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TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Each month we'll have some focused reviews on a particular blend.

TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby Muddler » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:35 pm

Time we breathed a bit of life back into the TOTM section. The two that we chose earlier were Sectant & WO Larsen 1864. So let's kick off with Sextant.

Here's my review:

Having smoked my way through most of a tin of Sextant over the past month or two, I’m finally ready to review it. And it needed that amount of time because Sextant changes with air time.

Sextant is part of the GLP Old London series & is probably the most atypical tobacco in this series – or so many think – because of the addition of rum to the blend. The tin describes it thus: Sextant is a classic mixture harmoniously married to a Navy Flake. Ripe Virginia tobaccos are first blended with Cyprian Latakia, fine Orientals, and a touch of dark fired Kentucky leaf, then infused with a hint of dark rum before being gently pressed, matured and sliced. The flavour is rich, bold and satisfying, the aroma an enchanting interweaving of traditions.

When I first opened my tin I found the rum scent quite overpowering. And this translated to the smoke as well. But I figured it would tone down with some air time - & it did. But it was certainly more than the hint described on the tin.

Yet Sextant is not about the rum. It’s all about the Va’s & the orientals with the rum providing a background note. This with air time, as noted. The Lat is fairly muted – this is not a Lat-forward blend. In short, Sextant is a superb blend. It is exactly what you would imagine a GLP Navy Flake to be – sophisticated, perfectly blended yet authoritative.

There is only one other Navy Flake containing Lat that I’m aware of – SG Navy Flake. It’s a straightforward blend of good Va’s, Lat & a rum topping. I smoked bowls of the two back to back to compare them. Sextant is more muted in the Lat content (which surprised me because SG NF is not a Lat bomb), the rum topping is more prominent & the orientals make their presence felt. It is, quite simply, the better blend, IMO.

I rate Sextant highly & will definitely buy more. It is almost as good as Key Largo in my book. So if your taste turns to a good Lat blend with a delightful twist, Sextant may just do it for you.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby calipuffer » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:48 pm

Thanks for the review.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby Smitty » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:18 pm

Gonna get a tin when I put my 4 Noggins order in tomorrow. Sounds like one I'll likely really enjoy.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby ewlewis » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:39 am

Thank you muddler for reviving this. I fell behind recently.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby Smitty » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:35 pm

My 4 Noggins order came in Saturday and I had my first bowl of Sextant last night in a Pete 999. I'm not a big lat hound but I do really like this. I don't think I've smoked a blend that was this complex before. I'm not very good at writing reviews and this would take me many smokes to do it justice in a review. I will say that I like it a lot and I would recommend it to latakia hounds and those who like a mild touch of latakia alike. I love the sweet rum that remains under the surface. It would be great to smoke in the woods on a crisp fall day. I may have to get another tin to save for hunting season. :D
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby calipuffer » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:40 am

I got a chance to try this blend at recent pipe club meeting. It comes as a sliced flake and in an ideal scenario could benefit from some air time. Since I didn't have that luxury I did have some trouble geting it lit and also ended up with a gurgle and wet dottle. The flavor is very nice, not a lat bomb. I agree with the complexity and feel it would have exhibited even more if I didn't get the gurgle. I look forward to popping my tin in a few years when the VA and Lat can really meld.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby doctorthoss » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:32 am

While I understand that Sextant is supposed to be something of a Navy flake and also something of a tribute to the now-extinct blend Mephisto, I have to say that it reminds me more of a gourmet American English blend. While smoking it, I am reminded more of blends like Epiphany and Old Hollywood than, say, Gawith's Navy Flake. This is due, I think, to the mild flavoring agent which imparts more sweetness than flavor. Also, the relatively light hand with the latakia reminds me of those blends and the Kentucky component sings loud and clear (much as burleys do in an American English).

This is some rich stuff. Although the latakia content doesn't seem particularly high, it feels "heavier" than blends like Odyssey and Abingdon. It's got exactly the taste profile I prefer: sweet rather than sour, with just enough complexity from the orientals and the campfire-like flavor of latakia to keep things interesting all the way down. Subsequent smokes in the same pipe allow the virginias to show their stuff -- at times they even take the lead, showcasing even more of the complexity I noted the first time around. This stuff seems to contain more Vitamin N than any other latakia mixture in the GLP line-up -- it's not Nightcap, but it's not too far from it. The burning characteristics are superb, it doesn't bite, and I had no problem smoking it (I did air it for awhile before lighting up, though).

My first impression is that this is great, in the sense that Westminster, Odyssey, Filmore, and Renaissance are (or were) great. I've not been a fan of the Old London series thus far (except for Chelsea Morning, which is a great) but this stuff is positively stellar. I think it will make a great "all day" latakia mixture for those of us who crave strength in our blends, but could also be a wonderful contemplative smoke or nightcap.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby winston » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:25 am

Do you guys think this blend will age well, considering it is flavored with rum? Deciding if I should add some to the cellar.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby Muddler » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:52 am

winston wrote:Do you guys think this blend will age well, considering it is flavored with rum? Deciding if I should add some to the cellar.


No doubt about it! I'm cellaring a bit.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby eric » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:23 am

winston wrote:Do you guys think this blend will age well, considering it is flavored with rum? Deciding if I should add some to the cellar.


