detect much of the vanilla, but the caramel was there in the background. The flakes were similar in size and cut to Mac Barens Navy and Mixture Flakes. Although the tin says manufactured in Germany and this site states by Kohlhase & Kopp. I'm sure Mac Barens is the producer of the actual flakes (based on size and thinness of the slices) as I read that K&K outsources the actual production of flakes from their bulk mixtures. The flakes were a medium brown with light flecking and the moisture content was similar to a fresh tin of the previously mentioned Mac Baren offerings and was ready for a smoke. Loading and lighting were easy and it remained lit without relights. The taste was a bit harsh on the tongue and somewhat chemical in nature. I couldn't really discern the individual components all that well; basically a somewhat harsh sweetness. Not much of tobacco taste or flavor for me either. No real bite other than the occasional nip to the tongue with this one. Not bad but not one I would purchase again. It's also a bit pricey at $13.52/50gm tin. The room note was quite pleasant; overall sweet without the typical maple syrup smell. There was a fair amount of gurgle while smoking. I'm sure this will smoke better for me once this dries out a bit. I enjoy my flakes more on the drier side as it helps bring out the natural tobacco flavor for me. Time will tell. With some of the negatives I've described I will give it 2 stars. over time, perhaps that will change.

Amphora - Original Blend 1.75oz
Return Of A Classic
I'm smoking my first bowl of Amphora Original as I write this post. Like many, I've waited for this to come back to the USA for years. Last I smoked it was in the late 80s I believe. Well, it is simply superb. I ordered two packs each and they arrived this afternoon. I was at a basketball game at West Point and knowing the parcel with the baccy would be arriving today, I couldn't wait to get home and start puffing away. I've never tried the Full Aroma so that will be a new experience for me, but if it is anything as good as the Original, I scored two 3 point shots! Mac Baren has done a wonderful job with Amphora Original. Very tasty with a nice chocolate note that doesn't get cloying, a mild to medium nic hit, and just the right amount of Oriental for a subtle spicy (and not sour) after taste. Smokes relatively cool and without bite. I can smoke this every day for sure. Thank you Mac Baren.

Lane Limited - Ready Rubbed 14oz
What's In A Name?
I'm comparing my 14 ounce tin of the reintroduced Edgeworth RR renamed as Lane Ltd RR with half a 14 ounce tin of Lane's ERR which is about 10 years old. Other than the older tin's contents having a slightly darker presence from aging, Lane's reintroduction of this classic has hit all of the previous marks, smoking identical to its predecessor. However, it is not a true cube cut as stated by some. A very comforting and perhaps the best of the Codger Burleys out there. As I am primarily a Burley smoker, I'm very happy that it is back. A bit of what I assumed was PG in the mix, not getting in the way too much, has since faded from my tin and bowl. Very well done, and as such I give it a 5 star review. I much prefer a flake variety of Burley, and a stouter Burley at that, such as Solani's ABF, Wessex Burley Slice, or the defunct Edgeworth Sliced...now that would be something I would look forward to being reintroduced!

Peter Stokkebye - PS301 Natural Dutch Cavendish
A Good All-Around Smoke
The third is a series of reviews on Peter Stokkebye's more naturally flavored tobaccos, the other two being Cube Cut and Aromatic Dutch Slices. No appreciable aroma other than that of fine tobacco, and like the other two previously reviewed tobaccos, NDC was easy to load and light. The overall smoking characteristics were outstanding and similar to those already mentioned. This one, for me, was more Virginia forward (but not hay like) and had more of a spiciness/sharpness while exhaling through the nose. A very naturally tasting smoke and very appealing. A bit more tingling on the tongue than the other two but no bite to speak of. Smoked dry to the heel, without moisture or dottle, and maintained a very nice, pure tobacco taste throughout the smoke. Solid smoking experience and for me but would have preferred a more, fuller tasting Burley in the mix. A good set it and forget it type of smoke and along with the other three, very affordable.

