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I Tried My First Virginia Today

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  1. zonomo

    zonomo

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    My HH Virginia Mature arrived today. Oh my, I did not like it at all. I didn't like the smell or the taste. Do I need to give it a few bowls? I tried it in a brand new Savinelli pipe.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. taerin

    Eric

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    Give it some time to age, VA's if they come out too early, taste horrible, but end up being amazing later on after some aging.

    "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
    Mark Twain
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. wallace

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    Too bad, I love that stuff!
    I'd do what Eric says, put it on a shelf and try it in a few months. I'm pretty new to this also and have found that my tastes have developed to where I like some things now that didn't appeal to me when I first started.

    Edit: I wouldn't expect the flavor to change much in a few months. More for you than the baccy.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. cigrmaster

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    Smoking Virginia's takes practice. First off you tried it in a brand new pipe with no cake, secondly you have never tasted that flavor before so you don't really know what to look for. Also if you did not dry it enough or smoked it too fast and did not pack it right, you won't get much flavor. When Virginia's are smoked in a broken in pipe with a nice cake and sipped slowly, the flavors come out in a harmony of deliciousness. Do not give up, stay with it and keep practicing, it will come.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    HH Mature Virginia is my favorite blend.

    Not much to add to what Wallace and Harris suggest here, except to stress to let it dry (pinch test), sip it very slowly, and trying a new blend in a broken-in pipe is best -- hopefully a pipe that's not been used to smoke heavy aromatics or English blends.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. shawn622

    shawn622

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    +1 Harris

    There's nothing quite like tobacco: it's the passion of decent folk, and whoever lives without tobacco doesn't deserve to live.
    -Moliere
    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. zonomo

    zonomo

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    OK - how do I dry it?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. crpntr1

    Chris

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    Set some out on a piece o paper
    Don't give up

    The most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen...not necessarily in that order

    You may all go to hell, I'll go to Texas-Davy Crockett
    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. sparroa

    simenon

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    From the descriptions I've seen, HH Mature Virginias is also a little bit of a different animal than your average Virginia.

    It is probably not the best choice as an introduction.

    "22 different tobaccos are included in this blend and of these 15 are Virginia tobaccos. Before blending the tobacco the Virginias has been stored for years to mature and develop the final aromas, just like when good wine is put aside for aging. Virginia types like bright yellow/golden leaf, mature red/mahogany leaf, dark Virginia and a Black Virginia Cavendish are blended and left to store so that each tobacco taste marry into a taste unity. To enhance and support the Virginias a touch of Oriental is added and finally the taste is rounded with just an easy hand of pressed Burley."

    PLUS it is topped with red wine balsamic. Yes, red wine balsamic.

    "the HH Mature Virginia, one of the top flavors is red wine balsamic. What its used for is mixing salads and stuff like that. So, we get to the, shall we say the normal kitchen and just use it to get this very distinct flavor, and that’s the only top flavor."

    That is from our very own PipesMagazine articles - straight from the horses mouth, or in this case Per Jensen's...

    In other words, it is a very "busy" blend with a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I have never tried it, but honestly the descriptions above are not making rush out and find it...

    Pick a more conventional VA and try again. Meanwhile, keep trying the HH Mature Virginia and if you can't get any satisfaction out of it then jar it up for a few months and try again with more experience under your belt.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. hfearly

    hfearly

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    +1 to Harris answer. Virginias when not aged right, prepared right, and smoked in the right pipe are a horrible horrible experience. But when it all comes together nicely, one of the finest experiences you can have in the hobby.

    If I may make a recommendation - trt some Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake, and cut the flake into little cubes. Pick a pipe with a small diameter, high bowl ("chimney"). Gravity fill, light pressure on top. Take your time to light evenly. Smoke slowly. Chances are you will very much enjoy it.

    Suffering from a serious case of "EPARD", also known as the Estate Pipe Acquisition and Restoration Disorder.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. sparroa

    simenon

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    I also did not notice that you were using a brand new pipe.

    That probably goes a long way towards explaining why it tastes so bad.

    The pipe needs to be broken in.

