Mystery Tobacco Review March/April

Mystery Tobacco Review March/April 2018

Mystery Tobacco 3 pic 1

Why smoke and review pipe tobacco not knowing its components or who produced it?  So, we can provide you, the audience, with an objective perspective on a product easily influenced by a few big voices in a small hobby.  Yes, whether or not you want to accept it, you are a human being, whose interests and perceptions are influenced (like it or not) by the feelings, opinions, and ideas of others.  The purpose of the Mystery Tobacco review segment is not to eliminate these influences, rather, it’s an attempt to neutralize outside commercial influences that harbor unintentional effects on us as consumers/hobbyist. Also, it’s a fun thing to do!

Although we missed a month, we are back with the March/April Mystery Review. The three panelists were given samples of this month’s tobacco with no identifying information and asked to smoke a few bowls and provide their perspective.  Let’s see how this month’s blend measured up to the pipe smoking panelist.

 

On to the review…

 

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From the Tin

Derek: Fine ribbon cut. Natural sweet aroma with a little musty funk.

Corey: The smokiness of the Latakia really stands out as you open the bag and smell the blend. After the initial hit of smokiness, the spiciness of Orientals comes out with a sense of that old-time type smell…of old books and papers spread out on an old, fragrant cedar desk.  The tobacco is finely cut into ribbon pieces, a shag type cut in the old style; reminiscent of the Esoterica cuts.  In fact, this tobacco makes me think Margate!

Kyle: This shag cut is not very appealing to the eye.  My bag/sample is very dry (I hope the others weren’t sent out this dry…).  I smell from the ‘tin’ shows strong hints of both Latakia and faint Oriental notes.  I cannot detect any type of topping or added flavoring, however, as I stated, the tobacco is very dry.  The blend is a mix of both dark black leaf and faint pieces of light brown Virginias.

Tasting Notes

Derek: Packs and lights well. A nice light sweetness is present. I notice some smokiness from a little touch of Latakia. To me, the main flavor is the Oriental. Orientals always bring a “funky” flavor. Married well with the other components for a mild to medium strength blend.

Corey: The initial light ignites the Latakia smokiness and creaminess…it starts off slowly and unassuming.  This is a strong tobacco, strong flavor, full aroma, strong room note that will definitely chase those away that don’t like pipe smoke and will stink up a room. The flavor is great, especially for those who enjoy Latakia, but that’s not all it offers. There comes a spiciness, presumed from Orientals that come into play and create a rich, deep, yet creamy flavor, a type of creosote flavor, which I mean in a positive sense. All of this must be softened by a bit of Virginias, which may also add to the creaminess, pulling any harshness from the Orientals out, so it does have a good balance.

Kyle: The tobacco packs well but burned a little hot in all three bowls I smoked.  There is a pleasant room note that has a musty, old cologne reminisce to it.  I am not sure a non-smoker would care for the smell; however, I didn’t mind it.  The tastes were somewhat bland and ill defined.  I could easily identify a burnt/charred meat tastes and was occasionally entertained by a woody sweat undertone, but other than that, the tasting notes of the smoke didn’t do much for me.  The tobacco was easily medium bodied throughout with a noticeable, but not overpowering, nicotine hit.  The bowl burned down to a nice white ash leaving very little dottle.

Overall Impression

Derek: This is good. It’s like a nice mild Balkan blend. Reminds me of Early Morning Pipe. An all-day blend. I would buy this.

Corey: This tobacco is blended craftily, the cut works and packs well–like old style. The tobacco performs well all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. Smokes perfectly with lots of flavor and aroma, strong and somewhat complex, a good smoky Latakia blend that isn’t too overdone or overpowering. Well worth trying, purchasing, and cellaring especially.

Kyle: Overall, this tobacco was good but far from great.  I am willing to bet the dryness of the tobacco inhibited it from fully performing as it should.  I am not disappointed in the tobacco but would not reach for it again with so many other great Latakia/Oriental choices on the market (if those are actually components of the blend…).  Glad I smoked it but would not purchase again.

