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A Real Three Nuns Substitute

(71 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by bulletsnbriars
  • Latest reply from diamondback
  1. bulletsnbriars

    bulletsnbriars

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    This forum loves tobacco, obviously. This forum has a wide palate; some of us just enioy OTCs in their cobs and thats good enough for them, while others cellar the finest tobaccos for years before enjoying them in their pristinely maintained handcarved artisan pipes. Theres nothing wrong with either! Smoke what you like how you like it!

    Though we are all different and enjoy different kinds of blends, a few names stand out that everyone seems to agree on. I have yet to hear a bad word about Orlik Golden Sliced, GL Pease Gaslight, Balkan Sobranie, Marlin Flake, or Penzance. But one of the most discussed blends that I've noticed is Bell's Three Nuns. It is held in reverence that only seems to be matched by the hate for its phoenixlike rebirth. I love VaBurs and look forward to trying the new Three Nuns. But I have recently acquired a passion for VaPer that stemmed from a recreation of the original, C&D's Three Friars. Excellent as the blend is, it is a ribbon, not a Curly Cut, and some have said it is not the same as the old legend. But a search on tobacco reviews reveals nine VaPer curly cuts. They look the same as the original.

    In your opinion, what VaPer is still being produced today best matches the original Three Nuns? I look forward to learning from the wisdom here.

    "Of course you can save money by denying yourself all those little vicious enjoyments for fifty years; but then what can you do with it? What use can you put it to? Money can't save your infinitesimal soul. All the use that money can be put to is to purchase comfort and enjoyment in this life; therefore, as you are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment where is the use of accumulating cash?" -Mark Twain
    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. sfsteves

    sfsteves

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    bulletsnbriars asked:
    ... what VaPer is still being produced today
    best matches the original Three Nuns?

    None ...

    There are a number of really good VA/Pers available but none are really close to Three Nuns ... GLPease Telegraph Hill comes closest to matching the pre-light or tin aroma ...

    SteveS
    de gustibus non est disputandum

    "If there is no smoking in Heaven, I shall not go." - Mark Twain
    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. novicemaker

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    Briar my friend your best bet would be to save up a little money and see if you can buy a tin of the original.

    I'm sure someone out there in the pipe world has a tin and would be willing to part with it for a reasonable price. Once a blend is made its never made the same way twice. The blenders out there like mr.please do the best they can but it will always be a different blend. Its sad but once a blend is gone its gone even with the recipe the first person that made it, they would be the only one that could get it close because they smelled it, tasted it, saw the subtle color it was, and poured every thought into making it just they way they wanted it to go. A blend is like art, people know what Mona Lisa looks like, people study the brush strokes and the type of pigment but no one can do it exactly the same. I know this was a rant but i felt like ranting a little bit sorry for it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. northernneil

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    As I understand it, the original 3 nuns had something like 20% perique in it. This creates 2 problems in today's market. 1) perique is one of the most expensive tobaccos manufactured today. 2) there is a limited annual supply due to its processing. From a manufacturing stand point, I just do not think it would be a financially sound decesion to recreate it using the original recipient.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. papipeguy

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    Yes, this still remains a popular topic. I smoked the new incarnation and thought it was good. I smoked the original but so long ago I don't recall what I thought of it.
    Some folks here thought that Villiger's Cocktail Hour comes pretty close. I believe that Kevin even commented on it some time ago.
    Frankly, I think our memories of blends gone by get embellished in our minds. I do wish the "old" blends were still around but with so many new and exciting blends coming out all of the time I don't find myself pining about the past as much.

    Blowin' smoke since 1970.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. rmbittner

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    I'm not a VA/Per smoker, but I'm surprised no one's mentioned the current version of Escudo, which seems to be very highly regarded as a spun-cut VA/perique blend. In fact, I don't hear people talking at all about how "the new Escudo can't compare with the Escudo I smoked back in the 1970s!" Whether it has truly remained consistent over time or it has changed in less dramatic ways than Three Nuns, Escudo seems to remain a much-praised "standard" in this category.

    But it's been decades since I've tried either blend. So maybe it's not actually much like Three Nuns at all in the bowl.

    Bob

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. rmbittner

    rmbittner

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    northernneil wrote:

    "As I understand it, the original 3 nuns had something like 20% perique in it. This creates 2 problems in today's market. 1) perique is one of the most expensive tobaccos manufactured today. 2) there is a limited annual supply due to its processing. From a manufacturing stand point, I just do not think it would be a financially sound decesion to recreate it using the original recipient."

