I don't get it

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fnord

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2011
2,752
0
Topeka, KS
I know nothing about VA and VaPer pipe tobaccos. To broaden my horizons and knowledge base I grabbed some burners and popped into my local B&M Saturday afternoon requesting an education. The staff graciously started pulling out samples of their McClelland based house blends and I began the sampling process.
To be brief, what didn't scorch the living shit out of my cakehole bored me to tears. I smoked several different types of flake - the ones that come in strips and fold over to assume the smoking position, right? And I also tried some rondels of tobacco they called Bull's Eye. I left unimpressed and somewhat bothered that I lack the palate or sophistication to appreciate what so many of you rave about. (Still, I know enough that I need to be fair and not shut the door after my first experience.)
Fast forward to last night.
In the past few months I picked up some Anniversary Kake on a trade and I fired up a bowl for the first time. I was sort of dreading this bowl because of my experiences a few days earlier but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. It was very different than my usual Nightcap, FMOTB and assorted lat bombs I've been huffing upon. It was moist so I rubbed it out and let it dry for a half hour or so. I couldn't pick up all the nuances I read about in the reviews but it tasted good and nobody at home bellyached about the smell.
Do most smokers come down on one side or the other? Do English smokers have VAs in their regular rotation, and vice versa, or do you find yourselves staying with all VAs or all English or all aro's?

 

spyder71

Preferred Member
Jul 14, 2011
694
0
I am primarily an English smoker that loves the occasional VA/Per. I have only had one aroe that I like and keep around, Nutty Irishman. Not a big fan of full VA's, I have a coupe around that I just don't smoke very often at all.

 

hawk60ce

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2012
1,402
0
I smoke mostly aros with an English here and there and a VA here and there. Not sure ive tried a vaper but will one day I'm sure.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,537
135
United States
fnord, do not give up on VA and Vaper flakes. You may be like me and cannot smoke McClellend virginia's. They burn my tongue the minute the smoke hits it, it is a body chemistry thing. At the end of this post I will give you my list of no bite va and vaper flakes. In regards to people coming down on one side or the other, I think to some degree you may be correct. I personally smoke no English blends and only a few aromatics. I am sure there are plenty of people who smoke everything, but from what I have seen over the years, it seems you are either in one camp or the other. There is a learning curve to smoking flakes, they need to be the proper humidity or they get hot. I have been using the cube cut method and have found it to be the best of the three preparations. The pipe size is also a factor, I have found that group 4's 5's and small 6's work best for me. I also have found certain shapes work better i.e dublins, billiards, apples, rhodesian, lumberman, lovat, mostly classic shapes. Smoking slowly and proper packing are also important, I use the gravity feed three step packing system as I have found it works best for me. I also make sure there is some resistance I don't want it too loose. Flakes are a ton of fun once you get what works best for you. Here is a list of some of my favorites. Anything that has a TR after it means it is ready right out of the tin.
Virginia Flakes:

Fribourg&Treyer Cut Virginia Plug and Vintage-TR

Wessex Campaign Brigade Dark Flake and Brown Virginia Flake TR Brown only

Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake and Full Virginia Flake

Hamborger Veermaster TR

Dunhill Flake TR

Astley’s no. 44 Dark Flake TR

Solani Silver Flake TR

John Aylesbury Luxury Flake TR
Virginia/Perique Flakes

Escudo

Solani 633 TR

Samuel Gawith St James Flake

Wessex Brigade Sovereign Curly Cut TR

 

daytonsean

Preferred Member
Aug 28, 2012
690
2
Dayton
I don't have any strict VA/Per that I smoke. Honestly I've yet to try too many of them. I'm finding that I have fallen into a routine. Morning time is for sure some Early Morning or some Frogs, throughout the work day is 1Q, and night time I kick back and enjoy some Old Dublin or an aro like Blue Note or some C&D blends. I need to get some Anny Kake though and give that a spin.