It might not age as well as a straight Virginia...but I imagine if you pop a 20 year-old tin a couple decades from now you won't be at all disappointed.

My opinion is that anything you like, or think you like, or wouldn't want to have unavailable to you is worth aging.

Bottom line: No one is going to know what ten years of age does for this blend for another ten years or so. But it isn't unreasonable to expect we might be paying at least twice what we are now for a tin of tobacco in ten years, if we can get it at all. The only tobacco I won't cellar are tobaccos I wouldn't smoke now, and I've even made numerous exceptions to that rule too.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby doctorthoss » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:45 pm

winston wrote:Do you guys think this blend will age well, considering it is flavored with rum? Deciding if I should add some to the cellar.


Alcohol doesn't break down like many other flavorings, so I imagine that it will neither help nor harm the blend over time. As in other mixtures, I expect the latakia to become muted as the years pass while the virginia and orientals should change quite a bit. I'm planning to cellar this stuff by the metric ton, if I can afford it.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby drl » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:08 am

I popped my tin a couple of nights ago. Pretty nice flavor, but not sure if its a keeper yet. The rum scent reminds me most of a very high proof example (Bacardi 151, which I use to clean pipes) and doesn't add as much sweetness as I thought it would. Definitely something to spend more time with. My guess is that it would age nicely and become a bit sweeter and even more harmonious.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby Muddler » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:57 am

Dave, Sextant changes after the tin has been opened - quite gently but significantly. The rum recedes quite a bit & becomes rounder. Well worth dragging the tin out over a month or three & having a weekly bowl - just to see what it does. To my taste, it improves.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby drl » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:35 am

Right on, I've found that with a lot of other blends as well and I'll definitely continue to revisit. (And I'm never one to throw out any tobacco so I'll certainly finish the tin even if I'm not smoking it daily.) I'll update my impressions as I work through it. It certainly isn't bad as is, by any means.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby drl » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:31 pm

Smoking a bowl of Sextant tonight and enjoying it more than I have previously. I'm still not sure if its a top smoke but its growing on me. One thing I'll say is that the GLP 2 oz tins are nice - give a good chance to really get to know a blend. I know the difference between 1.76oz and 2oz isn't a lot, but I certainly feel like the tin lasts a lot longer!
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby drl » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:36 am

This blend continues growing on me with every bowl - this is exactly why I never give up on a tobacco on first impression/without smoking a full tin (even if I have to jar it away for years and find it later!). Really nice. Slightly earthy, the sweetness has improved a bit with some air, and the latakia plays well with the oriental and DFK. I only really get the oriental on the finish, especially if pushed out the nose, but its definitely there. The latakia is more in the aroma for the smoker but imparts its distinct flavor, while the DFK seems to be adding strength and some nice earthy bass tones. Quite a lovely smoke. I'm still not sure if it beats out some of the things I'll cellar heavily, but at the least I'll say this probably won't be my only tin of the stuff even if it only becomes a now and then smoke. Recommended!
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby doctorthoss » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:33 pm

drl wrote:This blend continues growing on me with every bowl - this is exactly why I never give up on a tobacco on first impression/without smoking a full tin (even if I have to jar it away for years and find it later!). Really nice. Slightly earthy, the sweetness has improved a bit with some air, and the latakia plays well with the oriental and DFK. I only really get the oriental on the finish, especially if pushed out the nose, but its definitely there. The latakia is more in the aroma for the smoker but imparts its distinct flavor, while the DFK seems to be adding strength and some nice earthy bass tones. Quite a lovely smoke. I'm still not sure if it beats out some of the things I'll cellar heavily, but at the least I'll say this probably won't be my only tin of the stuff even if it only becomes a now and then smoke. Recommended!

I agree that it seems to get better as time passes, which is pretty amazing to me as I loved it from the first bowl. I pick up more lat/oriental than you seem to, but otherwise I pretty much concur with your review.
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby Frizz » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:14 pm

Muddler wrote:Dave, Sextant changes after the tin has been opened - quite gently but significantly. The rum recedes quite a bit & becomes rounder. Well worth dragging the tin out over a month or three & having a weekly bowl - just to see what it does. To my taste, it improves.


This nicely sums up my experience as well...opened my first tin about 6 weeks ago and while very tasty and undeniably high quality, it was a wee bit sharp-ish, and since then I've more or less smoked a bowl per week. Now the edges are nicely rounded and I find it to be an exceptionally nice, medium bodied lat mixture with remarkable sweetness. The rum really works here, much like in G&H's Rum Twist as compared to their Irish Twist (which I also like very much) but much more so. This, for me, at the moment, yada yada, is about as sweet as I like in my baccy. Not unlike, apart from the sweet, C&D's Red Odessa which for me is another great medium bodied medium nic lat mixture. Another great baccy I feel will just get better in the cellar! :D
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby sorringowl » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:48 pm

Wow! A lot of great, informative, and comprehensive reviews here! Sorry I missed out on this one, as I really like GLP blends. I will have to try this one. Thanks!
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Re: TOTM August 2012: GLP Sextant

Postby FlatbushPaul » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:57 pm

I kinda like it both ways, right out of a newly opened tin and also after a couple of weeks. I like the rum forward taste when it is first opened and I also like it when that flavor has receded somewhat. It is a very nice blend and I smoke it often but it is not in my regular rotation.
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