Welcome back to another episode of Tasting Notes. If you've been following the latest installments of this series, you're likely aware that I've been working my way through Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation Bulk offerings recently. The interesting thing about this bulk series is that each blend is named after a specific time of day, with the name suggesting when one might best enjoy the mixture. Within the line, you have Morning Blend, Afternoon Melange, and Evening Flake, which I'll be reviewing today.
As I've mentioned in previous videos, I've been trying to enjoy these bulk blends during their designated times of day. That said, all three of these blends are perfectly suited to all-day smoking, if that's your preference. If you're an English smoker, for example, you'll likely find that Afternoon Melange is a great all-day smoke for you. But for these reviews, I wanted to try them as they were intended to be smoked, so I've been enjoying Erik Stokkebye's 4th Generation Evening Flake mostly in the evenings and nights. And it's been exceptional.
Evening Flake has been the perfect blend to help me wind down. For years I've said that I prefer to start my day with a stronger tobacco and end my day with a milder blend, so the 4th Generation range really suited my personal tates; while they are designed for enjoyment at different periods throughout the day, all three mixtures are close to medium in strength.
Components and Tin Note
Compared to Afternoon Melange, which is an English mixture, Evening Flake is a little lighter-bodied and lighter in flavor, though the strength is comparable. It's a blend of Virginias and Perique that's been hot pressed before being aged slightly and then sliced. The flakes themselves are mostly bright in color. You can see a little bit of dark leaf in each flake, but nothing that would give you the impression of a heavy Perique presence.
In the bag, the tin note offers that signature aroma of hay and citrus I associate with bright Virginias. The Perique makes itself known a tiny bit as well; on a pre-light, dry draw, there are very subtle notes of stewed fruit, but mostly it's got that iconic bright Virginia Flake character.
Strength and Flavor
I often consider the Virginia/Perique pipe tobacco family as a spectrum. On the lighter side, you have blends that are more citrusy and grassy with just a touch of piquant spice — things like Solani 633 or Orlik Golden Sliced. On the darker, heavier end of the spectrum, you'll find blends like Escudo, and Sam Gawith St. James Flake; these mixtures often feature a higher percentage of Perique, which makes them darker, fuller, and spicier.
Interestingly, Evening Flake seems to fall close to the center of that spectrum. Of course, there are hay-like and citrus-like aromas and flavors, but there's also richer, fruitier notes and an almost chocolatey kind of richness. It's slightly more Perique-forward and more richly flavored than you might expect from the charring light or from simply smelling the tobacco. That extra richness is what makes the blend so well-suited to evening enjoyment.
At night, you may want something a little more full-bodied: something with a little more spice and complexity. And Evening Flake certainly provides that. There are moments during the smoke when I definitely experience the blend's grassy and bready qualities; the citrus notes likewise are lemony and fairly sharp and noticeable. When I do get whiffs of the Perique, however, there's almost a cocoa-like richness underlining a good bit of spice and a little fruitiness.
All that considered, I would consider Evening Flake as medium to medium-full in flavor, even though strength wise and body-wise, it is mild-to-medium. It's also quite approachable for smokers who are trying the family for the first time or those who may not enjoy a significant percentage of Perique in a blend. If it is the first Virginia/Perique you ever smoke, it's probably going to get you hooked. Even folks who are used to smoking heavier Perique blends, like Bayou Morning or Haddo's Delight, will likely appreciate Evening Flake as a nice change of pace, particularly earlier in the day.
Aging Potential and Closing Thoughts
Perhaps even greater than the other two blends in the series, the aging potential for Evening Flake is very high. This Virginia/Perique flake is going to be an excellent, excellent smoke in a handful of years. And it will continue to improve for a very long time. I'll definitely be cellaring away several jars of this stuff, and I'm excited to see how it develops over the years. Evening Flake is another masterful flake tobacco from Denmark, and definitely a winner for those of us who enjoy Virginia/Perique blends.
It's been a blast smoking through all three of these Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation blends. It's impressive that, in just one series, there's such a varied rotation of pipe tobaccos, and they all compliment each other well. I highly recommend getting an ounce or two of all three of them. Try them at different times of the day and see what works for you.