Individual Scores:

Derek (4 Pipes)

4 Pipes

Corey (5 Pipes)

5 Pipes

Kyle (3 Pipes)

3 Pipes

Now that we have established our thoughts and scores, it’s time to reveal the tobacco.  The Mystery Tobacco for March/April 2018 is:

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Esoterica Pembroke (2012)

Info & Overview

Brand: Esoterica Tobacciana

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia

Flavorings: Alcohol/Liquor

Cut Type: Shag

Available Packaging: 2oz tin

Price: $15.25 USD

There are several questions that come to mind now that I know the brand and age of this tobacco.  Question 1. Does aging tobacco really make it better?  At least for me, this blend was nothing overly special.  It is said that Virginias age much better than any other type of tobacco. With this blend being primarily Latakia/Oriental, I’m not sure six years of age has done anything to improve the tobacco.  In fact, for me (not the other reviewers), it only mellowed the tobacco to the point of bland.  Question 2. There is always a lot of hype around Esoterica blends.  However, is it the actual tobacco/blend they seek or the excitement of the hunt and find of this rare, frequently unavailable, brand (blend vs. brand)?  I suppose more investigation is needed to answer both of these questions and I happily volunteer to be the one to conduct the study!

Thanks again for taking the time to visit The Pipe Professor webpage.  I hope you have enjoyed reading this Mystery Tobacco review and stay tuned for more reviews, news, and general pipe smoking related content.  Until next time, cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Mystery Tobacco Review #2

Mystery Tobacco Review #2

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With the first Mystery Tobacco Review segment being such a hit, we decided to continue on with this column and hope you enjoy these objective evaluations on various pipe tobacco blends for months to come.  For more information about the Mystery Tobacco Review project, please read the first Mystery Tobacco Review here.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the January 2018 mystery blend.  Similar to last month, the same three reviewers have graciously devoted their time and energy into smoking sample #2.  Enjoy!

On to the review…

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From the Tin

Derek: Nice fine ribbon cut. Reminds me of Dunhill.  The tobacco is dry, but that is on me for not storing it correctly.  The aroma is unmistakably English. Not a lot of Latakia.

Corey: The aroma is sweetness from Virginias, but also some savory notes from either burley or dark-fired Kentucky or perhaps both.  Typical ribbon cut that is bright with just a few darker pieces of tobacco, it is possible that the darker leaves are Latakia (making it a light English-style blend), but my guess would be more toward the dark-fired Kentucky as it smoked more like a VaBur and seem to fit that flavor profile.

Kyle: Beautiful looking in the bag with lots of light and medium brown tobacco pieces.  From the smell and sporadic pieces of dark leaf I am guessing this blend contains Latakia and could very well be an English blend.  The ribbon cut is very nicely done, however, I found two thick stem pieces in my sampler bag and the tobacco is a little drier than I typically like to smoke.  Aroma from the bag was a light smokiness, dry spice, and nuttiness (there very well could be some burly present in this blend).

Tasting Notes

Derek: The moisture level and cut make this tobacco easy to pack and light.  My first impression is that this tobacco is a mild English blend.  There is a natural sweetness.  Very pleasant.  Very little smokiness from Latakia.  I can taste a good bit of Orientals in this blend.  As I smoke through the bowl, the Oriental “funk” turns into a fragrant spice.  No bite, no overheating.  The sweetness lasts throughout.

Corey: Lit well and took the char light perfectly…the tobacco wasn’t too moist, it was on the dryer side because I had left the pouch out too long before I got back to smoke it that day. But it didn’t seem too moist or dry before.  Room note was full of sweetness and a savory undertone like leather…and a slight bit of steak sauce. Burned all the way down perfectly with no relights needed, producing a good amount of smoke plume. Tasted just like it smelled, a mixture of sweetness with a delicious, savory flavor that just subtly teased the taste buds. The flavors weren’t too overpowering or strong, would call it a medium strength tobacco with just the right amount of flavor. Really enjoyed smoking this tobacco, no fuss, no tongue bite, no bitterness, and no bad aftertaste in the mouth.

