Blind Sample Reviews

millarddj

Perpetual whippersnapper
Patron
Blind Sample #3 from @millarddj

First off, I apologize for my tardiness in posting this review. The past week or so has proven to be one of the most chaotic in recent memory. Anywho,

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Appearance: The cut is…odd, it features bits of very disparate color and shape, even bits of flake. A pretty broad spectrum of blonde to dark brown bits.

Bag Note: Potourri, blueberrys and a certain mustiness.

Initial Impressions: The top note is distinct and a bit unusual, reminds me of something lakelandy. Because the cut contains bits of flake and random ribbons it seems like a blend either produced from finished components, or a rubbed out flake or plug. Intriguing.



Smoking:

First bowl in an Alex Hasty Pot

Immediate notes are sour/savory, incense, roasted veggies, champhor, creosote. Mostly latakia things. Whatever the topping is was almost completely absent, covered up by that sour savoriness. Though occasionally on the finish and sometimes on the retrohale I could get some floral and a slight alcohol perhaps. This reminds me a little bit of Esoterica Pembroke, but not quite. The finish also has a tiny bit of caramel sweetness.

After another morning and a relight this blend is starting to hit its stride for me. The smoke has backed off just enough to allow some other flavors to play. I'm getting some fresh baked whole wheat bread and menthol and every once in a while a sweeter, fruitier flavor that I'm guessing is whatever the topping was. It strikes as something tart and alcoholic, like wine or brandy? The earth and smoke is present that whole time but also balanced by that slight juicy fruit and sweetness in the finish.

The last part of the bowl tasted like a decent medium english blend. Good mix of sour, sweet, salty. Creamy smooth, no spice in mouth, no notable nicotine for me. This blend is a little unusual in that it gets more balanced as it goes down and it tastes better as it burns hotter.



Second bowl in a Meer Taster pipe

Left this one a little more moist.

WOW, 180 degree difference from the first bowl. This is immediately soft, creamy, fruity with a little bit of funk and savory underneath and just the barest whisp of smoke. Potpurri and blueberry. The fruity, musty finish lasts a long time and is very enjoyable.

The second half of the bowl is even sweeter and foodier. Fruit loops, graham cracker, minty, toasted marshmallow. Some rich fermented autumnal notes at times. Totally different than the first bowl but still enough of a sour savory character in the aftertaste to make me think of some kind of oriental base, but maybe not.

The end of this bowl was a little bit spicy right at the end, but in a throat catchy way. So that points maybe to burley or dark fired perhaps? Huh. A very enjoyable bowl though. Easy to smoke and quite complex and tasty.

Conclusions:

This one broke my brain a little bit. If I was to guess what this blend is based on bowl number 1, I would say that this is a pretty decent medium English blend with a floofy topping of some kind and perhaps a bit of burley. If I was guessing based on the second blend I would say that it’s a more traditional burley and Virginia blend with a pretty big powerful topping. It does fit some descriptions that I've heard of things like Peterson's Perfect Plug, but the smell coming out of the bag is so lakelandy that it's hard to ignore. So....I'm guessing that this was a flake or a plug that was rubbed out and that its from the UK and contains some kind of smoked tobacoo but I'm not confident even in that. So, put my out of my misery, what is it?
Sorry for the wait!

This was fun to read and watch you scratch your head over. I likewise find this blend a little bit of a chameleon, depending upon bowl shape and size, moisture, and packing method.

Your second bowl had you on the right track - a topped blend of VA and burley, along with supporting Latakia (and black Cavendish). This is none other than the relatively affordable, ready - rubbed Mac Baren Plumcake.
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
Sorry for the wait!

This was fun to read and watch you scratch your head over. I likewise find this blend a little bit of a chameleon, depending upon bowl shape and size, moisture, and packing method.

Your second bowl had you on the right track - a topped blend of VA and burley, along with supporting Latakia (and black Cavendish). This is none other than the relatively affordable, ready - rubbed Mac Baren Plumcake.
:appl:
 

Adam Bybee

Well-known member
Sales
Sorry for the wait!

