Murray, Sons and Company Tobacco Works Of Belfast, Northern Ireland

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misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
1









Whitehall Tobacco Works

1A Linfield Road

Belfast

BT12 5GN

Ulster
Murray, Sons and Company Ltd was founded in 1810.
Murray's will always be known and associated with their most famous tobacco, Erinmore.



In 1953, Murray's was bought out by Carreras, who later in turn would morph into Rothmans International (thus the Dunhill blends being made at Murray), and in 1999 R.I. was bought out by British American Tobacco.
Finally, late in the Fall of 2004, BAT announced that Murray's would be closed:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/3957589.stm
Sad news it was.
Here's a pic from better times,

four girls with "The Pipe of Peace', part of the float parade made by Murrays for the Lord Mayor's Show in 1966.


The quote below was salvaged from an old Murray site on the wayback machine...
The company reached a milestone in 1862 when it introduced Murrays Mellow Smoking Mixture. It was the first branded, packaged tobacco product to emerge from Ireland and is a product that the Murray's factory still produces today, although in limited quantities. Murrays managing director Brian Mallen describes the Mixture as 'a bit like drinking Guiness; you've got to try it a few times before you get to like it.'

While the recipe for the wonderfully alliterative Murray's Mellow Mixture has no doubt gradually changed over the years, its longevity is symbolic of the staying power of Murrays business. Despite world wars, economic depressions, a number of owners and bitter local conflicts, Murrays has been firmly ensconced in its current location at the Whitehall Tobacco Works since the turn of the century - and it remains a resilient business.
Out of this resilience was born one of the world's most notable pipe tobaccos, Erinmore. 'The modern-day business was founded on the Erinmores' explains Mallen. 'They were originally put together in the 1920's by a number of individuals, including the company chemist 'Daddy' Burns. Erinmore is now our flagship brand and Erinmore fans inside and outside the UK are equally passionate about their favorite smoke.'
The secrets behind the search for that 'best possible taste' are closely guarded. The recipe for Erinmore is known to only one living person. 'Daddy' Burns handed it on to one individual, and it has come down through each generation until it now rests within the head of Brian Mallen: 'Lots of people in the factory are involved in making the Erinmore flavour, but they're not making it up from containers with full chemical names on them,' he explains. 'All the products are brought under code names from a number of manufacturers, so no one manufacturer is making all the elements for Erinmore. The key to those codes I have. But there has to be a back-up, so in a locked vault in a bank in Belfast there are a number of files covering the manufacture of that particular unique flavour - if I walk under a bus someone can have access to it.'
With every tobacco company hungry for the secrets of its rivals, it's not surprising that successful recipes are closely guarded. With all the companies buying similar tobaccos from similar areas, it's the expertise of the blender and the composition of the top flavour that form the challenge to create a really different and unique tobacco: 'It's like the perfume industry,' says Mallen, 'there's a lot of that type of mystique and technology involved.'
While Erinmore is Murrays flagship brand, it is only half the story. Murrays now produces a host of tobacco brands - some famous international names, other smaller local favourites, like Yachtsman, Warrior, Punchebowl and Barneys.
Now,

on to the picture show...


























































































































 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
1
Amazing how advertising works. I have always avoided Erinmore based on what it is in comparison to my tastes... but those ads make it sound like the most delicious tobacco in the world, lol.
LOL

I hearya!

The old Erinmore was indeed intensely flavorsome,

it was definitely a love it or hate it blend.
The new Danish stuff is tame compared to the original.

 

peckinpahhombre

Preferred Member
Dec 24, 2012
7,096
0
Great thread. Looks like the venerable old building was turned into retail/office space.
http://www.fleckimet.com/retail/offices/murray-tobacco-works/
And see:
http://www.rabble.ie/2014/07/17/lookup8-murray-and-sons-tobacco-factory/

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
1
One would hope that the only reason a blend would change, is because a component is unobtainable, and not as a result of cost cutting measures.
Trailboss - to be fair, Murray's probably toned it down at some point and that newer recipe was passed on to STG, I guess they wanted to modernize it or give it greater mass appeal, because it was an incredibly funky topping!
One of the best comparisons I've read between old and new is this:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-dalliance-with-trollop.html
MY DALLIANCE WITH A TROLLOP

selected quotes

All pipe smokers of a certain age have experimented with it - it is hard to avoid buying this product at least once, as the friendly and colourful tin with its garish red blazoon on a yellow field beckons one from across a counter, lures one with its cheery appearance, shakes an appealing visual leg at the easily distracted young rake. And like an adventure with a drug-addled whore, one very quickly regrets the decision. From close up, the perfume is strictly drugstore bargain, the make-up thick and smeared, the hotel-room mildewed and depressing.
Erinmore Flake, with its fruity reek and foul habits, was the veritable tart among the tobaccos, the whore of Babylon, the shameless Catholic Church among the sober Protestants. I loathed it. For years those attractive yellow tins mocked me, from dark corners of tobacconists, or neatly stacked shelves, on two continents. Where-ever I saw an Erinmore tin, it seemed to wink and say "how about it, big boy, I've had my shots".

