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Review: Mac Baren Plumcake

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    Blend Name: Mac Baren Plumcake

    Tin Description: Manufactured from choice matured tobaccos to bring out this golden brown pipe tobacco. A mixture of fully ripe Virginia tobaccos, sliced, cask mellowed Burley tobaccos, dark spicy Cavendish and just a touch of Latakia. To give Plumcake an elegant aroma the blend has been flavoured with aged Jamaica Rum.

    Leaf: Burley, Cavendish, Latakia, Virginia

    Appearance: Light, medium, and dark tobaccos equally distributed throughout in a ribbon cut.

    Tin Aroma: Interesting interplay of light smokiness from the latakia and some vague sweetness that I can only guess is the rum topping. Reminds me in a lot of ways of Frog Morton’s Cellar, with rum instead of whiskey being the sweetening agent, though this is seemingly lighter on the latakia. I expect the taste to be similar as well.

    Taste: A sweet note balanced with latakia. It’s a somewhat odd mixture of latakia with what otherwise would be a straight aromatic blend. But I don’t dislike it, per se. I had to slow down while smoking it because I started to get bitten a bit, but when smoking it very, very slowly I found it to not be so bad. The fruit-like flavor builds up as the bowl progresses, and the latakia fades into the background a bit more, with the ever so slightly nuttiness of the burley and the sweetness of the Virginia and Cavendish taking a more prominent place. There is also a little bit of spice, maybe from just the tongue bite, but I think is probably more from the zestiness of the burley and Virginia interplay.

    I should also address my initial observation that this was similar on first smell to Frog Morton’s Cellar. I’d consider this more of an aromatic, as it’s very light on the latakia. But definitely similar in the sense that a sweet, alcohol-based topping is combined with latakia to create a blend that somewhat loosely fits a middle aro-English category.

    Strength and Nicotine: On the low side strength and nicotine-wise. Not that it ever was billed as a nicotine bomb or anything like that. It’s an easy smoking aromatic crossover, so the nicotine is supposed to be low. But you have to be conscious of the bite, which threatens to creep up at any time.

    Smokeability: Nicely smokeable, as long as you keep an eye on your cadence. I don’t know if I would smoke more than one bowl of this in a row as I’d be afraid of a scorched tongue if I got careless as I tend to do on a second bowl (because I’m lazy). However, because this blend occupies an interesting middle ground blend type-wise I think it would be something I would smoke on occasion.

    Room Note: Sweet room note with a very background note of latakia. I think this is what I always had in mind when thinking of an old time pipe blend. Which makes sense, as this blend was introduced decades ago!

    Thoughts: An aromatic crossover blend that has a bit of interest with the addition of latakia. It is a dessert tobacco if there ever was one, something to sit back and savor with a glass of brandy or cognac.

    Recommend to: An aromatic smoker, a non-aromatic smoker who would like something sweeter for themselves or their guests. Someone who likes Frog Morton’s Cellar. Nicotine addicts need not apply.

    Summary: A sweet Mac Baren blend that has some interesting points and flavors. Sweetness is tempered by the latakia, and creates a taste that is a combination of a very light English and an aromatic. Lay back and relax in your leather recliner with this blend after dinner. It’s just that sort of blend.

    My Background: I’ve been smoking for about three years. Have all types of pipes in all different price ranges, and have tried a lot of tobaccos. My favorites are Vas, VaBurs, VaPers (lots of different flakes) and I also love pressed Englishes (flakes and cakes).

    Disclosure: I contacted Sutliff myself a few months ago to ask to be a part of their reviewing team. I was accepted and have been receiving gratis Sutliff products in the mail. The only condition on this free tobacco was to provide honest reviews to the community, so this is one of many that I'll be doing as part of the program.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. chasingembers

    Embers

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    Very good review. One of my regular blends BTW. Been a piper for over twenty years, and had the same thoughts of similarity to Frog Morton's Cellar myself. For your next bowl of Plumcake, let it dry for twenty to twenty-five minutes to take the "Mac Bite" out. Happy smoking!

    Duane

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Just had a couple bowls of Plumcake today. I enjoy this one. It is an odd flavor, but it grows on you. I believe it is naturally spicy, even for those of us who don't get Mac bite. I like the spice but like you, I wouldn't smoke it all day.

    Congrats on the Sutliff score!

    p.s. I'm inordinately glad you spelled plumcake correctly (not plumbcake!)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. delro

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    Nice review, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Sutliff blends. I always see them around, but have yet to purchase any.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    danimal

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    I have the typical new guy habit of smoking to fast so I got bit bad by this blend twice but I slowed down a lot now I love it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. tarak

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    I really don't care for the "odd flavor" I find it a bit off putting. In fact, I have 4oz (minus 1 or 2 bowls) that has been jarred since 2013 that I probably want to trade!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. andystewart

    andystewart

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    Thanks for an excellent review. I bought some of this in Berlin when I was in a rush in a railway station and - although it doesn't fit my usual diet of Va, VaPer and VaBur, I enjoyed the tin I had.

    Andy

    "I don’t know how else to say it: you don’t see bums smoking pipes." Charlie Kramer
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. brudnod

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    I thought the first tin opened was a bit bipolar; you could detect the sweet Virginia and almost separately the latakia. Not particularly well blended for my tastes. However, it is just the kind of blend that should age very well and I have a bunch of tins cellaring for a retry in a year.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. huntertrw

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    "However, it is just the kind of blend that should age very well..."

    You are correct, Sir! I have a 100-gram tin which I opened on December 26, 2005, and I can say that I find it ages VERY well.

    Love Me, Love My Pipe
    Posted 4 years ago #

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