    This is slightly off-topic, but it brings up something mentioned in another thread recently. What is holding someone back from recreating, say, the original Three Nuns -- with 20% perique (if that's indeed what it had) -- and just charging accordingly? There has been such an online uproar about the "new" recipe that I would think there would be a market for this blend that would willingly pay a premium price for it. Offer it in limited release and charge, say, $18 or whatever for 50g.

    Of course, it isn't going to taste like the "original" Three Nuns. Tobacco is agricultural, and you're talking about specific crops from 30-40 years ago. But there's no reason why someone couldn't source aged leaf and high-quality perique and produce a premium release. I could even see MacBaren themselves doing this, since they've got the tins handy; all they'd have to do is stamp a "Limited Release" on the top lid to distinguish it from the "new" Three Nuns. (Or "Classic," versus "New" Nuns.)

    Bob

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. mikestanley

    mikestanley

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    The problem with copying Three Nuns lies in the casing . what is it, exactly? Perhaps Haddos Delight?
    Mike S.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. ravkesef

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    Bob Bittner hit the nail on the head. Even if you had the original formula, originally equipment, etc., you would still not be able to reproduce it precisely because tobacco is, when all is said and done, an agricultural product, and these vary from year-to-year depending upon the amount of sunshine, rainfall, various other factors. I started smoking the original Balkan Sobranie in the 1960s, and smoked it almost exclusively for 20 Years. Then it no longer tasted the same, and lo and behold, we discovered that the formula had changed – slightly, almost imperceptibly, but for us dedicated smokers, it was no longer the same. Then three years ago we held a contest at the Chicago show to replicate the original blend, and lo and behold there was a winner! It was a fine tobacco, strongly reminiscent of the original, but it still wasn't the same. Then this year, Russ Oulette came out with White Knight, which to this smoker looks, smells and tastes like the original. But then, who am I to know? The White Knight made a rather quiet entry onto the field, but I think this is the real McCoy. Your opinions are most welcome. Perhaps, one day Russ or another blender will come up with a reincarnation of Three Nuns that will be indistinguishable from the original. But then again we have so many fine tobaccos to choose from today, far more than we had back when the old greats held sway.
    No doubt there is a blender today who is trying to replicate the original Three Nuns, but keep in mind that even when the original was available, it still represented a niche market.

    Eric
    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Another problem is this: the way the blender recreating the lamented blend, through his recollection of taste, the composition and proportion, might be one thing in the sens that he will feel accurate to him. One main issue in recreating a blend is the tobaccos used will not be the same, that is certain, especially in the case of a blend that disappeared 20 years ago. Another main issue is the overall result might not relate to the same for the smokers trying it than the blender.

    In this sense, I don't believe that recreating a long gone blend can be something successful. One can tend towards it, as closely as possible, but it will always be an imperfect result. However, trying in itself is something I highly respect and commend because it is a very difficult task.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. settersbrace

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    Agreed that since tobacco is an organic, agricultural product, there are many "x" variables when trying to recreate a vintage blend. There was a certain cigar that I used to smoke that had a double Maduro wrapper that was just out of this world. It was primo grade ++++ and was aged considerably. Then there was a fire and poof, it was gone. The company tried to use younger leaves to keep up with sales but alas, that cigar was never the same again.

    De gustibus et cloribus non disputandum.
    'There is no arguing about tastes and colours.'
    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. misterlowercase

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    I agree with Mike S. that the casing is crucial, that's generally how a distinct profile is maintained thru the years regardless of crop variation, at least for the most part.

    The Imperial tobo co. had some very complex casings.

    These old ads from the 20's mention sherry, madeira, and even cherry as flavor profiles...




    It's a shame that Imperial didn't give the original recipe over to Mac Baren, but that's the way the curly-cut crumbles...

    ...I've never smoked 3 Nuns in any form, so I don't know anything really, but from just looking into it, I'd agree that it was a niche blend and never really sold extremely well in the overall scheme of things, and it's always been very expensive to produce. Perhaps the legend grew stronger after it was actually gone? I dunno, they did a lot of advertising so it must have been somewhat popular, but the posthumous mystique may be from pipers smoking well-aged tins?

    I don't have any answers.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. andrew

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    I'm sure someone out there in the pipe world has a tin and would be willing to part with it for a reasonable price.

