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First Impressions

Discuss or ask questions about pipe tobacco, pipe tobacco storage and aging, blending, etc.

First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:28 pm

This is a thread dedicated to posting first impressions of a blend that the poster hasn't tried before. The idea isn't for posts here to be a review, proper, but more one's initial thoughts on the first bowl of a new blend. Could be interesting to refer back to once a few bowls have been smoked.

If you're trying a blend for the first time, feel free to jot down your first impressions here.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture

I wanted to try this mainly because it's a favourite of Bradley's, from the Stuff & Things YouTube channel. If nothing else, it's a reference for what he talks about in his tobacco reviews. I was also curious about VaPers, having not really tried them before (or not knowingly).

The tin note is very much hay or grassy Virginia. I had a sniff of a jar of Perique blending tobacco, and I'd have to say that the aroma of that doesn't seem to be particularly evident in the Dunhill blend - if it's there, it's subtle. The moisture content seemed maybe a touch try, but it fared well with a pinch test, It also packed easily, and lit nicely on the charring light, after which, it almost kept going, but did need a tamp and true light eventually. The pipe was a cob.

The flavour seemed to be bright, if I can put it like that, with a notable peppery note from the Perique. I didn't notice any earthiness or mellowness - it seemed to be very much biased towards a grassy pepperiness. Plenty of smoke even with fairly gentle puffs, but the body was a bit light. The peppery aspect was fine on the snork - definitely there, but not overpowering.

My first impression is that this isn't my kind of tobacco. If it was a frequency response in an audio system, I'd say it was all upper midrange and treble. Maybe this is a summertime smoke.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Listener666 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:15 am

Sam Gawith Lakeland Dark

A very broken Flake which came quite moist. The smell was a Smokey typical Kentucky type of smell with a little musky spice.

I dried the baccy for about 30 minutes while grinding some coffee and taking the dogs for a quick stroll.

Didn't light particularly well (should have dried it out more)......needed quite a few relights (should have dried it out more)

The immediate taste reminded me of GH Dark Flake U/S.........that rich flavour of dark fired leaf. As the smoke progressed it became quite strong but rather bland and ...well sort of muddy.
I found it quite unsatisfying and wanting more. Nicotine was for me, quite high but the taste was a little elusive.

Quite disappointed....but i'v done this many times....stick it in a jar for a couple of weeks and I bet it improves (and I should have dried it out more :oops: )

At this stage I much prefer GH Dark Flake U/S for this type of smoke....this sort of reminds me a little of a weaker tasting Revor for some reason. :shock: It doesn't really taste like it...it just makes me want to smoke some!
I also much prefer this to Peterson 3P's....from which I always struggle to get flavour consistently.....a most frustrating smoke for me.

A good thread.....I wouldn't usually have posted my first impressions if they were this poor because I know some tobacco changes with a bit of breathing space but it will be interesting to see how things develop.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Geo3rge » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:29 pm

A sample of Schneiderwind John Aylesbury English mix. Heavy with Latakia, I gagged in my first couple of puffs and couldn’t take any more so have discarded it. It was a dryish mixture, fine cut and the tobacco pouch aroma was pleasing but I should have known from that smoky essence that I might struggle.
After the initial lighting and puffing, it caught at the back of my throat and completely threw me off course. I really am not a Latakia person as I dislike even smoked food products or those with a smoked flavour to them.
There we are, folks. A blend that will be loved by some but, alas, not by me.
Steve
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Re: First Impressions