This was fun to read and watch you scratch your head over. I likewise find this blend a little bit of a chameleon, depending upon bowl shape and size, moisture, and packing method.

Your second bowl had you on the right track - a topped blend of VA and burley, along with supporting Latakia (and black Cavendish). This is none other than the relatively affordable, ready - rubbed Mac Baren Plumcake.
Ohhhh, that makes sense. I've never tried Plumcake before. I'm really glad there was some Latakia in it because I thought I was going crazy for a while there.
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
Still puffing away on Sample No. 1 from @Ozark Wizard. :puffy:

At this point I'd be willing to take a guess, but I am going to smoke a bit more of this before I do.
I just had another go at Sample numero dos. This stuff really hits me! Maybe it's the heat as I smoke outside, but brother! It leads me to believe that it may be topped with liquid nicotine!

So, after a few small bowls after trying one large one first, I'm feeling like I'm getting a handle on the blend. I'm getting Virginia at first, but I detect Burley or Kentucky influence. It starts sweet(ish), but that seems to fade into a nice balance of dark fired and flu cured leaf. There could be some Perique, but the strength might just come from the dark fired. I also got some light floral notes initially, which makes me think it's a GH&Co. blend. Dark Birdseye came to mind, but the cut is wrong and hey, no Birdseye! North Star has some punch, but again it didn't look right and the bag note was more wood, leather and dark tobacco.

The cut seems to be more along the lines of C&D. I'm not well versed in their stuff, and what I've had does have this type of Virginia/Burley dance going on. But it's not rough enough around the edges for what I'm familiar with. Maybe it's a Pease blend? I did say it seemed topped with liquid nicotine....

So. Virginia, Kentucky and high strength. Vaguely sweet. Ugh.... I'm not great with Pease blends either, I've tried plenty and Montgomery is probably my favourite. I think I have one sealed two ounce tin and a small jar of it somewhere... So, not a prominent feature in my cellar...

I'm going to guess it's Cumberland, by Pease. Now watch it be Sansapolcro or a Sutliff blend.....
 

DrumsAndBeer

Well-known member
I just had another go at Sample numero dos. This stuff really hits me! Maybe it's the heat as I smoke outside, but brother! It leads me to believe that it may be topped with liquid nicotine!

So, after a few small bowls after trying one large one first, I'm feeling like I'm getting a handle on the blend. I'm getting Virginia at first, but I detect Burley or Kentucky influence. It starts sweet(ish), but that seems to fade into a nice balance of dark fired and flu cured leaf. There could be some Perique, but the strength might just come from the dark fired. I also got some light floral notes initially, which makes me think it's a GH&Co. blend. Dark Birdseye came to mind, but the cut is wrong and hey, no Birdseye! North Star has some punch, but again it didn't look right and the bag note was more wood, leather and dark tobacco.

The cut seems to be more along the lines of C&D. I'm not well versed in their stuff, and what I've had does have this type of Virginia/Burley dance going on. But it's not rough enough around the edges for what I'm familiar with. Maybe it's a Pease blend? I did say it seemed topped with liquid nicotine....

So. Virginia, Kentucky and high strength. Vaguely sweet. Ugh.... I'm not great with Pease blends either, I've tried plenty and Montgomery is probably my favourite. I think I have one sealed two ounce tin and a small jar of it somewhere... So, not a prominent feature in my cellar...

I'm going to guess it's Cumberland, by Pease. Now watch it be Sansapolcro or a Sutliff blend.....
Blind Sample 2 is some aged (8 years or so) and darkened down Peterson's Irish Oak.

And yes, I completely agree with you, it's got a wicked kick to it. Also the bizarre sherry topping gives hints of floral notes that are somewhat in the range of side stream high notes that one might experience in certain Kendal blends, apparently it is also flavored with citronella to keep the bugs away. I think it's the African tobacco in it that carries the strength, or I guess it could be the Thailand burley. Anyway, this particular blend always challenged me in the strength department, and I smoke plenty of tobaccos that are on average considered to be strong.
 