Peter Stokkebye - PS41 Cube Cut
A Good All-Around Smoke
The third is a series of reviews on Peter Stokkebye's more naturally flavored tobaccos, the other two being Cube Cut and Aromatic Dutch Slices. No appreciable aroma other than that of fine tobacco, and like the other two previously reviewed tobaccos, NDC was easy to load and light. The overall smoking characteristics were outstanding and similar to those already mentioned. This one, for me, was more Virginia forward (but not hay like) and had more of a spiciness/sharpness while exhaling through the nose. A very naturally tasting smoke and very appealing. A bit more tingling on the tongue than the other two but no bite to speak of. Smoked dry to the heel, without moisture or dottle, and maintained a very nice, pure tobacco taste throughout the smoke. Solid smoking experience and for me but would have preferred a more, fuller tasting Burley in the mix. A good set it and forget it type of smoke and along with the other three, very affordable.

Peter Stokkebye - PS41 Cube Cut
Good Edgeworth RR Replacement
Cube cuts always have intrigued me as far as easy to carry and load your pipe. Smell out of the 1 ounce sample bag was faintly of vanilla/chocolate with a moisture content right for smoking. I had no problem lighting this nor keeping it lit. It didn't rise out from the bowl while lighting as others have described either. I am more inclined to natural tasting tobaccos, enjoying Irish Flake, Burley Slice, and Aged Burley Flake. PS Cube Cut fits in very nicely for me. It is milder than the three mentioned, but a very set-it-and-forget-it smoke. The pouch aroma did translate into the smoke; mildly, never cloying, and pleasant. Reminded me of the original Edgeworth Ready Rubbed, which was a cube cut. Smoked clean and dry to the heel of the pipe, maintaining consistency of burn and flavor without moisture or dottle. No bite to speak of. Just a mild tongue tingle with heavy puffing and the nicotine presence, for me, was mild. This is in league with the best of the Codger Burleys - actually better in my opinion. No chemical taste whatsoever. A nice all day, everyday type of smoke for my tastes and will definitely be added to my rotation. Those seeking a replacement for ERR need not look any further. Highly recommended!

Peter Stokkebye - Aroma Dutch Slices
Troost Special of Old
Beautifully presented as a nice broken flake, similar to, but smaller than Mac Baren Virginia No 1. Pure tobacco smell from the one ounce sample bag. Good moisture content and easy to load and light. A solid tobacco presence of mostly Burley and remained so throughout the smoke without moisture or dottle. A slight chocolate presence wafted in and out; mostly noticed with the pre-light draw. This reminds me of Troost Special Cavendish of old (not the new stuff - nowhere near it!). I smoked Amphora Brown over 35 years ago and also note similarities. The nicotine presence is pretty heady with this one, so easy puffing is advised. A slight tingle to the tongue while smoking but no bite or palate scorching to speak of at all! I enjoy the taste of pure tobacco with my favorites being Irish Flake, Burley Slice, and Aged Burley Flake. Aromatic Dutch Slices is in that same league for me all around. A very good representation of the best tradition that Dutch Cavendish blends have offered in the past. A solid recommendation and good for rotation smoking.

Mac Baren - Modern Virginia Loose Cut 100g
New Path For MacBaren
Thanks for the free sample pouch Smokingpipes.com! MacBaren is really expanding its lineup, moving away from its signature "honey on toast" (which I happen to enjoy) fare. As a rule I'm not a Virginia smoker and never quite enjoyed the grassy taste typical with much of the variety. I favor Burleys and smokey Kentucky. When I do reach for a Virginia it's usually Capstan Blue or Wessex Brown Slice and not too often lately. A very nice loose cut ribbon of medium browns and black. The immediate pouch aroma was that of sweet wine and spices. On deeper inhaling a very lovely aroma of what seemed to be apricots and another fruity essence was apparent. Loading and lightly were a breeze. This stayed lit for the entire bowl , smoked clean and dry, never got hot, nor was there any bite. An expertly produced blend that made me want for more. This is not your typical aromatic as I detected very little of what I smelled from the pouch other than a sweet presence throughout the smoke. This will definitely become a regular for me and as I fancy flakes, will pick up the flake version of this. Another winner from MacBaren. Highly recommended for both Virginia lovers and aromatic fans.

Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky 1.75oz
New For A MacBaren
I agree wholeheartedly when Mac Baren says this is their strongest tobacco to date. Very similar to the likes of their ODF but with much less of a vinegar smell from the tin and definitely more potent. A slightly sweet tobacco aroma is the tin note for this one and nothing else. I smoked this fresh from the tin and although it did require a few relights, it did not smoke wet. Irish Flake has always been a favorite of mine and that is the benchmark for my comparison. I've noticed since KK no longer blends IrF, that its overall quality for me has dropped a bit. Still a good smoke, but not the same anymore. Enter HHBK. A great natural tasting tobacco with a very strong - but not harsh in any way - presence. A very full tasting, nicotine laced flake for sure. Needs to be smoked slowly and with thought or the nicotine will leave you with a lump in your chest. Same taste profile from the beginning to the end of the bowl. Nothing fancy, just good tobacco as it was meant to be smoked. If you like a good, stout and dark flake, this is the one. For me, it was Kentucky all the way as I could not detect any of the Virginia presence other than for the slight sweetness in the smoke. I enjoyed it more than ODF by the way. Kudos to MacBaren. Simply excellent and 5 starts!!

Rattray's - Stirling Flake 50g
Irish Flake Under Another Name
I wanted to try this ever since I found out that Kolhase-Kopp was releasing this under the Rattray banner aas they no longer are producing Irish Flake for Peterson. After one bowl it was apparent that this is the same (in every way) as Irish Flake - no difference. I maintain this while into my second tin. Irish Flake is my number one favorite and it is nice to know that it is now available as a Rattray entry. K-H blends their flake tobaccos but sends them to Orlik for pressing/cutting. It seems that Peterson is using Orlik for their full production, start to finish, of Irish Flake. The Orlik connection seems to be the consensus after perusing many pipe smoker's forums on the web. A great tasting flake, but unless you are enamored by the tin art, Irish Flake comes in at a better price!

Mac Baren - HH Latakia Flake 3.5oz
Excellent All Around!
First I will start off by saying that I am not a big fan of Latakia, but Mac Baren's HH ODF is one of my top three tobaccos and I definitely wanted to try their HH Latakia Flake. This is not a Lat bomb by any means, but the Latakia does play the major roll in this flake. I was figuring that the hot press mehtod would meld the flavors in a way that other methods would not, taking away some of what I usuually don't like with Latakia...I was right! The tin note upon opening is Latakia (not overwhelmingly so), some spice aroma (I figure from the Orientals) and overall, good tobacco aroma. No hay-like tones whatsoever. The flakes are nearly black and alligned in three rows ala HH ODF, resulting in each flake slightly smaller than a stick of chewing gum - a perfect size. I took two flakes out and let them air dry for 5 minutes and then folded and loaded into a Tom Eltang Stanwell SB. Pre-light sucking on the stem revealed Latakia, and some creamy, minty notes, albeit subtle. Very different and appealing to me. Lighting and keeping lit was very easy. Smoking from begininng to end was effortless and resulted in a very relaxing, enjoyable smoke. Yes, the Latakia was there but what I find different is that its flavor was so well merged with the other tobaccos that this flake smoked as "one flavor" for me. Not airy, moderately full in mouth feel...very appealing indeed. Coming from someone who tolerates but does not love Latakia, my hats off to Mac Baren for making such a fine flake, one that I can smoke each and every day. Now if they would only produce a HH Burley flake like the unfortunately defunct Edgeworth Sliced, this would, for me, be a triple play!

Lane Limited - HGL
Quite A Surprise
I received a sample baggy of this with a recent order placed with smokingpipes.com and a big thank you goes out to them for it! A mixture of black and tan leaf with a nice, low-key Latakia aroma with some background sweetness. As I'm not a huge fan of Latakia, I found the amount added to HGL was just right for me. It loaded and lit very readily and did not smoke hot or bite. It burned slowly to the bowl's end and did not leave any goop behind, nor did it gurgle. Picked up the Captain Black influence that many have commented on; not too much, but present. A pleasant set-it-and-forget-it type of smoke and a good crossover blend for those wanting to venture into Latakia territory; but not too deeply. Not my type of tobacco to place in weekly rotation, but certainly good for what it intends to be. A nice smoke for a cool fall day, sitting on the porch, watching the leaves fall. Nothing spectacular, but dependable. Reminds me of those old codger burleys with Latakia mixed in. Happy I tried it. A solid recommended for those who want a smidgen of Latakia in their smoke.