    I highly doubt that. I find the new 3 nuns is way over priced for a 50 gm tin, enough for me to not bother trying it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. cigrmaster

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    In my experience the only thing that is somewhat similar to the Bells Three Nuns is some 2002 Solani Silver flake. It has more perique flavor and spice than any other blend I have smoked other than TN. I have a lot of fresh Solani and it does not have anywhere near the perique flavor in comparison to the aged stuff. I have smoked a lot of aged Escudo and the perique in that mellows over time. Now I don't know if the Solani put way more perique in it back in 02 as I never smoked it back then. Will my new stuff age the same,who knows. I will tell you in a decade or so. lol

    In terms of what is on the market now, I have not come across a blend that is similar to TN. I have tried the curly cuts that look the same, but they have no where near the perique content to my tastes. Wessex Sovereign and the Heinrich versions just don't do it for me. I am down to one last tin of the Bells TN but will not crack that for a while.

    Harris
    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. peckinpahhombre

    peckinpahhombre

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    I am coming out with a clone blend which will be called The Flying Nun. Look for it at a store near you. The new logo is below. Many thanks to cigrmaster for dressing up in nun garb and letting me film him. He is a good sport.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. cigrmaster

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    peck, it is my pleasure. It has been lifetime dream to dress up as a nun. I loved Sally Fields growing up and since the Flying Nun show aired I have been looking for an opportunity to show off my nun garb.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Just don't make a habit of it........right??

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. cigrmaster

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    lol, good one rsuninv.

    peck, check your PM quickly.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. settersbrace

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    The reference in those ads to "Kings Head" has me curious. Anyone ever get any of that?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. peckinpahhombre

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    I believe Harris intended to refer to Solani 633 not Silver Flake (660)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    peck, you are correct, I did mean 633. See what Alzheimer's does. lol

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. weezell

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    The reference in those ads to "Kings Head" has me curious. Anyone ever get any of that?
    Was he getting "Kings Head" from Three Nuns???( I know, I know, I'll go to hell)...

    "the weez"...
    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. settersbrace

    settersbrace

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    The reference in those ads to "Kings Head" has me curious. Anyone ever get any of that?
    Was he getting "Kings Head" from Three Nuns???( I know, I know, I'll go to hell)...

    I didn't even see myself walking right into that one! Lol

    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. bulletsnbriars

    bulletsnbriars

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    Haha, all joking aside, thanks everyone for sharing their knowledge.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. zekest

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    C & D Three Friars is said to be the closest match to the original TN recipe.
    .

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. bulletsnbriars

    bulletsnbriars

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    Well, for whats it worth, I cant get enough of the stuff! Its delicious and strong, pleasantly spicy.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. User has not uploaded an avatar

    timpiper

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    Three nuns is a passion of mine especially after I smoked some from an old tin purchased from ebay.

    Here's a post I made on smokersforums last year -

    I really like my vapers and have read much about the legend of Three Nuns.

    The word is that the old version is far superior than what's produced today.
    The tinned version made by orlik and sold in the EU. The pouch ready rubbed version sold in the UK
    and now the version made by Macbaren.

    The old Three Nuns recipe contained a fair amount of perique and since around 2000? it has not contained
    perique but rather dark fired kentucky instead.

    If you do a google or ebay search for Three nuns you will find some old three nuns advertisements.

    Notice how the focus is on the perique in Three nuns.
    It seems that without perique it aint three nuns.

    So I really wanted to know what the fuss was all about and started to hunt on ebay for an old tin.
    It didnt take me long to realise it would be an expensive exercise.

    I eventually procured some old Three Nuns from ebay which I had to rehydrate.
    The aroma from the tin is amazing. I still dont know if it's the age that made it smell this good
    or if it smelled like that when fresh.

    No other tobacco I've had smells like this.
    No other tobacco I've had smells this good.

    The aroma is deep and rich and sweet and raisony and rich tobaccoey like an aged tobacco rum plum pudding.

    Now I'm fan of aged Ps Luxury navy flake, with 5 years its really sublime stuff.
    It is somewhat flavoured which, to me, adds to the appeal.

    Smoking the old Three Nuns is like smoking the aged PS Navy but the three nuns is richer and deeper
    and has a different flavouring. They are both sweet and spicy at the same time. (aged Solani 633 is also similar but without the three nuns topping)

    Yes three nuns is flavoured with a superb rich tobacco enhancing flavour which adds to its appeal like it does with PS luxury Navy.

    This flavouring is what makes Three Nuns unique.

    So I started to extensively research three nuns. Tried all the blends that try and copy it.
    The copy blends use a flavouring which try's to copy the three nuns flavouring,
    but they don't get it quite right and most of them don't have enough perique in the blend.