Kyle: The sample packed well and lit well and generally performed nicely throughout the smoking experience.  I noted tastes of spice (on the initial charring lights), a dry grassy hay, and an ash/charcoal tastes while smoking.  Overall, each bowl was consistent but just dry and bland.  Aroma was of a smoky campfire leading me to believe this blend to be an English of sorts.  Strength and body were mild to medium.

Overall Impression

Derek: It is an interesting blend.  The Orientals seemed to take over in the second half of the bowl.  Despite being dry, it did not smoke too fast or get too hot.  This may become my preferred way to enjoy tobacco.  I enjoyed the sweetness and mild flavors that built up throughout the smoke.  I can see myself enjoying this one in the future.

Corey: I would certainly recommend this blend and purchase it myself.  It was an easy tobacco to smoke…didn’t take too much fuss or thinking, just performed well. I really think this blend would do well with cellaring as it already had that sense of blended flavors that a good cellared tobacco should have.

Kyle: Overall, this tobacco wasn’t bad, but wasn’t good either.  It was just kind of there.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who would enjoy this smoke but the combination of Latakia and Burley’s (if there are any) in this blend just didn’t do it for me.  I would say pass on this blend.  I don’t think I will be purchasing any in the near future.

Individual Scores

Derek (4 Pipes)

4 Pipes

Corey (4 Pipes)

4 Pipes

Kyle (2 Pipes)

2 Pipes

Now that we have established our thoughts and scores, it’s time to reveal the tobacco.

Mystery Tobacco #2 is:

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Cornell & Diehl Father the Flame (2017)

 Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Burley, Latakia, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2oz tin

Price: $10.63 USD

Well that does it for this month’s Mystery Tobacco Review.  I suppose I was the odd man out on this blind review, however, hope you have enjoyed the thoughts and opinions presented.  As always, feel free to leave questions and comments below and thanks again to both Derek and Corey for their time and expertise.  Until next time, cheers!

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Mystery Tobacco Review #1

Mystery Tobacco Review #1

Mystery Tobacco Review 1 Picture #1

Too often, our thoughts and feelings as consumers are unintentionally influenced by the opinions of others.  While at other times, we intentionally seek others’ insights in order to be influenced one way or another.  Not that I want to downplay individuals’ opinions, as I feel both experience and wisdom are crucially underappreciated in our current society, however, it is sometimes refreshing to get an objective perspective from others who don’t have a moral obligation to sell a product, or focus on personal gain to push an independent agenda.

The purpose of the mystery tobacco review experiment is to provide you, the audience and consumer, with unaltered opinions/thoughts on tobaccos currently available on the market.  The review team has no idea what each blend is, as samples were received in baggies marked only with a month and number.

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Reviewers were provided enough tobacco in each sample to smoke several bowls before making judgements on the tobacco and each reviewer was asked to summarize their experience under the following headings:

  • Tin/Bag Aroma
  • Tobacco’s Visual Appearance
  • Initial Impressions (charring light and opening of bowl)
  • Smoking Experience (room note, tobacco performance, tastes, enjoyment, etc.)
  • Overall Impressions

The mystery tobacco reviewer panel consists of four individuals including myself.  Special thanks for Corey (The Portland Pipe Smoker), Derek Tant, and Jake Lee for their participation in the mystery tobacco reviews.  For those who are part of the YouTube Pipe Community (YTPC), information on both Corey and Derek’s YouTube channels can be found below.

Corey’s YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvRujbnDAsGM1K728pU7Skg

Derek’s YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCegGd4X2Dm4Swc4r2kmWCNw

For those who listen to The Pipe Professor podcast, you will note Jake Lee to be my current partner and crime on the show.  For more information on The Pipe Professor podcast please visit iTunes or stay tuned here at The Pipe Professor website for the bi-weekly posting of new episodes.

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin

Derek: I am looking at simple ribbon cut tobacco with the occasional chunky piece. The moisture content betrays its aromatic origins. Spongy, but not goopy. Nice. The tin note is fruity and sweet. Not natural, but not bad either.