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Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
Citronella?:appl:

Wow. That was a tough one. A Peterson blend, eh? Well, I'll say this. I won't do that again. It was just a bit much for me. The floral note was pretty apparent, but in no way Lakeland esque. That's what made me entertain the idea of Sansapolcro, because I get that light floral taste from it as well.

Good show! Thanks for the experience!:thumb-yello:
 

DrumsAndBeer

Well-known member
Citronella?:appl:

Wow. That was a tough one. A Peterson blend, eh? Well, I'll say this. I won't do that again. It was just a bit much for me. The floral note was pretty apparent, but in no way Lakeland esque. That's what made me entertain the idea of Sansapolcro, because I get that light floral taste from it as well.

Good show! Thanks for the experience!:thumb-yello:
You bet!

From what I have read, pipers seem to think that Irish Flake is Peterson's strongest offering, but I think Irish Oak has more in the nicotine creep department. It's deceptively strong.

Anyway, I was very interested to get your opinion on it.

Btw, TR.com reviewer strongirish rates the strength as "very mild." Go figure...
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
You bet!

From what I have read, pipers seem to think that Irish Flake is Peterson's strongest offering, but I think Irish Oak has more in the nicotine creep department. It's deceptively strong.

Anyway, I was very interested to get your opinion on it.

Btw, TR.com reviewer strongirish rates the strength as "very mild." Go figure...
It is indeed a creeper. I was having a good time with it in a MM Country Gentleman until I got a hair past halfway and had to set it down. The rush persisted until I had to sit down myself. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Mac Barren ODF and Bold Kentucky flavourwise.
 

DrumsAndBeer

Well-known member
Blind Sample Review, Sample #1: from @Ozark Wizard

Presentation & Pouch Note: A fairly thin cut, moderately moist blend of long ribbons mixed with smaller bits of tobacco. The pouch note is that of a well matured tobacco. It’s a dark, sweet aroma reminiscent of cocoa and raisins. The aroma seems familiar but it’s not distinct enough to pin on one particular blend, although it does remind me of a tobacco scent from one specific blender.

One of the main challenges of doing a blind sample review is making a “best guess” visual assessment of what tobacco types a certain blend is comprised of. As far a color is concerned, this sample is a mixture of light and medium browns with a bit of thick dark leaf splashed in but not enough to provide much contrast. I suppose it’s possible that the dark leaf could be perique but after burning a few individual strands and inhaling the aroma, I actually think it’s a dark-stoved Virginia, as the scent is more woodsy sweet than it is stingy and fermented.

Tasting Notes & Review: I smoked this blend in two pipes, both of which have an average bowl that you would find on most group 3-4 sized billiards. In both pipes this was an excellent smoke and the experience from one pipe to the other was practically identical, and very consistent. From start to finish, the flavors were well balanced and the overall tone was on the sweet side. There was a subtle spicy quality to the flavor with a light cinnamon-like note in the side stream. On the palate, the smoke had a delicate effervescent quality to it which was quite enjoyable, and at a slow sip this was an easy blend for me to dig me heels into. After putting this one through its paces, I am thinking that there is a bit of air cured in the Virginia base which is seasoned with a dark stoved Virginia.

Conclusion: We all know that our resident Wizard is a capable blender in his own rights and I would not at all be shocked if this was one of his own blends. But I don’t think it is. In my small sample alone, I removed 2-3 long thin stems which is something that I believe most home blenders, especially one as meticulous as Bob, would likely remove from a home spun batch.

Aesthetically from the cut to the aroma, all the way to the stems, this mixture smacks of Germain manufacture. My guess would be Esoterica Tilbury?
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
Blind Sample Review, Sample #1: from @Ozark Wizard

Presentation & Pouch Note: A fairly thin cut, moderately moist blend of long ribbons mixed with smaller bits of tobacco. The pouch note is that of a well matured tobacco. It’s a dark, sweet aroma reminiscent of cocoa and raisins. The aroma seems familiar but it’s not distinct enough to pin on one particular blend, although it does remind me of a tobacco scent from one specific blender.