Postby steppenwolph » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:43 am

Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. - Rum Twist Unsliced Rope
The wife said it looked like dog poop, and its resemblance to a lawn cigar is undeniable. I didn't know what to expect from this one, except that it would have a solid nic hit. And it did not disappoint. But more to the point of this first impression, other than a good jolt of vitamin N, there is a very smooth tobacco there. It is a tad moist, but drier than most tinned tobaccos, needed very little drying. I did slice off coins and crumble them, and stuff them in the bowl. One charring light and then a second light was all it needed. Very satisfying tobacco flavor with a light reminder of rum. Nothing to hit you over the head with, as far as flavoring. I may have been a trifle dizzy at the completion of the bowl. I bought this as an exploration into the world of rope and twist tobaccos. I've got two ounces of it, and I expect to enjoy every bit of the stuff.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby KevLa » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:38 am

Good to have you here again, Steppenwolph! :)
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Re: First Impressions

Postby steppenwolph » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:11 pm

KevLa wrote:Good to have you here again, Steppenwolph! :)


Thank you, KevLa. It is good to be back. :D This place is the best.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby steppenwolph » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:31 pm

Solani 633
Tried my first bowl of this last night while driving home from visiting family. Very nice smoke, not too much perique. Next time, I will have to try it when I can focus more on the smoke.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Listener666 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:04 am

John Patton: Dark Horse

Thought I would try a few John Patton Blends (thanks 4 Noggins)

First off was Dark Horse. Now this ticks all of my boxes...and the reviews read good.......
The pouch note was a little underwhelming...slightly cocoa/chocolate but not that strong with a slight musty/sour odour. Moisture excellent.
I decided (foolishly) to use a new cob....packed using 3 step method..ish.....then lit. The charring light gave off a very mild cheap cigar taste. After the true light, the cigar taste continued but was very very mild. After a few minutes I thought the pipe was going out....but plenty of smoke...mmmm. The taste was non existent.....so to cut a long story short I spent 40 minutes giving a little stir....or packing it a bit tighter....etc etc. Just couldn't get much taste....took the paper filter out ....in.......pipe cleaner folded ( like this for a filtered cob)....no filter....etc....Interestingly the folded pipe cleaner that I left in was virtually clean when I had finished the smoke not even discoloured
I got no Burley, no Perique, a little ultra mild cigar and during the final 1/3 a little Turkish/Oriental which I quite enjoyed. Nicotine medium ish

Something not right..........New Cob?.......Not travelled well from across the pond?.....Taste buds shot?....poor pipe smoking skills :oops: .....combination of all four :lol: .

This baccy has to be a full tasting blend judging by nearly every review I can find......I smoked a small bowl of OJK after to make sure I wasn't dead in the shed :D

Looking forward to the next bowl.......I think!
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Listener666 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:20 pm

John Patton: Storm Front

After my experience yesterday with Dark Horse, I decided on a small bowl of Storm Front in a MM Marcus.

Looked a lot like DH....smelled a lot like DH with perhaps a more Musty smell. Excellent moisture level.

Charring light produced a slightly Woody smoke, real light was similar. After a few minutes.....oh yes....this was what I was expecting, a slightly woody Burley taste. Very smooth.
Half way down the bowl and the taste was very rich, the cigar leaf evident but as a woody note....not a sweet tobacco but I kept getting an occasional sugary taste in the background which enhanced the flavour.

Medium nicotine, no heat issues.

Really like this baccy on first impression, a big bowl would be a little to much for me but 30-40 minutes and I was quite content.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:05 am

Dunhill Flake

Tin description says 'Virginia pipe tobacco', and that's it. Popped it open and had a sniff - definitely a sweet grassy, hay aroma that was quite pleasant. The flakes looked nicely cut, albeit a little crumbly (unlike the leather-like slabs of Irish Flake, for example). Colouring is various shades of light tan to medium brownish, suggesting various Virginias in the blend.

My first impression of moisture content was that it was maybe a touch dry. It rubbed out easily into a fairly fine ribbon cut, and just passed a pinch test. It packed and lit with no issues, bar a relight or two during the first third of the bowl. Flavour seems to be typical Virginia, but I'd have to say it wasn't especially strong. I felt it was maybe burning a little hot (the outside of the bowl became hot quite quickly, but kind of stayed at that level - I didn't need to put it down during the smoke), so maybe some of the flavour was lost. Smoke was similar to Elizabethan Mixture - decent quantities, but not much body. Snork was fine - a little bit of a zing now and then, but not like the snork with a condiment tobacco. Once going, the bowl smoked all the way down with no dottle. Mild to medium nic hit. It was similar to the Elizabethan Mixture in that it was all upper midrange and treble - no earthy mellowness.

It's perhaps worth noting that the 50g came in what looks like a 100g tin (same round Dunhill tin, but twice as tall). I'm wondering if the extra air space has given it the chance to dry a bit more than it otherwise might have.

Would I buy another tin? I doubt it unless I was planning to use it in a home-brew blend. If anything, this and the Elizabethan Mixture have helped me to get a better idea of what sort of tobaccos I like. I hit on SLF, IF and Revor pretty early in my pipe smoking, and haven't really strayed much from that type of baccy (dark, earthy, mellow, maybe well aged). Unfortunately, in that same visit a couple of weeks ago, I got a tin of Navy Rolls as well, which looks to be another VaPer. It'll be interesting to see how it compares to Elizabethan Mixture, and to see whether I take to it more than EM and Flake (although I'm not terribly confident that I will).
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Listener666 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:43 am

Nomad wrote:Dunhill Flake

It's perhaps worth noting that the 50g came in what looks like a 100g tin (same round Dunhill tin, but twice as tall). I'm wondering if the extra air space has given it the chance to dry a bit more than it otherwise might have.
.


This has me wondering about a tin of Baker Street I bought last month. I had planned on opening it in the summer.....but it is the same double height tin and I don't want it drying out. Was it wrapped inside the tin or in a cellophane bag etc?
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:25 pm

Listener666 wrote:This has me wondering about a tin of Baker Street I bought last month. I had planned on opening it in the summer.....but it is the same double height tin and I don't want it drying out. Was it wrapped inside the tin or in a cellophane bag etc?


No, just in the normal paper liner with the card disc on top.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Listener666 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:07 pm

Nomad wrote:
Listener666 wrote:This has me wondering about a tin of Baker Street I bought last month. I had planned on opening it in the summer.....but it is the same double height tin and I don't want it drying out. Was it wrapped inside the tin or in a cellophane bag etc?


No, just in the normal paper liner with the card disc on top.


Thanks

Hmmmm.....I'm tempted to open it and jar it :roll: .....
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Geo3rge » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:31 pm

Great posts and excellent to read, chaps. I envy you the opportunities to sit and smoke for lengthy periods. I have to grab the odd moment here and there these days. But, lovely descriptions of the tobacco flavours and appearances and glad you’re enjoying your pipes.
My first impressions of HU Sunset Flake when I first bought it a few years ago were great. That grassy, hay-like aroma from small, dryish flakes was a good start. The flavour of sweet hay and almost caramel is clean and defined, smoke is buttery and creamy. It looked a good tobacco simply from the way it was packed, with a handmade feel to it (which, indeed it is) and I must say that it was an instant hit with me. I have a couple of tins left and I’m reserving these for the future.
Very much appreciate your contributions. Many thanks.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:43 pm

Dunhill Navy rolls

After the less than wonderful experience with Elizabethan Mixture, I was somewhat regretting having bought this at the same time, because Navy Rolls is another VaPer. On opening the tin, the aroma was quite balanced between the Virginias and Perique, perhaps with the Perique at the fore. I've come to the conclusion that Perique reminds me of fish food, incidentally - I kept tropical fish in my youth, and the Aquarian food I gave them had a particular aroma, and my immediate reaction on smelling Perique is 'Aquarian'. I notice this particularly with my jar of straight Perique blending tobacco, while it's a bit more subdued with Navy Rolls.