Corey: Very pleasant aromatic aroma, not too overpowering or chemically, very sweet berry aroma with a bit of vanilla.  Fairly typical looking with the cut, but on the darker side.  Looks to be Cavendish with perhaps some red Virginias and/or burleys, a coarse ribbon cut. Felt a bit moist to the touch but burned really well and didn’t get too moist through the smoke.

Kyle: This nice dark ribbon cut tobacco is without a doubt an aromatic.  Lots of black Cavendish mixed with Virginias and possibly some Burleys.  The tobacco is pretty wet and will require some drying time.  Aroma from the tin/bag has fruity notes, hints of syrup/molasses, and a light vanilla fragrance.

 

Tasting Notes

Derek: The ribbon packs easily and takes to the flame with similar ease. This tobacco is well-behaved. As I smoke, the bowl stays lit and burns down quite nicely to the mythical “fine, white ash” with very few relights. No tongue bite, either. Those are the strengths of this tobacco.  Unfortunately, I am barely able to taste anything. I feel like I can somewhat tease out a berry note. It seems like quality tobacco at the base, but the flavor disappears quickly, and an artificial note pokes its head in occasionally. No tongue bite, but no flavor either. Towards the end of the bowl, the flavor grows ashy, but I am 90% through it anyway.

Corey: Lit really well, was surprised, because it seemed a bit moist…but that didn’t seem to matter, performed well.  Started out really smooth for the first third of the bowl…very fruity and berry-like but not too distracting, with a good creaminess in the background to keep it rounded out. Also, I noted that there might be burleys in this blend, because in the 2nd third of the bowl, I could detect some nuttiness in the background with the creamy taste I found earlier. No tongue bite or harshness, but I could tell that if you pushed it too hard at the last part of the bowl, it could get a little bitter…but didn’t for me.

Kyle: I allowed this blend to dry for 15 minutes before loading my pipe each time.  Tobacco burned well and produced a nice grey ash.  Aroma had notes of sweet cream and nutmeg.  It reminded me of the whipped froth on a latte.  Tastes were difficult to pinpoint.  I noted very faint nutty notes and mild fig.  No spice at all.  Tobacco wanted to burn hot making me slow my cadence a little less than I like.  Tobacco became less than desirable near the end of the bowl with a wet mossy tastes appearing when smoked in a briar.  Tobacco produced lots of thick white smoke.

 

Overall Impression

Derek: Overall, I am conflicted. The tobacco behaves wonderfully but doesn’t have much flavor. Tried it in a meerschaum and a cob. Fared better in the meerschaum. It puts a lot of moisture in the pipe, but still burns well. I wouldn’t age it and I wouldn’t really consider buying it. Happy to smoke it, though. It’s just okay.

Corey: A good quality aromatic that burns well, has good flavor and aroma but is not too overpowering or goopy and allows the natural taste of the tobaccos to come through. I wouldn’t call it a great blend as it also doesn’t have anything that causes it to stand out in tobacco leaves used or out of the ordinary aromas or flavors, just a good, straight fruity aromatic that performs well.

Kyle: I was able to smoke three small bowls of the sample, one in a cob, one in a meerschaum, and one in a briar.  Out of the three I most enjoyed this blend in a meerschaum.  The tobacco had a really nice room note but lacked in taste and complexity.  I’m glad I was able to smoke this tobacco, however, unless it’s an absolute steal of a price, I don’t think I would purchase it again in the future.

 

Individual Scores

Derek (2 ½ Pipes)

2 Pipes

Corey (3 Pipes)

3 Pipes

Kyle (3 Pipes)

3 Pipes

Now that we have established our thoughts and scores, it’s time to reveal the tobacco.  Mystery Tobacco #1 is:

Mystery Tobacco Review 1 Picture #3

L.J. Peretti’s Yuletide (2015)

I hope you have enjoyed this first Mystery Tobacco review here at The Pipe Professor website.  Stay tuned for future Mystery Tobacco reviews along with other great pipe and tobacco related content.  Thanks again to the review panel and cheers to all.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature