My Top Three Tobaccos
Well, at least, for the moment!
I don’t often do, nor do I read, tobacco reviews. This is mainly because of the simple fact, that what I find very nice will be absolutely awful to others and vice versa. Tastes differ and eventually change with time and experience. And my palate is no exception to that rule. I started out, as do many others, smoking aromatic tobaccos. I was very fond of W.Ø.Larsens no. 50 at one point. I loved the stuff, much to the distaste, or was that disgust (?) of my fellow pipesters at my club. It tasted and smelled of vanilla and caramel.
All that changed when a friend from the USA came to Denmark and presented me with a half pound of fresh Virginia tobacco. He happens to live close to a tobacco plantation in the Sovereign State of Virginia and this stuff came straight from the barn. Rough cut and ready rubbed, it was absolutely delightful and my horizons were immediately opened to the world of Virginian tobacco. I dabbled a bit with various latakia mixtures but had to admit in the end, I’m a Virginia kind of guy! I no longer smoke aromatics and the latakia has been laid to the back of the shelf of my tobacco assortment. Needless to say, my wife is pleased by that singular development and doesn’t miss the latakia smell in the living room, even though she never complained. Bless her.
I have discovered that Virginia is not only the sweetest of tobaccos due to its high sugar content, but also that it can vary greatly in strength. Both flavour and nicotine content can also vary and I’m pretty sure that treatment of the tobacco has its own influence. After a good deal of experiment in the past two or three years, I have now settled for these three.
All three are from Poul Olsens “My Own Blend”, which is now a subsidiary of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group. See, even though they can’t advertise here because Nanny State won’t allow it, I can give ‘em a write up if I so please. Damn the anti-smoking brigade.
These three Virginia flakes vary in taste and strength. The strongest taste is definitely the Vintage Flake and I must admit, I can’t have it in a large bowl. It overpowers me. Which makes me wonder, if it doesn’t also have the highest nicotine content. Sweet as a nut and very satisfying. I can’t take this one late in the evening. I lie awake all night if I do!
No. 43 has a reputation for being the heaviest tobacco, nicotine wise, but I find it to be mellow in the pipe and makes for a great all day smoking tobacco. It gathers sweetness as it progresses down the bowl but I have to be careful not to go at it with too much gusto. Smoked slowly, it’s a sweetheart but it can give a nasty bout of hiccups if one sets the cadence up!
No. 42. Ah, what can I say? Sweet, mellow all the way and almost as satisfying a smoke as you will find anywhere. Lighter in both colour and taste than 43 and a little less nicotine content. A perfect evening tobacco and the one I go to in the mornings. Truly, a go anywhere tobacco that never disappoints me.
Here’s a point. I don’t have much luck smoking flakes as flakes. I rub them out. Occasionally I will attempt to fold a flake and smoke it in one of my conically bored, thin walled pipes but I find it doesn’t burn as well and I have to work harder to keep it alive. Many believe that the tobacco has a different taste when smoked as a flake compared to it being rubbed out. If so, my particular palate cannot perceive this.
Horses for courses, I suppose. And like old horses, I know how I like my hay!
(The pipe in the picture? It’s a Mastro de Paja.)