Capstan - Flake Blue 1.75oz
Superior All Around!
I've been smoking the new Mac Baren incarnation of this classic; the flake in the blue tin is what I'm speaking of. Upon opening the tin you are greeted with a predominantly darker brown flake with some speckles of lighter leaf present. The tin aroma is one of prunes and figs with a moderately sweet note. Loading with the fold and stuff method and lighting were a breeze. The taste is very raisiny with little if any Virginia hay/grass present. There is a spice to this one especially when allowing the smoke to enter the back of the throat and come up the nasal passages - not over the top, but present. The smoking experience reminded me of a milder, but slightly fuller in body, Dunhill Flake (one of my favorites). No matter what my smoking cadence, I could not get this to smoke hot nor bite. This was certainly one fulfilling Virginia smoke and I can see why many have raved about it. I have yet to try the yellow-tinned flake yet, but will do so after I smoke more of the blue. I've tried many Virginias over the years and my biggest complaints were that they were either too grassy/hay-like in taste or they had very little taste and body. The blue Capstan Flake seems to me the near perfect - if not the perfect - Virginia flake. For those who like Virginias, this will not disappoint. All the trouble spent with Sam Gawith's offerings were truly a waste of my time when compared to Capstan Original Navy Cut Flake! As a predominantly Burley smoker, I can smoke this every day and be happy. Truly a 5 star, and stellar, smoke that rates a highly recommended from me.

Capstan - Flake Yellow 1.75oz
Wonderfully Mild and Tasty Flake
SHould be 5 stars but my cursor slipped while rating (LOL)! After smoking the blue version flake I moved on to the yellow. Most everything said about the blue can be said about the yellow with regard to presentation, handling, smoking characteristics, etc. It is a bit lighter in the tin than the blue and its tin aroma is more on the bright side, but not extremely so. Some have said it reminds them of Orlik's Golden Sliced, but I would disagree on that one. For starters, this Capstan flake was darker in color and it lacked that characteristic tin note of GS; nor was there any present in the taste thankfully, as I quickly grew tired of that in the GS. Overall, the yellow-tinned flake was less spicy and not quite as full-tasting as the blue, however, it is still one superior smoke. Like the blue, I can smoke this one every day if need be. However, between the two, I find myself reaching for the blue more often as I enjoy that spiciness I described in the blue and the slightly fuller body to the smoke. As with the blue, a stellar, 5 star smoke. Hat's off to Mac Baren as both will be in my weekly rotation for sure and in my favorites category as well.

Peter Heinrichs - Dark Strong Flake 200g
Excellent!
One word...EXCELLENT! I have wanted to try this for the longest time but never found it in stock anywhere. The other day I read on a forum that Smokngpipes.com just got a shipment of PH tobaccos in. I ordered a 200gm tin immediately. I opened the tin and was greeted to a very nice presentation of broken golden and black flakes, all from what looked to be broken squares. The moisture content was just right for smoking. The tin aroma on deep sniffing had a subtle sweetness and I picked up notes of caramel and licorice in the background, very subtle and only on deep inhalation. Loading and lighting were no problem. What a beautiful smoking experience this is. It has a very subtle sweetness with hints of licorice (way in the background). It imparts a very nice spicy presence to the tongue. Nothing chemical or medicinal in the taste profile. There is no bite, bitterness, moisture build up, and it doesn't smoke hot at all. Overall, very pure in tobacco taste with a subtle sweetness. The leaf quality is top notch. I would not classify this as an aromatic at all. This is better than Mac Baren's Stockton (which I happen to enjoy) and what Solani Silver Flake tries to be, but is too bland for my tastes (see my review of Silver Flake). I am happy I have a 200gm tin. My main concern is availability, but I like it so much that I would be willing to order it directly from Peter Heinrichs in Germany - it is that good. 5 stars hands down!

Solani - Aged Burley Flake - 656 50g
Outstanding!
I favor Burley over any other tobacco leaf and I would say this is by far the best Burley I have ever smoked. I was a big fancier of Edgeworth Sliced and still have one completely sealed tin and one rcently opened but not smoked much since I've been on to ABF. I have also tried Wessex Burley Slice and while good, not as good as ABF. This Solani offering has become my number one all Burley smoke. simply outstanding!