Anyway, like the Dunhill Flake, this also came in the larger 100g sized tin in spite of the fact that it was 50g of baccy. The tin description says, "Coin-cut flue-cured African and Perique tobacco" - straightforward, with no menu-esque, fine dining frills. The discs were quite thin and nicely shaped, with very little in the way of bits crumbling. Colouring was generally moderately dark with light flecks, and the tin note, as mentioned, was a pleasant balance between some grassiness from the Virginias and the fish food aroma from the Perique. Swapping between this and Elizabethan Mixture, I would say that Navy Rolls definitely leans more towards the Perique, and has a slightly stronger aroma overall. My impression was that it was more mellow in character - it made me think that it has some age on it, while Elizabethan is more like a freshly mixed blend.

Moisture content was spot on (Goldilocks, as Bradley at Stuff & Things would put it). Two coins rubbed out easily and I ended up with a fairly fine ribbon cut. Packing and lighting was straightforward, and the first few puffs echoed the tin note - it tasted like it smelled, and was very pleasant. As the bowl went on, I felt the flavour fell away somewhat (possibly because I was becoming distracted with a game of Mahjong Titans). Even so, that initial tastes-like-it-smells thing came back in some puffs. Snork was generally pretty mild - not much spiciness from the Perique, although it was evident at times. Overall, I would say that the flavour was somewhat mild compared to what I'm used to. A mild nic hit became evident towards the end of the bowl.

The overall flavour balance is still in the midrange and treble, but markedly more mellow than Elizabethan. I was surprised at how different two VaPers can be. Unlike Elizabethan, I enjoyed my first bowl of Navy Rolls. I find myself wondering if it has been aged before being tinned for retail, or perhaps the fact that it's a twist means that it has a better melding of the flavours compared to a blend of loose ribbon cuts. Not sure I'd rush out and buy another tin just yet, but I'm inclined to try a few more bowls and see what I think - compare with Elizabethan, where my inclination was to leave it in the jar for a few months to see if it improves with a bit of melding. While Navy Rolls is unlikely to be my go-to daily choice, I can see me dipping in now and then when I fancy a lighter smoke. There's a very pleasant basic flavour in this that I'd like to investigate more, perhaps in a different pipe, or maybe with a bit less distraction. One to come back to.
Last edited by Nomad on Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Geo3rge » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:41 am

Fine review and description of a tobacco I’ve yet to try.
All the elements you make reference to are important, aren’t they...tin/pouch aroma, bowl aroma, cut, basic ingredients and proportions, rubbed out or not, the changing tastes throughout the smoke and the nic hit etc. Interesting how much we expect/receive from a bowlful.
I’ve enjoyed reading this post and hope you can make further progress with this blend.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:06 pm

Geo3rge wrote:Fine review and description of a tobacco I’ve yet to try.
All the elements you make reference to are important, aren’t they...tin/pouch aroma, bowl aroma, cut, basic ingredients and proportions, rubbed out or not, the changing tastes throughout the smoke and the nic hit etc. Interesting how much we expect/receive from a bowlful.
I’ve enjoyed reading this post and hope you can make further progress with this blend.


I would say that it's definitely worth a puff if the general character is aligned with what you're into.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Nomad » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:17 pm

Warrior Plug

Seen many a review and favourable mention of this generally well-regarded plug, and decided to give it a try. My interest in this is to find something that I can carry about without being concerned about it drying out too quickly. I only occasionally have the inclination for a smoke when away from home, and had kinda given up because the various tobaccos I had tried would get smoked once and then forgotten about, only to be found ages later, rather dried up. A plug, by its nature, should dry much more slowly (far less surface area for volume than a ribbon or a flake).

My initial impression on opening the pouch was that there was some sort of sweetness in the aroma that I couldn't place. For a while, I wondered if there was a hint of chocolate, but I eventually came to the conclusion that it reminds me of vanilla - it's a bit like Mac Baren Vanilla Cream, but much more subdued. Overall, there's an earthy richness to it which combines nicely with the vanilla/whatever topping. The aroma isn't particularly strong, even when holding the block right under the nose.