 

papipeguy

Preferred Member
Jul 31, 2010
15,800
2
Bethlehem, Pa.
I bhave to admit that most of my blends may be classified as "English" blends. I'm very partial to C&D blends as I find them to be very interesting. I can't seem to pick up the nuances of perique in blends though I do have some va/pers. On rare occassions I will smoke an aro like Autumn Evening and Gentleman Caller and, especially Rattray's Bagpiper's Dream.

The fun of the hobby is to try a bit of everything with the hope of finding that one blend that you'll always want to return to.

 

judcole

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2011
4,662
9
Detroit
I am primarily a latakia smoker, but have learned to enjoy Virginias as well. I don't care for VaPers - I've tried 'em,they just aren't my cuppa. It's fun exploring.

 

ejames

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2009
3,920
0
Virginias and especially Va/pers usually set me on fire. I do like them mixed with PA or CH.

 

taerin

Preferred Member
May 22, 2012
1,853
0
I started out hating aromatics and loving English until I discovered Boswell's aromatics, then I loved aromatics and hated English, now I love all kinda as VA tobacco are my 2nd favorite (and #1 fav straight kind of tobacco), Aromatic/English and Aromatic/VA are my favs right now. The VA I love are PS Bullseye Luxery Flake, H&H Anniversary Kake, and McClelland's Matured VA #24 (not quite as good) None of these have lots of bite.

 

baronsamedi

Preferred Member
May 4, 2011
5,692
0
Dallas
It also could be a particular type of VA or maybe the Perique that is bothering you. If you call P&C, you can get them to send you some samples of each kind individually. Trying them independently will teach you a lot about your tobacco taste!

 

shawn622

Preferred Member
Jul 22, 2012
1,082
0
Mount Sterling, Ohio
I was only smoking English and 2-3 weeks ago I got on a Flake binge and can't put them down. I really enjoy Rattrays VaPers though. Both Marlin Flake and Hal O'the Wind are my favorite tobaccos yet. I think that a lot of my choice in tobacco comes from a much tuned up smoking technique. I went for English blends when Virginias were beating my mouth up. But it was not the tobacco, It was me. Like Cigrmaster, there are blends, mostly Red Virginias, that I just can't smoke because they disagree with my body chemistry. I now very much prefer flake, but VaPer Flake is my weakness...

 

jpberg

Preferred Member
Aug 30, 2011
988
55
All things come with time, simple as that. I was twenty years into pipe smoking before I could appreciate a Virginia blend, they are now a regular with me.

Sometime in the early nineties, a friend convinced me to start buying Virginia blends, even though I had no taste for them. Today I have lots of 15 - 20 year old tins and jars to choose from.

My point? Even if you can't like them now, buy some for later, you'll never lose your initial investment, and someday, you'll appreciate the tobacco, so you can't lose either way.

 

jchaplick

Preferred Member
May 8, 2011
1,701
0
+1 cigrmaster!
Keep trying them, they are great, and for me, the type I enjoy the most. The ones he suggested are truly the some of the best I would just add Orlik golden sliced to the mix

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,893
3
I used to hate straight Virginia's, and went to VaPers and spicy Balkan blends. Then I had gotten a new pipe, and decided to dedicate it to Virginia's and I have never looked back. Early morning is when I enjoy my Virginia tobaccos, and only with pipes dedicated to them. It had never occurred to me before then that the pipe might be the problem.

 

tjameson

Preferred Member
Jun 16, 2012
1,192
0
I like burley a lot but I smoke whatever o can to broaden my horizons. Some I don't enjoy but I just set it aside for later down the road. I haven't tried a whole lot of Virginias but what I have I mostly enjoyed.

 

ruraldean

Junior Member
Apr 27, 2012
90
0
I started off exclusively with English blends and also initially felt that VA's lacked... something.
Now I've reversed completely, and although I'll smoke and enjoy almost anything (except 1792 and Condor) I'm firmly in the VA and VAPer camps.
+2 for Orlik's Golden Sliced BTW.