    Then I came across a post on another forum that had this link to the original recipe

    Three Nuns Recipe
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/evl27a99/pdf
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nvy96a99/pdf

    Many of you would have seen this before.
    I was curious to find out what was in this legendary three nuns.

    That recipe is useless because the tobacco industry used code words for the casing's and additives.
    Ingredients in the recipe like Molon don't actually exist.

    However.

    After some intensive research on the legacy tobacco library website I found a document that defines the code words.

    Casings, flavourings and Additive Codes
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vla13f00/pdf

    and also found detailed production instructions.

    Three Nuns Manufacturing process
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ohz46a99/pdf

    Molon (Invert Sugar) Recipes
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ugu75a99/pdf
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/iio95a99/pdf

    Recipe for denaturing demerara rum (Butite)
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ide27a99/pdf
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=bix57a99

    They used denatured rum to avoid the alcohol taxes
    I'm not sure whether this alters the flavour of the blend.

    So the three nuns ingredients include - Invert sugar (brown or raw), glycerin, water, Gum arabic, demerara rum (denatured), Anethole (extracted from Anise) used in making ouzo.

    The mixture of Anethole & rum is often referred to as peroco.

    It seems like the flavour profile of three nuns is anise, rum and brown sugar.

    Anethole is a very strong and a little goes a long way, it has a very high boiling point and is sweeter than sugar. Its flavour makes the smoke sweet and rich. Anethole basically smells and tastes like ouzo.

    The manufactured perique seems to be a type of cavendish which is cooked under pressure and steam for a long time, to make it go black.

    These ingredients are easily obtainable.

    Believe it or not im going to try make a loose cut version of this and maybe press it to make a crumble cake, as I dont have or know how to get whole leaf tobacco.

    I have purchased all the ingredients online and the early tests are promising.

    I'm not exactly sure what type of virginia to use and what type of tobacco is used for the perique substite. I'm going to use white burley in my first attempt as perique is a type of burley.
    I'm going to attempt to cook this in a pressure cooker as describe in the manufacturing process.

    I cant see why the original recipe three nuns cant be made.

    So I beg Macbaren or someone else to use the original recipe to make a classic version of three nuns. Macbaren could have two versions -

    Three Nuns Modern and Threen Nuns original recipe.

    ***Update*** The experimenting is coming along ok, with some success but not quite there yet. I believe they used Virginia for making the perique substitute (type of Cavendish), as the white burley didn't have the right taste. So my next job is to make the perique substitute with Virginia.
    I've tried blending rum and sweet sherry for use in the peroco, this makes it taste and smell more like plum pudding :o)
    I've also tried adding peroco (three nuns flavour) to existing blends also with some success. The current version of three nuns with added perique and peroco isn't too bad actually.

    If you want to try this at home add 14 to 20% perique to the current verion of three nuns (or other vaper)
    Mix up some ouzo(real ouzo the one that goes cloudy when added to water), rum and sweet sherry and spray on a small amount. Give it time to meld.

    Heres the references again -

    Three Nuns Recipe
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/evl27a99/pdf
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nvy96a99/pdf

    Casings, flavourings and Additive Codes
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vla13f00/pdf

    Three Nuns Manufacturing process
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ohz46a99/pdf

    Molon (Invert Sugar) Recipes
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ugu75a99/pdf
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/iio95a99/pdf

    Recipe for denaturing demerara rum (Butite)
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ide27a99/pdf
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/action/document/page?tid=bix57a99

    Cheers

    Tim

    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. jiminks

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    Three Friars is nothing like the old Three Nuns. And I have a hard time believing it was made with that intent, though if it was, the experiment failed. I like it once in a while, but don't buy it thinking you'll get anything resembling the three ladies. Buy it for its own merits.

    In today's world, there have been a few attempts to match the VaPer Three Nuns. It hasn't happened yet. You'd have to not only have the recipe, but get the tobaccos from the same place Imperial used to. PH Curly Cut, if you age it for a few years, may faintly taste like Three Nuns, but not enough to buy it for that reason. Wessex Brigade Sovereign Curly Cut is a poor attempt, too.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. zekest

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    From the Pipes & Cigars website:

    "Three Friars is intended to be similar to the original Three Nuns, but in composition, it’s somewhere between the original and the newer version, due to the addition of dark Burley. As a quality Va/Bur/Per, it can stand on its own without the comparisons."

