Royal Yacht... my not so royal experience.

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sailorjeremy

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2014
420
0
Virginia

So I took a trip to the local smoke shop off base here in Japan and purchased a tin of RY after reading several reviews. Now, I don't consider myself a seasoned pipe smoker by any means but I do have a few years of cigar smoking under my belt. Mostly of the dark, full bodied type. RY seemed like it would be a pleasant change from my usual sweet aromatic smokes. Not what I was expecting! Upon opening the tin I was a bit overwhelmed by the strong smell of hay bales and what almost seemed to me as freshly mowed grass. I was tempted to give up on it, but in all fairness I gave it a try. The tobacco was very neatly packed, not too moist, but not dry. It rebounded well after a pinch test. The smoke itself was very evenly burning, cool, and bite free. The taste however was for me, exactly the way it smelled. Like a bale of hay. I appreciate a good full bodied, heavy on the nicotine type of tobacco and I don't think I got a bad tin, but I'm REALLY having difficulty grasping this sweet, delicious plum flavor that people speak of. Should I let it mellow out for a while? Are all VAs like this? Lol someone please hit me with some wisdom!
-J

 

latbomber

Preferred Member
May 10, 2013
570
0
As a cigar smoker I too found VAs difficult to understand at first. They seemed flat and boring. Then after while I found that sipping them slowly and directing the smoke onto the edge of my tongue gave me a lemon/icing sugar/ hay taste in a way that was quite pleasant. Now during hot weather I smoke straight VAs because they suit the environment better than the heavy lat blends I smoke the rest of the year. Just come back to the tobacco every once in awhile and I bet you'll like it eventually.

 

shutterbugg

Preferred Member
Nov 18, 2013
1,452
0
RY is one of my 3 go-to blends these days. Smoked very slowly it has a sort of sweetness to it (depends on the pipe also). But I wouldn't say it has a ton of flavor, and certainly no complexity at all. It's just basic tobacco, with a nic kick like a horse. I like it after I get home from work. If after giving it a fair shake you still don't like it, you can salvage it by mixing a rounded tablespoon of black cavendish per full tin of RY (or half that much cav if you only have half the tin of RY left, etc) and let it marry for a week or two.

 

rmbittner

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2012
2,099
1
Sailorjeremy:
I haven't had Royal Yacht in about 30 years, so I can't comment on that at all. But I do want to say that I'm surprised you found the "hay, grassy" quality of a Virginia-based tobacco so unappealing. To me, the "grassy, hay" quality of Virginia is one of the things that make them so entrancing.
But RY is NOT a typical Virginia blend. I'd suggest that you pick up a tin of Rattray's Old Gowrie and see what you think. To me, it's a solid standard straight Virginia. There are different Virginias, more flavorful Virginias, but Old Gowrie will give you a solid standard by which to judge any other straight Virginias that should follow. In flakes, I think Dunhill Flake provides a similar kind of experience. It's an excellent "standard" Virginia flake. There are blander flakes and more flavorful flakes, but I think Dunhill Flake establishes a really solid baseline for judging other Virginia flakes.
And, yes: As others have noted, the key to getting the most from Virginias -- well, any pipe tobacco really, but Virginias especially -- is to smoke them very slowly. Draw softly, not like you're pulling on a cigar. I think you'll be amazed how a Virginia blend can be transformed simply by how quickly/slowly you smoke it.
Bob

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,237
436
I'm aging a tin of RY. I haven't ever smoked it. Some on Forums have come to like it after a learning curve.

You might want to age it in a jar (to seal it back up) and try it after a year or so. Give it some time, and it

might unfold for you. If not, you know what it is.

 

fadingdaylight

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,194
0
I have a tin that rsuninv game me, have not cracked it yet. I will pop it open and give it a try this evening, but if it is the way you described it, I will probably love it. I have quickly become a huge fan of Full Virginia Flake, after learning how it likes to be smoked.

 

fishingandpipes

Preferred Member
Aug 24, 2013
629
0
Love the grassy and haylike flavor! RY can also be nice and tart. I like it. I'd buy it in bulk if I could and would probably smoke a good deal more of it at that.

 

shutterbug

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2013
306
0
Royal Yacht is one of those blends that polarizes the community. Some love it, some not so much. I love the taste of it, and to me, it doesn't matter if you cellar it or dry it out any more...if you didn't like it from the get go, chances are you're not going to like it two, three, or four bowls in. It's a love or leave it blend, and many wonder out loud of the contents (tonquin or not), but like I said, they either love it or hate it. I personally love it enough that it's in constant rotation.
Shutterbug

 

sothron

Preferred Member
Sep 20, 2011
3,734
0
Sailor, what you're describing is exactly what Virginias should smell and taste like. In the case of Royal Yacht, there's a bit of extra sugar added with a nice touch of sweet, bready flavors. One of my favorites. It could just be that Virginias are not to your liking.