Mac Baren - Navy Flake 100g
Delicious!
Upon opening the tin, there was a beautiful sweetness emanating from within and very reminiscent of figs. The flakes were arranged in two rows along the long side of the tin and about 1 1/2 times the width of most flakes. They were fairly thin sliced and broke apart very readily upon taking them out from the tin. They were very fresh indeed. Loading was easy and the pre-light draw tasted of sweet honey. It took to the match very readily and provided for a long, satisfying smoke. It never burned too hot nor did it even hint of biting. The taste was sweet, spicy, and dry in nature. The initial tin note that I first detected (figs) and the pre-light draw taste of honey did translate to the smoke and was very delicious indeed. Many of the Mac Baren's blends have been faulted for being too similar in taste. For me, the differences, albeit subtle at times, are most definitely there. It has taken me a long time to appreciate those differences. I thoroughly enjoy comparing them and I suppose that is one of the main reasons I've been a big fan of Mac Baren blends for nearly 35 years. Mac Baren's blends their offerings as a master composer would take a theme through many of its variations in a symphony. Mac's Navy Flake is a good, dependable smoke that I can recommend without reservation. In the right pipe, this really sings!

Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 1931 Flake 3.5oz
Variation On A MacBaren Theme
I anxiously awaited the arrival of this new offering and chose it above the other three offered in this series as I am a flake fancier. First let's start with appearances - from the outside in. The 100gm tin is identical in construction to Mac Baren's 100gm Navy Flake, Mixture Flake, etc., minus the lid labeling. The underside sticker on label is printed in similar type to those of Mac Baren's as well. Upon opening the lid, the flakes are arranged in two neat rows and wrapped in the familiar Mac Baren gold wrapping (minus the Mac Baren embossed logo). You can see where I'm going with this. The initial tin aroma revealed a very, very slight sweetness of what I would say was honey and with deep sniffing I noticed an evanescent note of chocolate - ever so slight. I read where Eric Stokkebye says there are no additive flavoring to this flake, but to me, it does not have the smell of pure tobacco only. The flakes were of the consistency of Mac's Navy Flake/Mixture Flake in thickness and its ease in breaking apart on folding; very unlike the rubberiness of Peterson's Irish Flake for comparison. My inaugural smoke was in a Dunhill Cumberland bent billiard. I didn't dry the flake out at all as I was anxious to smoke it right after popping the lid. It took to the match quite easily and required perhaps two or three relights throughout. As with Navy Flake I did perceive a honey/sweet taste but not cloying. Every once in a while, and with slow puffing, I did get the faintest taste of chocolate which may be due to the type of Burley used in this flake. There was no tongue bite per se. Nothing more than the occasional nip I experience with Navy or Mixture when smoked fresh. Since I find similarities to the two referenced Mac Flakes, I would have to say that strength wise, 1931 is equal to NF in terms of flavor and body. Like the other flakes, it smoked clean and dry leaving a light gray ash when all was said and done. The entire smoke was of fine tobacco taste and that sweet honey essence; although the honey taste lessened by the bowl's finish. I suspect that with some time drying in the tin the rich tobacco flavors will become even more pronounced as I find with Navy and Mixture. There is enough nicotine presence to satisfy those who want that in a smoke as well. I would be very surprised if this was NOT produced by Mac Baren since it has all of the fine smoking characteristics of many of their products. I have no problem with that as Mac is one of my favorite blending houses. However, at $4-$5 more per tin than Mac's Navy Flake and Mixture Flake, NF and MF are better bargains. All in all, my hat is off to Eric Stokkebye and I wish him every success with his new line of tobaccos.