    Three Friars, three bald headed guys in sack cloth robes, might not be as sexy as the Three Nuns in the Three Nuns ad, but the name as a juxtaposition to three Nuns, is kinda funny.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. jiminks

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    Zekest: Whoever wrote that description obviously never compared them. I'd bet my cellar, and Peck's, and Harris' cellars combined that nobody who has smoked the VaPer Three Nuns or the current version, and Three Friars, would think they are close in any way. I spent 30 years smoking VaPer Three Nuns and still have a few tins. I've smoked the MacBaren version. I've been smoking Three Friars off and on the past year. The Friars is much less spicier, and more burley forward with a different flavor. I like it, but nope, no substitute.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  31. misterlowercase

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    Hey Tim,
    great stuff!!

    Intense research there, and your experiments sound promising.

    Thanks for sharing your incredible finds.

    - - -

    As for King's Head, it was just the stronger version, off the market for a long long time.

    Similar to how Capstan came in 3 strengths, light (yellow), med (blue), and full (brown),
    I wish that Imperial would have brought back Capstan Full too, but they declined.

    In the ad it says of 3N "similar but milder"

    I have a feeling that these baccies were named for pubs, both names were popular as such back then, when you start looking for three nuns info you start coming across references to Robin Hood and Jack the Ripper and tons of other stuff, same deal with King's Head, it's all pretty damn interesting!


    Here are some sales figures from the UK market circa 1985...

    Brand - % market share

    Condor - 25.6%
    St. Bruno - 23.0%
    Mellow Virginia - 8.8%
    Clan - 7.5%
    Gold Block - 5.9%
    Erinmore - 5.7%
    Gallaher roll & bar - 3.5%
    Whiskey Flake - 3.3%
    3 Nuns - 2.3%
    Player's Med Navy Cut - 1.2%

    Not sure how well it was selling in the USA?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. ravenwolf

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    Fascinating read. Thanks everyone for the information they've shared.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  33. 4nogginsmike

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    From what I know 3Nuns had two versions before current, Bell's and Imperial. Never smoked Bells but Heinrich Curly is said to be similar. I did smoke the Imperial and it was the best of the best. I'm surprised that some here say that either version can't be replicated. Yes the Imperial was topped, and the delectable taste of the flavoring made it a show stopper. Were the attempt made to replicate it, the recipe would need to be obtained. But overall I find 3Nuns to be a stout case for corporate chicanery, whacking the perique due to cost, discontinuing production of both prior version, keeping the "Bell's" name on the tin; as well as retailers advertising the current blend, touting its fame when both of the famed versions are no longer produced. I'm sure the current version is a fine tobacco, but it's very different than both of the prior versions.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  34. escioe

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    Dear timpiper: thanks very, very much for posting all that. Keep us updated on the experiments.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  35. andrew

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    I don't buy the perique is too expensive to use. Maybe back in the 80's, but John Patton's cool hand fluke has 40% perique and it's only about 35$ a pound, C&D's Morning bayou contains 25% perique and that's about the same price.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  36. condorlover1

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    I have commented elsewhere on this forum about Three Nuns. In fact someone just paid an insane price of around $60 odd dollars for a 1990s tin of the stuff. Its like Balkan Sobranie, I never cared for it at the time when it was under five quid a tin. If someone gave it to me again I would use it to water down Condor. Those of you who know me well know that is not an idle comment either.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  37. peckinpahhombre

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    I have never smoked the original Three Nuns, so this is pure conjecture, but HU Director's Cut is the same shape - little coins. And unlike some of the other Three Nuns imposters, this one has a heavy dose of perique - quite heavy in fact. It also has what I believe is some burley added to the blend, and I suspect this is where it likely diverges from the original Three Nuns. Good stuff, but not easily available on this side of the pond. I tried a sample of it tonight, courtesy of Pat (Pruss) who, in turn, received a generous sample of the blend from Flakey.

    See http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/hu-tobacco-directors-cut-snapshot

    Posted 4 years ago #
  38. jiminks

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    Peck, Director's Cut has a few similarities to the VaPer Three Nuns, but as you noted, the burley is where it diverges. Also, the Virginia is different. There was a little more of a sweet and sour confluence in the old Three Nuns, too. However. DC is a truly great blend. And btw, if you haven't tried Strang, you are missing out on one of the best VaBur/Pers in the entire world. It's even better than Director's Cut... in my opinion, anyway. I'd list Strang as one of the top five tobaccos I have ever smoked, and if I could afford to buy it from Germany, I'd corner the market on it.

