Blind Sample Reviews

Spillproof

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sales
Blind Sample #3 from @Thelonious monkfish


As stated in my "initial thoughts" posts above I knew this was a McClelland flake the moment I saw it. A quick whiff told me there was an ample amount of perique included and I probably wrinkled my nose, and furrowed my brow. I LOVE McCelland Va's but I never really bonded with any of their VaPers. I think the only tin of a McClelland VaPer Flake that I have was gifted to me, and coincidentally I believe it's this blend. But more on that later.

Notes:
Well it's a VaPer.
Not OBVIOUSLY Red Va's. Yellows for sure.
Very funky/floral bassnote
I think this is pretty well aged
Not particularly sweet- heady amount of perique
Bready/yeasty
Earthy
Brown Va's - cigar notes.
Smoked BBQ
Figgy
Butterscotch and maple in the sweet notes
Fennel
Green Tomato
"Lakeland" whisps (queer in the English sense)
Like a green smoothie with a handful of peppers
I don't like this very much

So what is it?
Well it's not Beacon or Beacon Extra.
I asked DannO and Sasquatch and they both said those have a straightforward McClelland profile. This does not. It has a very odd toasted flower funk. Unique to this, whatever it is. And both of the pipes I used are clean and ghost-free. As I said to Todd "I do a lot of dumb Carp but I never put Lakelands in my favorite Va-dedicated briars."

Would he send me bulk 2015?
Nah, probably not.
And I've smoked 2015 and don't remember anything remotely "unusual" about it.

Then I was expressing my Blind Review fugue to Jake and he sorta accidentally let me know that this is not St. James Flake. Or I think that's what he said- he is hard to understand sometimes and he may have been heavily caffeinated. In any case by the end of our chat we were both very confused.

So what does that leave?
Well it leaves "Blakeney's Best" Bayou Slice.
Now I have smoked Bayou Slices, probably as recently as 2013, and though I can't remember much about it I do know that I didn't care for it (Irish Alzheimer's: We only remember the grudges). That would be consistent with this blend- just a bit too much for me - and the specific "toasting" of this blend might explain that funky floral note I can't escape. Lovers of Perique would probably kill for some of this, I basically want a perique extractor (and some RED va's).

So that's my guess.
A somewhat educated and guided guess, but still a guess. Bayou Slices. Probably with some age.

So clearly it's Navy Cavendish.
Not my cuppa, but certainly a generous blend to include in a Blind Review. Thanks Alex!
 
Sample number three from Spill

The presentation is perfect, thinnest lakes I've seen, dark, a touch of mottling, birdseye, and clearly defined marks from being sliced. First impression is the bass notes starting off in the distance and creeping forward from the back of the palette. Some nondesript darkness, not smokey like creosote but a little sludgy, just an outline though. The space between is filled with burnt sugar, dark roast, cocoa, and molasses with support from the other end being a buttery nuttiness, raisins, and suggestion of yeasty sweetness in line with fresh baked bread. Very well rounded. Consistent. Smooth. The best. Going to say it's a Va/Bur, not sure the ratio but fairly even, could be a touch of Red in there. One word review; Brilliant.

I have not spoken to anyone regarding this sample, you guys are no help. Probably deliberate... okay, so here's where I say it's RDF and you tell me it's Sutliff Mocha Strips.
 
Blind Sample #3 from @Thelonious monkfish


As stated in my "initial thoughts" posts above I knew this was a McClelland flake the moment I saw it. A quick whiff told me there was an ample amount of perique included and I probably wrinkled my nose, and furrowed my brow. I LOVE McCelland Va's but I never really bonded with any of their VaPers. I think the only tin of a McClelland VaPer Flake that I have was gifted to me, and coincidentally I believe it's this blend. But more on that later.

Notes:
Well it's a VaPer.
Not OBVIOUSLY Red Va's. Yellows for sure.
Very funky/floral bassnote
I think this is pretty well aged
Not particularly sweet- heady amount of perique
Bready/yeasty
Earthy
Brown Va's - cigar notes.
Smoked BBQ
Figgy
Butterscotch and maple in the sweet notes
Fennel
Green Tomato
"Lakeland" whisps (queer in the English sense)
Like a green smoothie with a handful of peppers
I don't like this very much

So what is it?
Well it's not Beacon or Beacon Extra.
I asked DannO and Sasquatch and they both said those have a straightforward McClelland profile. This does not. It has a very odd toasted flower funk. Unique to this, whatever it is. And both of the pipes I used are clean and ghost-free. As I said to Todd "I do a lot of dumb Carp but I never put Lakelands in my favorite Va-dedicated briars."

