G. L. Pease - Stonehenge Flake 2oz
Stonehenge is the first Virginia blend of GL Pease's that I've tried and it will not be my last. That said, I plan on stocking-up on this glorious flake. It's a comfort having it around. Others have said it has a Lakeland flavouring and I agree. That flavouring is not as strong as others are making it out to be. It's just enough of that Lakeland touch to bring me back to England. It's got so much else going on, though, outside of that little reminder of a different time and place that I find myself reaching for Stonehenge whenever I feel like a good, long smoke in the garage and no matter what my mood.
Mac Baren - HH Pure Virginia 1.75oz
A Nuanced Virginia
MacBaren's HH Pure Virginia is a tin I keep going to when I know I want a Virginia but I'm not sure what else I want. It never disappoints. It smells nice when I open the jar; it tastes nice when I first lay flame to it; and it stays nice from start to finish. It's one of those types of tobaccos that you can sit down and wonder at its subtleties. It's also one of those types of tobaccos that goes great with a choice drink and a book or a game. Have a few slices of this.
Balkan Sasieni - Balkan Sasieni 50g
If you were to ask me directly what I like in a tobacco I'd be hard-pressed to tell you with words. But if I could show you, I'd probably hand you a tin of this, tell you to crack it open, have a whiff, and leave it to speak for itself. This blend is a treat for me. It's also a blend I always want to have on hand. It's a potent English but it does it so well.
Peter Stokkebye - PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake
A Quality VaPer
This is such a good-looking coin. Chefs say presentation is everything—they're not wrong!—but these coins have the flavour to match. The flavours run a full range from the char-light to the finish. This is a tobacco with the qualities suitable for daily rotation and the price cannot be beat. Love it.
A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
A Real Treasure
This is my favourite VaPer. I bought my first tin last summer and I liked it so much that I bought a second tin as soon as I could. That second tin is now ageing, waiting for a special day. It's good fresh out of the tin. I've folded and stuffed, and I've rubbed it out. I've used a variety of pipes to smoke it. This stuff is consistent and it's consistently good. Pick yourself up something nice. Pick up a tin of this.
Mac Baren - HH Latakia Flake 1.75oz
Time Will Tell
I've had a few bowls of this blend. So far I'm not quite sure what MacBaren had in mind with this one. It's a good smoke, no doubt. There's certainly a lot going on with it—so much so that I think it would age well and become something worthy of a better review with time. As it stands now, though, I find the blend a little muddled for something purporting to be a 'Latakia Blend'. It has Latakia as promised; that's for sure. It has a lot of body and is an all-around quality smoke. The tough spot for me is that for something purporting to be a 'Latakia Blend' I'm more inclined to name it something else. At this stage in the process, it's a 'sort-of english'. I'll report back after my tin has aged some.
G. L. Pease - JackKnife Plug 2oz
Strong and Steady
I just received a fresh tinful of Jacknife Plug. Out of the tin comes a thick, dense block of tobacco that has a strong burley scent. My grandfather’s pocket knife takes a thick flake off to reveal bands of different shades of brown. This cross-section looks promising to me. A gentle rub and a few moment later, my lighter toastes the tobacco and a charming, burley and virginia flavour washes over my tongue. It’s a strong flavour that compliments my coffee. It’s burning cool, strong and steady, providing a tickle to the back of my throat which tells me I won’t be wanting for nicotine in this blend. It isn’t as potent a flavour as Gaslight, but like Gaslight, this is a bowl to enjoy slow, for I suspect it could carry quite the bite if one were to smoke too quickly. There is a very slight nuance to this overwhelmingly burley flavour that keeps me guessing. There is also a subtle sweetness that distinguishes itself. The flavour doesn’t vary much as my bowl progresses, which I find remarkable, though I do think that the strength of the burley flavour does mellow a little toward the halfway mark. Overall, this is a strong and steady blend that is not complex, but of exceptional quality. With my last puffs, I knock the fine grey ash and look forward to the next day that starts with a bowl of this.
G. L. Pease - Chelsea Morning 2oz
My New Mainstay
I haven’t had a GL Pease product yet that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. Chelsea Morning is no exception. It is smokey, nuanced, and has a good balance of different tobaccos to awaken the palate and call attention to Mr Pease’s expertise. Like all GL Pease tobaccos, it has a flavour distinct to its maker; it’s a sort of mystique that keeps me coming back time after time and tin after tin. Chelsea morning is my new mainstay, and (like all of Mr Pease’s offerings) holds a special place in my tobacco collection. All I can say is that this is a mix I’m grateful to have found, and that I’d reccommend to new and to gristled pipe smokers alike. Brilliant stuff
Presbyterian - Presbyterian 50g
No wonder it’s been around so long!
This tobacco is a real treat. It’s soft enough to start my morning but flavourful enough to indulge in a truly decadent smoking session. And what an indulgence this is. It smells bright and lightly smokey in the tin and tastes bright and lightly smokey the whole smoke through. There’s enough orientals and/or virginias in there to keep your palate awake for a well-stuffed, very deep bowl. And that’s great because I will happily smoke this all day long if I could. There’s a good reason this tobacco’s been around for so long!
Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding 2oz
SPC Plum Pudding Tin Note: what a glorious smell! Subtle latakia hit my nose on first whiff, followed by an almost citrusy bouquet. It smells like an “English” but with notes that I can only describe as refreshing—almost citrusy. I guess those refreshing notes are the Orientals and Perique? My nose is not yet so refined to say for sure. There is a sweetness to the scents as well, which I guess is the cavendish. In sum, the aromas are somewhat subtle; no one aroma oversteps the others except that the latakia calls the rest into line. This tobacco smells exciting. Appearance in Tin: hunks of what looks like very thick cut flakes. Not sure how to approach these. I figure I’ll try gently rubbing-out one of these and loosely stuffing it in my pipe. The hunks look like pieces of a pressed-dried fruit bar. Packing the Pipe: I’m smoking this fresh from the tin. The cake strips aren’t very moist. In fact, it was alarmingly easy to break up a bowl’s worth with just my thumb and index finger. I noticed that if I crumbled too hard, I would dust the product. I immediately emptied the tin into a mason jar. The moisture content is perfect for immediate smoking, but I’m afraid of letting it go much farther than that. I’m using a Medico Varsity Briar pipe with a bent stem, packed using the three pinch method, no filter. Char Light: this tastes kind of like Dunhill MM 965 on char, but not as latakia forward. There’s also the pleasant twang of orientals hitting my tongue causing slight salivation, which makes me want more. My initial impressions on char-light are that I’m going to enjoy this bowl. Relight & Smoke to Half: I love what the Orientals are doing for the smoke overall; they make the general latakia notes of this tobacco so much more exciting. Conclusion: consistently delicious. The orientals, perique, and cavendish kept the latakias nuanced and exciting from start to finish.