    Here's my review of Motzek Strang:
    This is a rope blend that cuts into coins fairly easily, though you should definitely dry it some before smoking because it will smoke wet. I packed the bottom with loose tobacco, stacked the coins, adding a little loose tobacco on top for an easier char lighting. By stacking the coins, you'll get all the flavors in nearly every puff, but if you decide to cube cut first, you'll be in for a variety of flavors in varying degrees per puff. The flavors are bold and forceful. A naturally tasting earthy, very slightly sweet brown Virginia amplified by strong nutty, earthy burleys, and further fueled by a blast of peppery perique. It's a flavor bomb, but not so powerful that it would knock you to your knees. A blend for discriminating smokers best served and sipped in a pipe with a wide bowl to savor the full experience of high quality tobaccos. Expensive and available only from Germany, it's one of the most entrancing blends ever made by anybody.

    Director's Cut:
    I'm not comparing this to the Vaper Bell's Three Nuns, but there have been times as I've smoked a bowl that I got a sense of that flavor. I think there's a little more perique and certainly more burley here than either the old or new Three Nuns. This is also a stronger smoke with more variety of flavors, all of which are amazingly wonderful. The perique is spicy and raisin/fig-like, so it's very complimentary without dominating the other tobaccos. The Kentucky is a tasty presence, at just the right amount to notice. Depending on how you stack the tobacco in the bowl, the flavor will change as you smoke it down. Sweet, spicy and a little sour at various times from puff to puff, there's not a weak or bad puff ever. Because it is very complex, the bigger the bowl you smoke it in, the more you will value the experience. One of the many things I really enjoy is that this has a full rounded smoke and doesn't overwhelm you any. I sure wish it was available for sale in the US. One of the best tobacco mixtures I've ever smoked.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  39. pipebow88

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    Peck, Jim, why would you two go on about these two tobaccos to the point of having me salivating. Only to find out that it's hopeless and neither can be had in the US! I was trying to read faster through Jims description of Directors Cut, figuring surely atleast it could be had here.
    B

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    timpiper

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    Your welcome mrlowercase.
    It seems evident that the sales were poor for Gallaher roll & bar - 3.5%
    Whiskey Flake - 3.3% 3 Nuns - 2.3% Player's Med Navy Cut - 1.2%

    Must have been why they were taken off the market.

    I've heard that Whiskey Flake was a good smoke.

    -Tim

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    timpiper

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    Your welcome escioe.
    Will try to keep everyone informed.

    One thing I've learnt is if you add to much flavouring to a blend is becomes a very nasty experience.
    Couple of times it put me off smoking for a while.

    -Tim

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    timpiper

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    Thanks for the reviews Jim.
    I've heard a lot of great things about Director's Cut.
    I will be sure to get a couple of tins soon.
    Never heard of Motzek Strang before, another one added to the list !!!!

    Synjeco in Switzerland I believe have a number of ropes/twists that contain perique
    http://www.pipesandtobaccos.com/pataall/taba/2020.php?i5s1s2

    Also a blend called bad nun II which has perique
    http://www.pipesandtobaccos.com/pataall/taba/2010.php?i5s1s1

    Haven't ordered from them as they want you to send your credit card details by fax to keep on record.
    Then you have to email them an order form to make an order. Not as easy as I'm used to with every other online shop I order from.

    Is there any way you/we can convince Macbaren to make an original recipe version of three nuns.
    Can we start a partition or something.
    I noticed smokingpipes has three nuns near the top of their sales chart, so it must be a good seller.
    Macbaren does make multiple versions of their blends, like mixture modern, mixture flake etc

    They couldn't change the current version as folks who now love it would complain, ironic but true I'm sure.

    Thanks -Tim

    Posted 4 years ago #
  43. jiminks

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    Timpiper: I've talked to the Sutliff people more than once about getting MacBaren to make to VaPer Three Nuns. MacBaren is under license to make the version they are making now, so that won't change. But even if they decide to make a VaPer version, unless they get the tobaccos from the same place Imperial did, it still would not taste like I would want it to. I like the new version, but would give every forum members' first born for a return to the old production.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  44. andrew

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    @Tim piper that is one of the best posts I've ever seen on here, it should be made into a sticky and it's own thread.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  45. misterlowercase

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    @Tim piper that is one of the best posts I've ever seen on here, it should be made into a sticky and it's own thread.

    Hear hear!

    I agree.