Samuel Gawith - Christmas Blend
Very Delightful!
My son's room mate was home in England over the Christmas break from school and I asked him to pick me up two 50 gm tins of this new SG offering. He said no problem as there was a huge tobacconist right around the corner from where he lived. Well...he forgot!! Needless to say I was disappointed but managed to find some in bulk from this vendor. I ordered 2 ounces to start. It arrived at the perfect moisture level for smoking - unlike most SG tobaccos in tin form. It was a medium dark brown (unlike the above photograph which is way too light) and looked to be a very rubbed out flake and coarse. There was very little black Cavendish to my eye. The bag aroma was of nutmeg and only on deep inhalation can you pick up the cinnamon. I didn't pick up the scent of either Virginia or Burley, however it was very delightful. Loading and lighting was very easy. Interestingly, there was not really any detectable flavor of what I picked up in the bag aroma. It really was a very well blended Va/Burley mixture with the Virginia slightly ahead of the Burley. Occasionally there was the faintest taste of cinnamon, but very elusive. Now, this may seem to be a bland smoke, but surprisingly it was quite good. It exhibited it a spiciness reminiscent of Best Brown Flake. There was a very subtle sweetness throughout and I found myself reaching for at least two more bowls after an initial smoke - each and every time. There was no goop/gurgling at all and it never smoked hot no matter how fast I puffed, with only a mild tongue tingling if pushed. The room note was very pleasant while smoking and especially so after returning to where it was being smoked. No Lakeland presence whatsoever and it DGTs very well. There is a solid nicotine presence as well. If I had to describe it in a sentence I would have to say it is SG's version of what an American codger Burley should be. I was so delighted that I have ordered 16 ounces more of this in bulk so as not to run out too soon, plus a pipe just for this blend. I really don't want to run out of this if I can help it! An easy 5 stars for me - kind of like the summer hit sleeper at the movies! Say, any chance you folks at Smokingpipes could stock SG's Black Forrest? I'd like to try that one too!

Peterson - Hyde Park 50g
In Fne English Tradition
A surprising offering from Peterson and blended by Kolhase & Kopp. Very English in the Gawith Hogarth tradition. A beautifully rich tin note greets the nose reminiscent of spiced maple. Easy to pack and light right from the tin, this tastes very similar to G&H's Rum Flake but packs more of a punch by way of nicotene. Puff this one slowly and you will be rewarded with a taste most sublime, rivaling the best and Lakeland has to offer. I taste no Latakia as reported, but true tobacco presence is certainly there and remains throughout the smoke. Highly enjoyable.

Peterson - Christmas Blend 2012 100g
Smells like Christmas!
A very nice offering from Peterson for Christmas. Beautiful presentation of golds and blacks. Ready for packing and smoking right out of the tin. Sucking on the stem pre-lite tastes of evergreen. Once lit, a beautiful melange of flavors and a smooth, dry, and bite-free smoke. A cozy feeling of Christmas past can be effortlessly conjured up while blissfully puffing away on Holiday Season 2012. Enjoy!

Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired 3.5oz
Very Different For A MacBaren
Should be 5 stars!! Didn't know you could click on half a star - very clever Smoking Pipes - I like that flexibility!

Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired 3.5oz
Very Different For A MacBaren
Mac Baren has hit one out of the park with HH Old Dark Fired. I recently received two 100gm tins from Iwan Ries. The tin note is pure tobacco and very similar to Irish Flake and Highland Sliced as the flakes are earthy in their smell. They are very dark and tightly pressed as with IrF and HS (tightly pressed flakes is new for a Mac Baren flake) and similar in size to Ir F. They are stacked into three neat rows. They are cut a tad thinned than IrF which makes for easier packing. The flakes were at a good moisture consistency for packing and lighting. In a blind smoke, I would never ever guess this was from Mac Baren. This is one fine smoke. IrF and HS are two of my favorite tobaccos ever and now I have a third in the same genre. HH ODF has a very rich, natural flavor profile with solid, pure tobacco taste. It exhibits a nice spiciness while smoking. Unlike the spiciness of Perique, there is no pepper notes at all, which is a good thing for me as I don't care for Perique. I don't think there is any casing, and if there is, I can not detect it. It has a healthy dose of nicotine that takes an immediate front row seat. By the way, this offering is a smoother smoke as it doesn't seem to have the harshness I sometimes experience with a bowl of IrF. I have quite a bit of IrF and HS but I can see myself reaching for this new offering from Mac Baren when I want a rich, pure tobacco smoke. It is simply fantastic in my book. If you like IrF and/or HS, you will not be disappointed at all. I enjoy other Mac Baren tobaccos, but this one is way ahead of the pack and is a major player in the pantheon of fine smoking tobaccos. My hat goes off to the blenders at Mac Barens for introducing such a winner. 10 stars across the board!!

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