 

fadingdaylight

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,194
0
I almost just peed myself thinking "huh, and I smoked the RY today while bagging lawn clippings, and thoroughly enjoyed it." Lol

 

topd

Preferred Member
Mar 23, 2012
1,746
0
Emerson, Arkansas
First time I tried it (35 years ago or so) I didn't care for it either. At the time I was smoking "drug store" tobacco's (like Borkum Riff and Carter Hall). For the last couple of decades I smoke non-aero's almost exclusively, but enjoy RY when outside and I'm working with my hands. For some unknown reason, it just doesn't work for me in a brier or meerschaum but is one of my favorites in a cob...!

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,893
5
Never have tried Royal Yacht, but I had trouble getting into Virginia tobaccos as well. Turns out, I am only able to enjoy a Virginia in a filtered pipe. I use the 9mm charcoal type.

 

andrew

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2013
2,883
2
They call it royal yack, I wouldn't let it turn you off va's, I've never tried it but it's supposed to be extremely strong and has an added flavor you either love or hate. You basically dove into the deep end of the va's for your first time, try some dunhill flake, or what is available to you? Orlik golden sliced is another good beginner va, or amphora red is a great high quality sweet over the counter va

 

sailorjeremy

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2014
420
0
Virginia
So I purchased a tin of Golden Sliced. Just waiting on my shipment for now. I gave the RY a second chance earlier this afternoon in one of my cobs. It was definitely a bit different after letting the tin sit for about an hour. I laid out some of the tobacco to dry out a bit before I packed it and it was surprisingly a much better experience than my initial attempt. I don't quite dislike it as much as before, but I'm still not crazy about it. I can say with certainty though that it'll slowly grow on me. This time around I sipped it very slowly, almost to the point where it was about to go out. It was a very different experience indeed. I noticed a slight sweetness and what tasted like hints of brandy. Still, there was certainly a grassy overtone to it, but not nearly as intense as the first time. This tobacco is definitely a bit stubborn I think. It almost demands to be smoked with patience in order to yield a pleasant experience for a VA novice like myself. Lol and I only made it through about 3/4 of a bowl before the N monster got me. It's definitely up there with some of the stronger cigars I've had, like Old Powder Keg...whew!

 

anglesey

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2014
383
0
Ahh, put it away and come back to it in a fortnight. Then you'll enjoy it. I had the same thing with early morning pipe. I find it's not the tobacco that mellows as much as your opinion of it.

 

rmbittner

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2012
2,099
1
When I first smoked Royal Yacht back around 1984, I did not take to it. I wrote, "Not pleasant for smoker OR guests!"
But this thread got me thinking I need to revisit this one. I'll have a tin coming with my next tobacco order. . .
Bob

 

sailorjeremy

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2014
420
0
Virginia
Yea I would say the second chance was worth it. I'm not really the type to give up on something just because of a bad first experience. You should give it another try Bob. Definitely don't smoker it out of the tin though, give it about a day or so after opening. It totally changed its character. At least I think so. And pair it up with a good drink! You can never go wrong with a coke :)

 

rmbittner

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2012
2,099
1
"And pair it up with a good drink! You can never go wrong with a coke"
I know folks here talk all the time about tobacco/drink pairings, but I don't like drinking anything -- except maybe coffee -- when I'm smoking a pipe. And more often than not, I don't even enjoy doing anything else when I'm smoking a pipe. I like to focus on the experience and my thoughts. (Such as they are.)
I'll add that I normally don't revisit blends that I didn't enjoy the first time. But I was a fairly inexperienced pipe smoker when I first tried Royal Yacht -- and the Lakeland blends -- so I do think it's worth revisiting it as a much more experienced (and, hopefully, wiser) pipe smoker. Of course, I'm not the only part of the equation that's changed; today's Royal Yacht is produced by an entirely different company. (Back in 1983/84, I may have smoked Dunhill's original. . . or it could have been a very early version of Murray's run.)
We'll see. Like the Lakelands, I'm not going into this one expecting to find "my new favorite blend." I just want to explore it for what it is and see if I have a better understanding of it now. (As a result of my Lakeland approach, though, I actually did find a new favorite: Ennerdale Flake.)
Bob

 

sailorjeremy

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2014
420
0
Virginia
To each his own. I don't usually drink when I smoke either, but I felt it necessary this time around. Mostly as a precaution for fear I would have the same unpleasant experience lol. From what I've gathered in reviews, the old Dunhill produced RY was significantly better than the newer version. Anyone have any personal experience as to what exactly the difference between the two are?