    Tim did some very deep digging and lifted the mysterious veil in many regards!

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    timpiper

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    Thanks Andrew and Misterlowercase

    The main aim is to bring attention to the fact that this blend can be made "closer" the original old recipe.
    Its not a secret !!!!

    I do hope some day soon we will see a return of the original recipe.

    BTW - Why do I feel like some fried chicken all of a sudden :o)

    -Tim

    Posted 4 years ago #
  47. mso489

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    I doubt the old timers who smoked the old Three Nuns will agree that a new version is
    as good. The mystique of the unattainable is strong. But blenders might come up with
    a good blend based on the current varieties of leaf.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  48. papipeguy

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    This has been a fascinating thread but I have one question regarding the "new" Three Nuns. What would you think of the blend if it was named Acme Blend? I just smoked some and liked it so I don't care what it's called. I also just read in the JR Tobacco catalog that the new stuff has a honey topping.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  49. docwatson

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    I was fortunate enough to have smoked a fair amount of the Original 3 Nuns and it will never be equalled. It's gone. The same tobaccos are no longer, and the recipe and toppings will never be duplicated. Just my selfish opinion. However, some old time tobacco hoarders occasionally sell it on eBay as most have seen. The latest 100 gram tin went for over $400.00 which is no more than a serious wine collector would spend for a vintage bottle. I believe there is presently another tin for sale on eBay.
    No, it is not mine, all I have is empty tins left, but I do have plenty of other great vintage tobaccos listed ending next week!!!

    It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling---Mark Twain
    Posted 4 years ago #
  50. jiminks

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    docwatson: I agree with you in everything you said, but one. Even after Orlik got their hands on Three Nuns and substituted Kentucky for perique, the other tobaccos used were the same as the VaPer version. They were making Three Nuns until early last year, so it seems to me that the tobaccos used could still be had. Given that, I think it likely that a company, getting their hands on that tobaccos, and going back to using perique would give us the closest thing to VaPer Three Nuns possible. A big "if", I know, since the license for the recipe is with MacBaren now. But who knows what may happen in the future? The right blender reading this entire thread might be bold enough to do it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    If you are going to attempt making this don't use Ouzo, get the real stuff. Anise oil is about 80% anethole. Star Anise can also be used, it has a slightly less amount of anethole in it. Additionally, there are 2 types of Perique used, not sure what "manufactured Perique" is compared to just regular Perique

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    timpiper

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    Yes Ouzo has a rather small amount of anethole.
    I have a bottle of pure anethole that I ordered online.
    This is very very potent stuff. I get some on your fingers and you smell like anise for the whole day.
    1 drop is enough for a two or three tins (or more) of three nuns I reckon.
    It needs to be dissolved in 150 proof dark navy rum as a lower proof has too much water in it.

    Its very hard to get the ratios correct. As the recipes are for 100lb of tobacco.
    The recipe works out at approx 20 parts rum to 1 part anethole.
    I worked out that approx one spray from a perfume bottle of this is enough to flavour a whole 50g tin.
    For my experiments, I had to dilute it with more rum as its hard to cover 50g of tobacco with one spray.

    If you use to much it makes you feel ill when you smoke it.
    The right amount is very tricky to achieve.

    The perique substitute appears to be a type of Cavendish, as they steam it (I suspect Virginia) under pressure for a long time until it goes black.

    There's a lot of process in the production method I cannot replicate as I don't have the machinery/skill/patience.
    They heat and dry to certain temps and moisture levels, also heat the tobacco to a certain temp and before the rum/anethole mixture is sprayed on.

    Read up on the production process here -

    Three Nuns Manufacturing process
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ohz46a99/pdf

    -Tim

    Posted 4 years ago #
  53. haparnold

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    Seriously pulling a Lazarus on this long-dead thread, but this one goes into my "best threads hall of fame"! Timpiper's research is fascinating.

    I've been smoking Doblone d'Oro the last couple of days, which has sparked an interest in Three Nuns. I think Jim and others have mentioned Dd'O as the closest modern approximation of the VA/Per Three Nuns?

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 1 month ago #
  54. cortezattic

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    Jesse thinks so, and he would know. Of course, now, there's 3N Green...

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    I smoked a lot of late 1970's version (orange circular border, solid brown/black , not wood grain, interior) and Doblones d'Oro is still the closest thing to it I have found. 3N Green isn't as strong IMO, more like the 80's - 90's wimpy version of 3Nuns.

    Have not seen this thread. Extremely interesting!