    My comments remain though about HH Mature Virginia being an atypical Virginia blend so as hfearly says BBF or even Orlik Golden Slices/Dunhill Flake/McClelland etc would be better candidates to gauge your taste for Virginias right off the bat.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    These VA's are much milder and forgiving in terms of technique:

    SG Best Brown Flake
    GH Best Brown #2
    McClelland VA #22

    Also, what Harris said. Dry it out, pack lightly, smoke slowly. You'll get the hang of it, and it will become second nature, but you really have to coax the sweet VA taste out of these tobaccos. Smoke too hot and all you'll get is just a bunch of hot, smokey air. Don't give up, you'll get the hang of it pretty soon.

    My first experiences with VA's were very disappointing, but now I smoke them twice as often as latakia blends.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    OK - how do I dry it?

    Do the Pinch Test to dry it properly:

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/drying-question#post-315120

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I have never tried it, but honestly the descriptions above are not making rush out and find it...

    Sorry, but an opinion from anyone who've never tried a blend certainly tends to mollify my opinion of their opinion somewhat.

    Like anything else, one's sow's ear is another's silk purse.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. flyguy

    flyguy

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    Roth is right. Sip it very slowly. If you puff it too fast, Virginias will have a harsh taste. Sipping it slowly will reveal the true flavor.

    “Apples for walking, and a pipe for sitting.”
    ― Samwise Gamgee
    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. dhizzy

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    I've tried it and think its an excellent blend but probably would've felt the same way as the op when I was beginning.

    By the eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing - "carry a message to Garcia!" Elbert Hubbard "A Message to Garcia" 1899
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I've tried it and think its an excellent blend but probably would've felt the same way as the op when I was beginning.

    Good point!

    What's also nice about HH Mature Virginia is that it ages wonderfully.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. cortezattic

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    I agree with simenon. HH Mature Virginia is way too complex as an introduction to Virginias. The tin note smells like Pepto Bismol to me, though that doesn't come through in the flavor. It is wine-like and smoky tasting with a suggestion of grassiness in the background. It's kind of unique, and not representative of the genre. It answers the question, "What's a good Va blend?"; but the question should be, "What's a good example of a straight Va blend?"

    For a much more conventional experience, smoke a straight Virginia like:
    4th Generation 1855 (a personal favorite),
    Sam Gawith Medium Virginia Flake,
    Mac Baren Virginia #1 (just a touch sharper than the rest)
    Gawith & Hoggarth Bright CR Flake,
    Esoterica Peacehaven (a bit more complicated, grassy, pungent and wine-like).
    McClelland #27 (or #22 if outdoors)

    There are many, many others out there to develop your palate. Go to LuxuryTobaccoReviews.com, which categorizes blends:

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

    simenon

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    Roth,

    It could be the best Virginia blend in the world but you can't argue that it is a typical one judging from its construction and casing alone. One could also say that the maker is not known for its prowess with Virginias. (Save perhaps for #1, with its fairly mixed reviews)

    My opinion, to be succinct, is that I have no interest in trying it.

    With hundreds of blends out there today, one can't be expected to try them all.

    That doesn't mean that I can't help the OP diagnose his dilemma with the blend. If you reread my post I did not condemn HH Mature Virginia but I provided him with objective information about its composition alongside of my subjective skepticism...

    It certainly sounds complex, and as you can probably appreciate, that is a blessing to some and a curse for others.

    Anyway I have said my piece and zonomo can take it if he finds it helpful or he can leave it if he finds it is full of hot air. I personally hope that it was somewhat useful as it could help keep him on the path of VAs despite a rough start.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    mustanggt

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    Some tobacco is not a good starter blend and this one is it for you apparantly. I really like it and consider it my top Virginia for now. Till something comes along I like better but I doubt it. So like everyone else has said give it a chance and revisit later after you've had more experience with other Va.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. mikephillips

    mikephillips

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    Mustang, can you tell me a little about that matured va this topic is discussing? I'm looking for something akin to Dunhill's 3 year matured...it was one of my favorites but as I'm sure you know, can't be had now.

    Any help appreciated (from anyone).

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    can you tell me a little about that matured virginia this topic is discussing? I'm looking for something akin to Dunhill's 3 year matured...it was one of my favorites but as I'm sure you know, can't be had now.

    Any help appreciated (from anyone).