I resented the implied familiarity - I did NOT want to be seen in its company under any circumstances.
So, seeing as I have been in an experimenting mood these past few months, and having heard that Erinmore Flake will soon no longer be available on these shores, I naturally bought a tin.
It is not nearly as funky as I remember it, because it is no longer the same. Erinmore Flake was one of the trademarks moved by British American Tobacco to Orlik in 2005. It may have been changed somewhat after the transfer, but it is as likely that Murrays toned it down after the eighties. It actually smells fairly pleasant now. If smoked slowly, the pewy stink burns off after the first few puffs, and a pleasant Virginia taste comes through which is rather enjoyable. It burns down cleanly to a fine white ash.
(If NOT smoked ultra-slow, it leaves your mouth feeling like you've got a case of oral clap.

Be forewarned.)
I would not recommend Erinmore Flake, will not publicly admit to liking it, and shall not smoke it at the Occidental for fear of being labeled a disgusting pervert, but it certainly isn't bad. I'm over half-way through the tin, and will definitely finish it. It has all the illicit appeal of a dewy teenager alone in the house and tiddly on her dad's bourbon. Yummy.
Peck,

yep, alotta the old baccy factories in the UK get repurposed, many of 'em were very fine architectural examples complete with all the fine detailings etc...dig the tile work at the entrance of Murray's!


 

jarit

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2013
333
1
Many thanks for yet another peek into the pipe tobacco history!
Interesting to see that they used the pineapple motif in their earlier product labels. The pineapple that many can taste in the Erinmore topping.

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
1
Interesting to see that they used the pineapple motif in their earlier product labels. The pineapple that many can taste in the Erinmore topping
Yeah, the pineapple trademark has caused a lot of subliminal interpretations, the number of times that pineapple is mentioned on TR of Erinmore reviews is vast...
...Pipestud in 2002 said it best:

When you open the tin, you will be able to tell that there is a flavoring, but Pinapple is not it, despite what you may read from some reviews above this one. That pineapple is a flavoring in this blend is a myth perpetuated by the picture of a pineapple on the lid of the tin.
The pineapple was once a food of the kings, hard to get and very expensive. Over the years an image of a pineapple came to denote hospitality...

Pineapple as Hospitality Symbol
In larger, well-to-do homes, the dining room doors were kept closed to heighten visitors' suspense about the table being readied on the other side. At the appointed moment, and with the maximum amount of pomp and drama, the doors were flung open to reveal the evening's main event. Visitors confronted with pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests' dining pleasure
In this manner, the fruit which was the visual keystone of the feast naturally came to symbolize the high spirits of the social events themselves; the image of the pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home gatherings.
Pineapples were all the rage there for a while. The eccentric Lord Dunmore of Scotland actually used the motif quite astoundingly in a summerhome he had built in the 18th century, ironically, his Christian name is John Murray, no relation that I know of to the other John Murray though...


I think this quote is crucial at underscoring just how important the development of distinct casings were to the UK tobacco industry:

With every tobacco company hungry for the secrets of its rivals, it's not surprising that successful recipes are closely guarded. With all the companies buying similar tobaccos from similar areas, it's the expertise of the blender and the composition of the top flavour that form the challenge to create a really different and unique tobacco: 'It's like the perfume industry,' says Mallen, 'there's a lot of that type of mystique and technology involved.'
...and he's right about his competitors being 'hungry for the secrets' --- much time, labor, and research were put into efforts of other companies trying to develop an Erinmore match, and I don't think anyone ever actually succeeded in doing so.
This 1981 document says how they had been trying for decades to crack the secret of Erinmore, yet had failed...

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=vce08h99
Indeed, it can even be traced back as far as 1939!!!

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=myq57h00
1965 saw Operation Shamrock in full swing,

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=wwm17a99
And Wills in 1962 was trying to morph Legation Flake into an Erinmore flavor,

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=ewj62a99
Extensive scientific testings went on at the Wills laboratories,

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=dwj62a99
Still trying in 1971,

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=rdg97a99
And yet still trying in 1981!

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=kkj62a99
No doubt that despite being a love/hate type of blend, Erinmore was very popular.
The casing recipes of those olde UK tobacco houses were incredibly complex.
They have yet to be matched.
Be it St. Bruno, Condor, Erinmore and many of the other flavors lost to time, nobody else could produce a heavily cased baccy that somehow enhanced and complimented the natural flavors to enchant any palate with a special sort of magic.

:puffy:

 

4nogginsmike

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
1,043
0
In 2002 I loved Erinmore flake. I remember smoking it on long drives in a straight billiard with a very thin saddle. I don't know what precipitates falling out of love with a tobacco. My tastes can be fickle, and sometimes I become preoccupied with trying new tobaccos, forgetting about my current favorites. But for whatever reason that love affair lasted only for about 18 months, and since then, though I have tried it off and on, I'm unable to replicate those halcyon days.