    ETA-. They use a solid interior, not wood grain, for the circle now, but the tins say made in Denmark.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  56. sablebrush52

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    I'd still rank Doblone D'Oro as the closest neighbor to the older Va/Per Three Nuns. The other Three Nuns all follow different Orders.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 1 month ago #
  57. ashdigger

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    Take this for what it's worth, a free opinion. I've smoked 3 Nuns from 2 square tins (I know its not original, but it's not the round tin garbage in current production) and I think Doblone D'Oro is close. If its not the closest, at least it tastes really good.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 month ago #
  58. jiminks

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    I've been saying for years that Doblone d'Oro is the closest to the old Three Nuns there has been since the formula for it was changed.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  59. mso489

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    Is the current product plain awful or just not in the spirit of the good original blend? Is it suffering by comparison, or just a bad blend. Ash' says garbage, so I guess that's how it tastes to him. Some matches aren't good matches, but do nicely in their own right.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  60. rdavid

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    Doblone d'Oro is the closest to the old Three Nuns there has been since the formula for it was changed.

    Great... The PAD monster awakens.

    "May my last breath be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled in a jest." Charles Lamb
    Posted 1 month ago #
  61. haparnold

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    Is the current product plain awful or just not in the spirit of the good original blend? Is it suffering by comparison, or just a bad blend. Ash' says garbage, so I guess that's how it tastes to him. Some matches aren't good matches, but do nicely in their own right.

    MSO, a lot of people really like the new Three Nuns. I have some, but haven't tried it yet. It would need to be pretty darn good to be worth the premium price they're asking for it, esp. when Doblone d'Oro is so good, and is only a couple dollars more for twice as much as Three Nuns.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  62. ashdigger

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    Hap, they are selling the name. They are not selling "pretty darn good" anything, but a name.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  63. rdavid

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    Sorry... Meant TAD monster in the above post. Too late to edit.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    I do find it a bit odd about the name no longer matching the blend. While I do enjoy the current dark-fired blend, I won't buy anymore because of the cost and the fact that there are plenty of good alternatives. At least when I buy Capstan Blue, the name comes with a Virginia flake.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    The "old" 3 Nuns went through several changes from roughly the Post WWII era on, even when it was still made in the UK. There were, as has been documented on Pipes Magazine, different versions made by Imperial (which acquired the rights to Bell's in 1904) at the same time. MacBarens is certainly capable of making a good blend, and I certainly wouldn't say the versions of 3 Nuns they make now are "bad." But Doblones d'Oro tastes more like the version of 3Nuns that was on the market in the US in the late 1970's and early 1980's than anything I have tasted since.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  66. jiminks

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    A few years back, I smoked a few bowls of Three Nuns from WW2. Some of the topping had dissipated, but it was spicier than the versions I smoked from the 1980s until Orlik swapped out the perique for Kentucky.

    New Year's of 2018, I opened a 2001 tin of Three Nuns, and compared it with Doblone d'Oro. The former lost a touch of topping and it seemed to me the the latter tasted more like aged Thee Nuns rather than the fresh version that I was used to, though the perique was a half step less than the three ladies were.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  67. npod

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    Jim and Jesse both turned me on to Doblone d’Oro about two years ago. It is in my top 5 tobacco list. I stocked up very deep and I am at peace of mind to spread the gospel. But here is the thing, it’s not “amazing” and it’s not going to make you a better person and it won’t set your chakras into harmony. But it is wonderful everyday tobacco and one I would miss dearly if we lose it in the future.

    P.S., I’ve never tried the original version of three ladies. I just love Doblone d’Oro as a wonderful everyday smoke.

    Neal
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    "it’s not “amazing” and it’s not going to make you a better person and it won’t set your chakras into harmony."

    Neal, when God handed out chakras, he missed me. I do think it is "amazing" that MacBarens came so damn close to the old time taste and strength. I am not a better person for having smoked it, but I hope I am not discernibly worse.

    And I, too, have Jim and Jesse to thank.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  69. seanv

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    I’ve had doblone d oro on my list for a while. You guys have bumped it up to be on my next order. I also have a newish tin of three nuns in the cellar, it will be my next open

    Posted 1 month ago #
  70. haparnold

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    Yep, I never would have tried Dd'O without this gang, but boy am I grateful I did. It's one of my favorites as well.

    And if I ever rub a weird lamp and Robin Williams pops out, the first thing I'm wishing for is for Dd'O to be available in bulk. Or maybe a million more wishes...

    Posted 1 month ago #

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