    I can't speak to the Dunhill you mentioned. But I can talk about Mac Baren HH Mature Virginia (HHMV) as I have been smoking it for years and it is one of my favorite go-to blends.

    It is correct that HHMV is complex. HHMV is also unlike any "virginia blend" I've tried and I've smoked a great many of them -- virginia blends are my favorites. Maybe it's the 22 different tobaccos (not all of them virginia leaf) in the blend. Maybe the "funky" topping (I mean balsamic? Who woulda thought?).

    For your edification (and your salutations, if you try it and like it half as much as I do) is my review, posted here (in some forgotten thread) as well as on http://www.tobaccoreviews.com :

    HH Matured Virginia, has been a go-to for me for quite a while and I always have more of it cellared than anything else. I'm a sucker for VAs and I like most quality VA/oriental blends. I mix some in to certain blends myself on occasion (usually Izmir, which I use as a condiment -- C&D's is good quality, it's pure, in bulk and it's inexpensive). There's like two dozen or so tobacco's in the HHMV and there's a bit of oriental in that blend. -- maybe that's one reason why I like it. But not the only reason. Mac Baren uses a bunch of various Virginias, but there's also lesser, but quite discernible amounts of burley and cavendish in there. If you're expecting Veermaster, SG FVF, Blackwoods Flake or the like, forget it -- HHMV isn't similar or comparable to those. It's unique. The tin note, in addition to the obvious matured virginia scent, reminds me of Calvados barrels on the farms in Normandy back in the 80's -- but not topped or flavored AFAIK. It's ribbon cut, well blended and easy to pack to the "Springiness" I prefer. With a new bag or tin, if some is to be smoked right away, I find it needs some drying. If in a 3.5 oz. tin, drying becomes unnecessary after a week or so (depending on the local ambient temperature and RH). This tobacco, of course, has to be sipped slowly to fully enjoy. Strength and Nic are more medium than mild for me a little sharp, which I like, but never bitter. As one would expect, the complexity is there, but different and more subtle than other "in your face" VAs, such as FVF or even Irish Flake.
    Good God, I'm going on forever here. Just go out and buy a tin of it (100g tin is also very reasonable BTW). You won't regret it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. nsfisher

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    I love Virginias, but I can't smoke them. Way too sensitive, no matter how much I dry them out. If you are trying Virg. for the first time mate, may I make a few suggestions?

    1) Dry the baccy out a little more than you usually would, just to take a bit of the sting away untill you get used to it

    2) Smoke it WAY slower than you normally would smoke your other baccys and keep it burning gently

    3) You said you smoked it in a Brand New Pipe? I suggest you try it in a well broken pipe, one that you know smokes cool.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. mikephillips

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    Roth,

    I've read your review on tobaccoreviews before, it's just a little difficult to guess whether something is similar to something else by just reading reviews. I've read reviews about two tobaccos that would make you think they're identical only find they're nothing at all alike when I try them both out.

    Dunhill's 3 year matured was a combination of VA's and orientals, with a fruity aroma...one of the very few aromatics I've ever liked, though it's not really an aromatic in the sense of an American aromatic.

    Royal yacht was another I really liked, but didn't buy it often...I prefer to buy in bulk.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. bigboi

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    I am slowly but surely getting into Virginias. The best advice like everyone is suggesting is to dry it out and take it slow.
    I am really enjoying my mixture right now!

    “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs.”
    -Albert Einstein, 1950
    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. samcoffeeman

    samcoffeeman

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    Oops. I was scrolling too fast and I thought the title of this thread read " I Tried My First Vagina Today" lol. Funny, change the word from Virginia throughout this thread and read it again.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
    that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights,
    that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. mlyvers

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    take your time with virginias. there many to choose from. you will have to reserch yourself. some are strong, some are mild, then you have the ones that fall in between strong and mild. i would sugest a mature virgina from mccellands. they have brown label virginias and mature viginias. they also have bulk virginia. smoke slow with virginias. good luck to you.

    mike.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. rmbittner

    rmbittner

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    zonomo:

    Don't base your opinions of Virginia blends on this one alone. As others have noted, this is not a straight-Virginia blend by any means. It is not representative of a Virginia-only blend.