Would he send me bulk 2015?
Nah, probably not.
And I've smoked 2015 and don't remember anything remotely "unusual" about it.

Then I was expressing my Blind Review fugue to Jake and he sorta accidentally let me know that this is not St. James Flake. Or I think that's what he said- he is hard to understand sometimes and he may have been heavily caffeinated. In any case by the end of our chat we were both very confused.

So what does that leave?
Well it leaves "Blakeney's Best" Bayou Slice.
Now I have smoked Bayou Slices, probably as recently as 2013, and though I can't remember much about it I do know that I didn't care for it (Irish Alzheimer's: We only remember the grudges). That would be consistent with this blend- just a bit too much for me - and the specific "toasting" of this blend might explain that funky floral note I can't escape. Lovers of Perique would probably kill for some of this, I basically want a perique extractor (and some RED va's).

So that's my guess.
A somewhat educated and guided guess, but still a guess. Bayou Slices. Probably with some age.

So clearly it's Navy Cavendish.
Not my cuppa, but certainly a generous blend to include in a Blind Review. Thanks Alex!
Damn! Too easy. It is a distinct smell but I was hoping the toasting would throw you off. Yep, Best Bayou from 2015. Sorry you don't get all weird for Perique like some others might... the next one will be more forgiving.
 

Spillproof

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sales
Sample number three from Spill

The presentation is perfect, thinnest lakes I've seen, dark, a touch of mottling, birdseye, and clearly defined marks from being sliced. First impression is the bass notes starting off in the distance and creeping forward from the back of the palette. Some nondesript darkness, not smokey like creosote but a little sludgy, just an outline though. The space between is filled with burnt sugar, dark roast, cocoa, and molasses with support from the other end being a buttery nuttiness, raisins, and suggestion of yeasty sweetness in line with fresh baked bread. Very well rounded. Consistent. Smooth. The best. Going to say it's a Va/Bur, not sure the ratio but fairly even, could be a touch of Red in there. One word review; Brilliant.

I have not spoken to anyone regarding this sample, you guys are no help. Probably deliberate... okay, so here's where I say it's RDF and you tell me it's Sutliff Mocha Strips.
YES!
Fresh from a friendly Bee in England comes the Best.Thing.Ever...

Blind Sample #3 is Germain's Rich Dark Flake, 2020
:banane09::banana::banane09:



Several years ago the forums were abuzz with experts saying Esoterica Stonehaven and Germain's Rich Dark Flake are basically the same thing. NOPE! In Stonehaven the burley is up front and the casing is more wine-like and chock full of treacle. RDF has the Virginias up front and though the casing is similar it is sweeter, simpler, and less port-like. So says me anyway.

So congratulations you nailed it.
I will always have some RDF on hand, but don't tell anyone else about it.
 
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JimInks

Well-known member
Old Ted Award Winner
Earlier in this thread, I was challenged by @Eulogy to retry C&D Briar Fox. He sent me a generous sample (among other blends and cigars, too). I have taken a new look at it. This sample was fresher and not dried out as what I had previously smoked. I've sort of changed my mind about the blend, which I upped from one star to two. Here's the rewritten review:

The toasty burleys offer a lot of earth, wood, nuts, some roughness, light sharp, spice, sour and cocoa notes, and very little sweetness as a lead component, though the Virginias occasionally rise above them. The red Virginia provides moderate tangy dark fruit, slightly tart citrus, some earth, wood, bread, a couple grains of sugar, and a pinch of spice. A tad less noticeable is the brighter Virginia whose aspects are a lot of grass and hay, some tart and tangy citrus, and is fairly floral. The burley has a mildly sharp cigar/cigarette quality whether you puff fast or not. Doesn't bite, but may get a little harsh if pushed. The strength is a step past the medium mark, while the taste levels is medium. The nic-hit is almost medium. The krumble kake is easy to break apart, and burns slow, and a little warm. The flavor is savory as defined by the lack of sweetness and rugged roughness, sour characteristics and light bitterness toward the finish. It also has some inconsistency in the flavor as the burleys and Virginias compete for attention. Doesn't leave much dampness left in the bottom of the bowl. Requires some relights. Has a rough, unattractive, lingering after taste, and strong room note. Not an all day smoke. I had originally given this one star, but as I have taken a fresh look with a fresher sample, I now give it two stars due to the inconsistent taste, cigarette hit and bitterness.