A Novice's Stroll Through Old Dublin (Review)

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oklansas

Senior Member
Apr 16, 2013
441
0
DC
This evening was the perfect time to take a pleasant stroll through the scents of Old Dublin. Savinelli was my conveyance; ideally suited to showing me the best that this blend from Peterson had to offer a fellow traveler of the briar.
Prologue

Old Dublin (OD) is the first pipe tobacco that I ever purchased from a tobacco store, the previous tobaccos being over the counter selections obtained from Walgreens, CVS, and our nations fine chain of Kroger supermarkets. It's not to say that the OTCs of my first experiences were not fine tobaccos in their own right, but Peterson was an evolution in this hobby, portending my evolution from a curious cob partaker in years past. It was a signal that I'd graduated to treating pipe smoking as a more deliberate hobby.
This Peterson blend was intended for a newly acquired Mr. Brog #14 Churchwarden, my first hardwood pipe, and was to be the platform upon which I would learn the finer points of pipe smoking. My long experience with cigars - preferentially being with Davidoff - influenced its purchase; the savory notes promised by the tin sounded as if they would play to this experience well. Alas, this was not to be the case. Those formative experience with OD were, quite simply awful. These initial involvements were marked by the wrong pipe, the wrong habits, and a self-fulfilling attitude of frustration at not "getting it" immediately.
So, taking the sage advice of this forum, OD was carefully jarred away for another, more auspicious, day. Time went on, aromatics took center stage, and I learned how to be a better patron of the pipe.
OD's time came again a week or so ago. I was growing quite exasperated at the combination of a new pipe and my standby McB Navy Flake. The smoke was terrible, the pipe gurgling as I struggled to endure the terrible flavors billowing forth. Agitation, annoyance, frustration! All the emotions meant to be relaxed away by the pipe were in their full, unfortunate force. Crying surrender, I gave up, dumped the gloopy mess of un-smoked flake, and benched the new pipe on the rack. The time was right and I was in the mood for something different.
A Second Chance at First Impressions

Reaching for the trusty Savinelli, a decision presented itself: What tobacco to choose? The previous nightmare had ruined my appetite for another aromatic, so I bent down to search through the small collection of tobaccos on hand. There was OD, quiet, unassuming, and half-forgotten in the back of the shelf. "Why not?" I thought. After all, the advice, oft repeated, on PM was to give tobaccos multiple chances - trying different pipes, fill-methods, etc. before one writes off a tobacco. So, leaning in, I grabbed the jar of OD.
I quickly noticed the time in the jar had done OD a service. It was drier (I hadn't realized how wet it'd been in my early attempts - mostly because I was still learning to recognize it), and the notes of its smell had grown sweeter. A touch of spice was now detectible, instead of the intense aroma of Latakia. These welcome aromas filled my nose as I filled the pipe, using the standard three-step method.
Pleasant. Inviting. Good. These were the words to describe the following experience. I was meeting OD for really the first time, and we were enjoying each other's company.
The Tastes and Smells of a Stroll Through Old Dublin

I like OD. Smoking a bowl is like taking a trip or a journey. When I light it up now, the smoke offers a progression of different sensations as it progresses down the bowl to ashes.
The 1st third of bowl is a delight of a rich Oriental aroma, highlighted by whiffs of Latakia spiciness. It's an ideal appetizer of savory smoke dancing across the tongue, bringing the mouth to salivate and anticipate the next course. This part of the smoke is why I pick the jar of OD. When the mood strikes, the notes of Latakia are what I envision and savor tasting in the charring light.
The second third of the bowl is typically surprising - even though I know its coming. Here the taste of Latakia begins to fade into a supporting role, bolstering a growing interplay between the Virginia and Sweet orientals. Maple and Vanilla, while subtle, are very much at the forefront. The character of this part of the bowl is such a departure from the first third that stumbling into it is always a delight - and the sublime surprise of OD - and typically induces an utterance of, "I love OD."
The final third bring two highlights. First, the sweetness of the orientals has considerably reduced and the Latakia is gone completely. Instead, the Virginias are center stage, providing that warm, honest smoke that only they can. Second, at least in my own experience, this is the stage that vitamin "N" makes itself known, a gentile hand guiding me along the final part of my stroll. During this part of the bowl, I just lean back and enjoy everything life can offer, calm is there.
This is the character of my strolls through Old Dublin every time.
The Moral of the Story

Again I like OD. It's complex, it's subtle, and every smoke is a stroll through those characteristics. Latakia is used well here. While not center stage, it's used brilliantly as a spice and I'm glad this was my first English (well Irish :D ) blend. I don't think I would recommend it to the average pipe novice, as it may be a bit too complex and subtle for those who don't really know what they're doing - as it certainly was in my sake. But, as an introduction to English blends...absolutely.
I think it may just have to be a regular part of my tobacco collection. Then again, I've got some Frog Mortons coming, so who knows.
Pipe smoking is a cavalcade of new experiences, and (to me at least) holds the promise of a land of endless new tobaccos. Yet, whatever happens, OD will always have a special place in my heart - and pipe.

 

rcstan

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2012
1,467
0
Sunset Beach NC
Very good informative review !
OD is indeed "for the experienced pipe smoker" and definitely not for a quick smoke. If one simply blazes through a bowl of this, it's a rather unpleasant experience ......

 

judcole

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2011
4,703
78
Detroit
Nice review. I am a big fan of Old Dublin, and will take it over any Dunhill lat blend, or SG Squadron Leader, all of which get more play here.

 

bentmike

Preferred Member
Jan 25, 2012
2,423
2
Yep I have to agree emphatically with Jud on this one. I smoked a bowl of OD at a bonfire last night and enjoyed every puff. OD is the only English (latakia) blend I regularly smoke but am looking for a good English style flake.
Great review very well done!

 

harrier52

Senior Member
Aug 7, 2011
352
0
It was my first English blend as well. I agree with you it is pretty great. Now im addicted and stuck with a closet full of aromatics i wont touch anymore lol.

 

judcole

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2011
4,703
78
Detroit
good English style flake.
We just did a thread on English flakes. There aren't very many. There are more crumble cakes (Penzance, for example) and broken flakes (Star of the East Flake) then there are true flakes - if by flakes you mean something like SG Best Brown Flake or Dunhill Flake or Peterson's University Flake. SG Balkan is a good example of a true flake with latakia.

 

oklansas

Senior Member
Apr 16, 2013
441
0
DC
I wonder somethimes, especially with blends like OD, that the reason they don't get more buzz is that they are good - everybody knows they are good - and so they just assume it is good - and when they finally try them, they aren't surprised to find, it's good.
Non-surprise equals no buzz?

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,691
1,639
Chicago, IL
What a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing your experiences and the exploration of a blend that mainly stays under the radar. :clap:

 
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