One of the main challenges of doing a blind sample review is making a “best guess” visual assessment of what tobacco types a certain blend is comprised of. As far a color is concerned, this sample is a mixture of light and medium browns with a bit of thick dark leaf splashed in but not enough to provide much contrast. I suppose it’s possible that the dark leaf could be perique but after burning a few individual strands and inhaling the aroma, I actually think it’s a dark-stoved Virginia, as the scent is more woodsy sweet than it is stingy and fermented.

Tasting Notes & Review: I smoked this blend in two pipes, both of which have an average bowl that you would find on most group 3-4 sized billiards. In both pipes this was an excellent smoke and the experience from one pipe to the other was practically identical, and very consistent. From start to finish, the flavors were well balanced and the overall tone was on the sweet side. There was a subtle spicy quality to the flavor with a light cinnamon-like note in the side stream. On the palate, the smoke had a delicate effervescent quality to it which was quite enjoyable, and at a slow sip this was an easy blend for me to dig me heels into. After putting this one through its paces, I am thinking that there is a bit of air cured in the Virginia base which is seasoned with a dark stoved Virginia.

Conclusion: We all know that our resident Wizard is a capable blender in his own rights and I would not at all be shocked if this was one of his own blends. But I don’t think it is. In my small sample alone, I removed 2-3 long thin stems which is something that I believe most home blenders, especially one as meticulous as Bob, would likely remove from a home spun batch.

Aesthetically from the cut to the aroma, all the way to the stems, this mixture smacks of Germain manufacture. My guess would be Esoterica Tilbury?
My goodness! Your reviews are so nicely organized and succinct! A pleasure to read:appl:especially the part on how I am about making clean blends. No stem no seeds that you don't need!:thumb-yello:

I thought you'd figure this one out, but as the cut had changed recently it's not quite the same. Sample numero Uno is Two Friends Redwood. (A C&D production) I believe it was from a tin made in February this year, no no real appreciable age to it. I did remove it from the tin upon arrival and jarred it so I could whittle on it without it drying out over time.
 

DrumsAndBeer

Well-known member
Holy cow.

I smoked and reviewed Redwood last year and it was rough! I couldn’t take it. Goes to show you age does wonders to tobacco even a few months, I think decanting helps a lot too.

C&D would explain why I got the subtle burley vibe from a VA that doesn’t contain it. The pouch note reminded me of a Germain mixture, seriously. That soft sweet fermented aroma, with no sharpness kind of chocolate like. Anyway, I enjoyed smoking it. Perhaps I gave up on the blend too soon....
 

Adam Bybee

Well-known member
Sales
Blind Sample #4 from

Appearance: A pretty broad, variegated cut with some large looking chunks of leaf ranging from very light blond to darker browns.

Bag Note: Big blast of sweet fruitiness

Initial Impressions: Based on look and smell, this is decidedly an aromatic blend. Unless my smeller is sorely mistaken, this is peach flavored.

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Smoking:

First bowl in an MM Legend

Fairly thoroughly dried

Immediately fruity and creamy with just a little bit of nuttiness underneath and some almost coconut-like cooling spice perhaps. The finish is a little bit chalky and PGish, but not bad or distracting.

I will say though, even when significantly dried out it still tastes pretty intensely like peaches

Towards the end of the bowl there were a few puffs here and there that tasted acrid and bitey, but again, not distractingly so.

Second Bowl in baby blowfish

Much more flavor from it this time, at least variety wise. The peachy fruit is still the salient flavor but it's more supported by vanilla and baked goods and some deeper brandy-like notes.

Later on the in bowl some toasted marshmallow and chocolate shows up in flashes.

The extra flavors in here might be colored by the fact that the last few bowls to go through this pipe before this one were some very nice Esoterica Virginias, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Conclusions:

This is a pretty nicely burning, well flavored peach aromatic. Not mind boggling in any sense but tasty and natural enough as far as aromatics goes. The blend itself was not super sticky nor did I have any issues with moisture in the bowl. There are a number of peach aromatics on the market, most of which I haven’t tried (none that I can think of, actually). Based on the appearance of the blend and some of the other interesting flavors going on, I’m going to guess that this was Briarworks Peach Cobbler.
 
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