The plug is dark brown with some light streaks running through it, and is very firm and dense - cutting this stuff up requires a sharp knife and a steady hand. I cut a couple of thin slices off the end with my Opinel No7 and rubbed it out. The texture was very similar to Irish Flake, both in terms of the firm but flexible slices, and when rubbing it out, which tends to result in fairly thick, firm, strands at first, which then require further rubbing and teasing apart to break it down. While doing this, the aroma gets a bit more noticeable (it was at this point that the vanilla association appeared).

I packed it into a Stonehaven Lovat mini pipe (the pipe I carry in my little clip-lid box when out and about), and found the draw was surprisingly free, to the extent that I had to pack it down a bit more firmly. Perhaps it needed yet more rubbing, or I should cut a third slice and accept the need for a firmer pack. It lit up fine, however, and I got on with puffing. It doesn't taste like it smells. If anything, it tends towards more savoury notes on top of the general earthiness and mellowness. Perhaps not quite as deep and smooth as Irish Flake, but leaning in that direction. In terms of frequency response, this seems to emphasise upper bass and lower mids, with the savoury notes coming in as upper mids. Snork was fine - not spicy, but I think the savoury aspects kept it lively enough to be interesting without feeling the need to give up half way through and exhale the rest through the mouth. Quite smokey with a medium body. I'd imagine it would be possible to produce voluminous clouds if desired.

The burn was a little curious. On the one hand, it seem to respond very well to the tamper - just as it felt like it was going out, a gentle tamp, and it would be puffing away again. On the other hand, I had trouble keeping it lit in the last third - I'd relight, get 4 or 5 puffs, feel that it was going out, and find that a quick tamp didn't bring it back up and I'd have to relight again. Bowl temperature was average -the little Stonehaven pipe has quite thin walls and can get quite hot, and I was just able to hold onto it. Methinks I need to adjust the preparation a little - perhaps give a little time to dry after rubbing out (although the pinch test seemed okay with this first bowl), and possibly rub it out even more. This might allow me to slow the cadence a little as well, which should help it burn a bit cooler. It was quite a slow smoke in spite of my moderately brisk cadence - the little Stonehaven is good for 20-30 minutes, normally, but seemed to last much longer with this. No gurgle, and the pipe cleaner came out stained, but pretty-much dry.

There was a noticeable nic hit just after finishing the bowl. I would class this as fairly strong, and that was after a good feed a couple of hours previously. Those that are more susceptible to Lady N may want to tread carefully with this baccy - it's comfortably into velvet hammer territory.

An interesting tobacco, and certainly a candidate for my little carry-about box. The denseness of the plug leaves me feeling that its drying rate will be pretty slow. I'll cut a lump off and put it into a little resealable bag to further limit the loss of moisture in the box (which itself is sealed). The flavour balance is fine - it's at the earthy and mellow end of the scale, which suits me, although it's not as complex or tasty as Special Latakia Flake, or quite as full-on serious dark tobacco taste as Irish Flake. Perhaps the savoury aspects (slight harshness?) will reduce a bit with adjusted preparation and cadence.
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John Patton: Dark Horse update

Postby Listener666 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:30 am

John Patton: Dark Horse update

Well........I have smoked another few bowls in "trusted" briars. The taste is a little more pronounced and i have started to think this is an "all day" blend. I usually enjoy the last half of the bowl the most. Its quite mellow and keeps me thinking, I would need to smoke this 2 or 3 times everyday to fully understand it......and I'm afraid it's not going to happen :lol:

I usually only smoke a bowl once or twice a day and this baccy leaves me wanting a little more every time. I quite like the flavour .....but need more of it!

A little disappointing.....reminds me of when i tried Riverboat Gambler.....all the boxes ticked but.....just not right for me!
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