Welcome back to another episode of Tasting Notes. In this installment, I take a closer look at Chacom's #4 blend, which features various Virginias combined with a small portion of Perique for some added strength and a touch of fruity spice. One of four new recent additions to Smokingpipes' portfolio of Chacom blends, this mixture is cold-pressed for four weeks before being cut into slices, resulting in a flake tobacco that's medium in strength and rich in flavor. Watch the video above, or read the transcript below for my full review.
Note: The following transcription has been edited for clarity and brevity.
[Shane Ireland] Hey everybody, Shane Ireland here. Welcome to another episode of Tasting Notes. Today I am reviewing one of four new blends from Chacom, new to Smokingpipes that is: Chacom #4. So blends #1, #2, #3 and #4 are new to the Smokingpipes lineup, but I actually tried this tobacco back in 2018. So in 2018, I was attending the World Championship Slow Pipe Smoking contest in Tokyo, and somebody had a tin of this and were sampling it out. So I was able to grab a couple flakes and honestly I instantly loved it. It's a really great product. And I've been waiting very patiently since then for it to be in stock at Smokingpipes, which it now is.
So just to give you a little background on this particular blend from the series, #4 is a cold-pressed Virginia/Perique flake. It's made by Kohlhase & Kopp in Germany. It's cold-pressed, which means that pressure is applied without heat, which is very crucial. Without steam pressing, they take a little bit more time to age the blocks after they've been pressed, and you end up with something that's a lot lighter in color, and a lot more on the brighter side of the flavor spectrum as well. So really beautiful flakes, very supple, mostly lighter in color with a little bit of some chestnut shades. And like I said, they advertise this as being a blend of various Virginias, so I take that to mean both some red and some brighter leaf, along with a little bit of Perique. The Perique itself, I would say, is on the subtler side, when it comes to the proportions used. I don't think that there's a ton of Perique in here; it's just enough to keep things interesting. But the one thing about this blend in general for me is that it is unique and distinct in terms of like mouthfeel and the sort of notes that I get.
Packaging & Tin Note
The tin note itself is a little nondescript: There's a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of grassiness for sure. One thing that I don't get much of in the tin note or in the smoke is citrus notes, which is interesting because it is a predominantly bright, or a lighter Virginia flake, that is cold-pressed. Typically, citrus is a pretty common flavor in blends like that — the grassiness, the citrus flavors, maybe some bready qualities. But Chacom #4 is different in that I think the citrus is really toned down. And I think that some of the like sweet bread kind of notes, like almost like brioche even, those are what I mostly get at the start of the bowl. And I would say that those flavors continue to develop and continue to deepen as the bowl progresses.
Initial light & Overall Flavor
Right off the bat, you definitely get a little bit of that grassy character but mostly I get that like Hawaiian sweet bread or brioche kind of a thing. And maybe just a tiny bit of spice. So as the bowl progresses, the sort of like sweet bread and like bakery type of flavors really start to amp up, as does the sweetness. I can feel a little bit of the Perique tingle on the retrohale and on the back of my palate pretty much throughout the bowl. For me, even at the very end of the bowl here, I never really get, a really big slap in the face spice from the Perique. There's a little bit of dark fruit notes in there, as well as something that's a little bit closer to white pepper instead of like the real spicy, tingly kind of sensation that you can get some Perique. But what's interesting about this to me is the weight on the palate and the density of the smoke. It's a very dense smoke, and it's really creamy too. So I typically associate like those sort of creamy notes with blends that have a decent portion of like some Oriental leaf or some Latakia; they also tend to go hand in hand with some of the like campfire smoky kind of notes. So for mostly straightforward Virginia/Perique blend, with what I suspect is a small portion of Perique, to have that real distinct creaminess, is quite interesting. It pairs very well with those sort of bready flavors and even the grassy sort of flavors. So it's just like this nice, lightly sweet, dense, creamy, almost like a coffee creamer kind of a thing throughout the whole bowl and I really enjoy it.
Strength & Body
I think this is definitely an all-day smoke. For fans of Virginias or Virginia/Periques, I would rate it less strong than something like Escudo for sure. I would say that it's still medium maybe medium to full flavored even though it's mild to medium in strength. But if you are a smoker of Orlik Golden Sliced, Fribourg & Treyer Cut Virginia Plug, or Peter Stokkebye's Luxury Navy Flake, this is definitely going to make its way into your rotation. Honestly, I can't really put it down.
I've been coming back to it, and I think this is going to age extremely well. I'm also pretty certain that this is going to be one of those blends where, once the word starts to get out, especially among our customers here, we're going to start to see maybe a shortage in the market for Chacom #4. I'm pretty sure about that. This is going to be one of those blends that's going to be hard to find after a while. I think when the Virginia smokers out there who are really dedicated to this genre try this one, it's going to be something that people are stocking up on, including myself.
I'm smoking this today in a Peterson Premier System 317. I've got a couple of Systems 317s in a couple of different configurations, like a Spigot, etc. And I've been smoking this exclusively in those pipes. Actually, it just seems to work really well with that chamber size. One of the things that I will say is that the flakes, right out of the tin, might feel a little bit too moist to some folks; they're really, really pliable. That said, in my experience with this tobacco, and I rarely say this, I don't really give this much drying time at all. So typically, I would give a blend like this five or 10 minutes of drying time, just help it take to the flame a little bit easier. But with this one, I find that directly from the tin, rubbed out and loaded relatively loosely in a pipe is the best way. When I have given it a little more drying time, I feel like lose a little bit of that nuance and a little bit of those sweet notes. So like I said, try this one straight from the tin. Smoke it in a Virginia pipe, and smoke it nice and slow. And I'm guessing that the tin will not last that long in your rotation, because it's certainly not lasting me very long either. Again, Chacom's #4 has really long legs; this is going to age wonderfully and I'm really excited about it. It's become one of my favorite new Virginia smokes.