    For a straight Virginia, I would highly recommend Rattray's Old Gowrie and Samuel Gawith's Full Virginia Flake (but that's currently hard to find). There are also any number of Virginia blends from McClelland you might enjoy. (It's been so long since I've had any straight Virginias from them other than Dark Star that I don't know what would be best for you. Dark Star, while wonderful, probably shouldn't be your first straight Virginia; it requires some work and patience to reap its benefits.)

    Bob

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    mustanggt

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    Not familiar with dunhills. I'm buying up all the Virginia I can afford. I believe the reason you must sip slowly and savor the smoke is to be able to taste the more subtle flavors of that tobacco. Tongue bite may or may not result, in my experience, if you puff too fast but you will surely miss all the flavor possible with each blend. Trying va/pers is another way to ease into straight Virginias. I started out that way but not on purpose. It just turned out that way.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. zonomo

    zonomo

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    Well, maybe I just too new at this to really appreciate it. I remember when I started drinking red wine, they all tasted bad but I have a very particular red wine taste now. I tried another bowl and had the same experience. Now i have taken an ounce out and put it on a plate to dry out. We'll see. I smoke some hobbits weed afterward and boy was that delightful, at least to me.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    mustanggt

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    There is a huge variety of Virginias out there so I'm sure you can find one. Briar fox by C&D as well as exhausted rooster are very tasty and don't have the ketchup or vinegar smell to them at least to my nose.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. zonomo

    zonomo

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    Thanks for all the advice guys - I will definitely stick with it, dry it out, smoke it slooooooooowly. I also think I am going to take nsfisher's advice and smoke it in an broken in pipe.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Not familiar with dunhills.

    AFAIK, the only Dunhill straight virginia is Dunhill Flake.

    Also, it might be useful to know that an actual 100% virginia pipe tobacco blend is hard to find.

    Even if they don't tell you, most Master Blenders add a bit of burley to "round out" a vigrinia blend.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I remember when I started drinking red wine, they all tasted bad

    That's an excellent recollection and a wonderful way to point out that it takes a lot of patience, time and effort to appreciate wine; more than a few people, it's very sad for them, never do.

    The analogy between truly understanding and appreciating of pipe smoking and of wine are quite apropos -- the big difference is that pipe smoking takes a great deal longer to "get it."

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. rmbittner

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    The analogy between truly understanding and appreciating of pipe smoking and of wine are quite apropos -- the big difference is that pipe smoking takes a great deal longer to "get it."

    It's also much easier to meet with other wine aficionados, pick up wine books at any good bookstore, watch educational wine videos, and visit vineyards and tasting rooms. The options for those wishing to learn about and discuss pipes and tobaccos are far more limited. Seventy years ago, odds were good that most people knew someone personally who smoked a pipe. Your mentor could be a friend, a parent or grandparent, the guys at the local tobacconist.

    The Internet is a great resource and a wonderful source for finding a similar community these days. But, you know, sometimes it's just nice to sit down beside a more-experienced pipe smoker for some face-to-face mentoring. I've learned things about wine from meeting winemakers and other fans that I've never encountered in books.

    I'm rambling. . . Maybe this is just turning into a plug for attending pipe shows. . .

    Bob

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. sparroa

    simenon

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    No, Bob, it is all very true and I have said the same thing myself.

    It is easy to educate yourself about wine, but to learn about tobacco is a solitary adventure for most.

    (Those fortunate enough to be able to attend said pipe shows or specialty tobacconists being the exception)

    I've got a few long out of print books on the way, but any information helps!

    I truly wish I knew someone who was a really experienced pipe smoker - it would be an honour to learn from them.

    Anyway, I think zonomo hit the nail on the hand - he probably needs to acclimate himself to the flavours of Virginias and try a wider variety, along with just giving the HH Mature Virginias some more time to sing...

    Re: Straight Virginias, the only blend I have seen where the blender guarantees it is 100% VA is Union Square. (uncased at that) Most of the rest do use a bit of burley for body or seasoning - or in the case of Orlik Golden Sliced, perique.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    supdog

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    I tried Wessex Brown Virginia Flake last night and thought it was amazing. The tin note was awesome and the smoke was fruity and sweet. I smoked it after a bowl of SPC Plum Pudding which was also very good.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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