Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 2012 Anniversary Blend 3.5oz
I was hoping for something distinctive along with a tad more body. Its subtle sweetness and piquant tobacco flavor kept me searching. Light pear essence turns to apple, almost a sweet&sour apple aroma half way down the bowl, linear throughout, increasing in depth. Cider? Burns rather hot, better for sipping, pungent on the re-light. Toward the second half expect a serious Nic Hit 7+... I first smoked it partially rubbed, not circular, but rolled broken flake, loaded vertically with the grain. Tried again fully rubbed... better, still somewhat bland to taste, but a smoother straight ahead Virginia, medium strength. On third try, take out a Cob! Missouri Meerschaum Emerald Bent enhanced the autumnal flavor profile significantly. Cooler smoking than the previous Group-4 briar. Therefore, if you're looking for a moderately topped silky smooth Virginia flake, clean on the palate, along with a kick, this is for you. Reminds me of a fine Apple/Pear wine.
Rattray's - Sir William 100g
2 Years After...
Initially, I disliked this blend with a vengeance, but two years later enjoy it very much in a small pipe. I put it aside and forgot about it, only to come back and Wow! After aging it matures to a rounder, richer, balanced smoke. Mysterious... a slight topping and rather alluring Burley forward blend of exotic leaf. Hang on for the ride! A serious Nic Hit (6.5 to 7) and piquant flavor profile, suitable for short smokes in smaller pipes (Group-3 max). Complex for a semi-aromatic, begin by smoking it sitting down in a Group-2.
Fribourg & Treyer - Cut Blended Plug 50g
...to be continued
Unmistakable tin note, beautiful K&K flake that keeps me coming back until lit... then I get bored. A very linear smoke (F&T Style) that doesn't change, unidimensional top to bottom. Virginia upfront, similar to Rattray's Trio but not nearly as rich and balanced. Edgy.
Peterson - Irish Dew 40g
All around fantastic!
Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 1931 Flake 1.4oz
First choice, any day, any time. Ages to perfection. Head-on with Mac Baren Navy Flake.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Bob's Chocolate Flake 50g
I knew Bob, personally. A lovely man who introduced me to this decades ago and it remains the same as it always was, great flake. Burley forward...
Peterson - 3 P's - Peterson's Perfect Plug 50g
If you are looking for something authentic and reminiscent of yesteryear search no longer. Shave it thin against the grain, rub it out and voila! You are floating back in time— 40, 50, 60+ years ago to the Old School of Euro Flakes. Best in a smaller pipe; Group-3. Smooth, round, rich, no edges, and a throwback to great tobacco. I like it best fresh out of the tin cut thin and rubbed. Fig notes. Tends to get rather staunch after it ages more than a year. In the Condor class of tobacco with a definite Nic hit.
Peterson - Hyde Park 50g
Pop the tin, sniff, put it away for at least three months, then come back to it— better in a year, needs aging to really show. Extraordinary incense notes amongst earth and lots of depth. Herbaceous tin notes. Old fashioned rough cut takes some rubbing, worth the wait. Best in a Group-4 to larger size pipes, it needs room to mingle. Definitely aimed at experienced smokers. Matured leaf. Sugar crystals.
McConnell - St. James Park 50g
Full bodied, heavy in the room, it lingers. Taste: All strength, little to no flavor. Yang, but no yin... this is not Aperitif, more a confluence of Dunhill London and __________ (fill in the blank). Baby's Bottom? The tin note was very Nightcap, but not in the bowl. Great nose, yet too full for a pre-meal smoke. Room note: It will blow people out of the room. The Dominator!
Rattray's - 40 Virginia 100g
Silky smooth with a fine brandy-like top note, not to be confused with an aromatic. Naturally clean and rewarding. My first attempt upon opening was off-putting, until I returned one month later. It matured, creating an alluring smoke beyond compare, reminiscent of a rare Armagnac. Smooth, succulent, creamy, and delicious. This is a keeper.
McConnell - 5 Year Matured Virginia 50g
Unique & Complex
Not for newbies or the faint-hearted, this is serious tobacco. Tin note equals raisins, hay, and fig, with an underlying whiff of natural cocoa and a slight spiciness. In the bowl we have saddle leather and wood, earthy barn board aromas. A dusty, somewhat musty cask essence meets the mottled brown Virginias exuding a rich and satisfying smoke, not to be mistaken for an Aromatic. Much rounder and forgiving than the long since discontinued Dunhill Three Year Matured, yet similar intensity, less oak. It mirrors Dunhill's 'dry nose' of the 70's depending on the pipe chosen. Find yourself a neutral tasting pipe, not one smoked with English mixtures. A dedicated pipe for Virginias only, this is fit for the connoisseur.
John Aylesbury - Classic Flake 50g
"Fribourg & Treyer" with a touch of perique.
McConnell - Barking Road 50g
If you were a fan of the original Amphora (Brown Label) back in the 1970's 80's this is nearly identical, a close approximate and IMO higher quality leaf. Tin note: Molasses & Spice.
Three Nuns - Three Nuns Yellow 1.75oz
Elephant & Castle
A throwback to E&C.