By Bob Tate
I just thought that I would explain a little bit about how I do my tobacco reviews. Everybody has a different way of doing a review and I wanted to explain my way so everyone understands them a little more. When I do a review, I do them from a flavor perspective. I do not get into the whole break down of the tobaccos in the blend and get into all of the details and science of the tobacco components. I do list the components in the blend as well as other information in the layout at the bottom of my reviews. When I do my reviews, I do them from a smoking perspective.
What I mean by that is; I try to hit all of the points that I think are important for the smoking enjoyment for the average pipe smoker. I try to explain the moisture content, aroma, flavors, bite, etc. I try to be very objective in my reviews as well. A blend has to be absolutely terrible for me to give it a bad review and I would be hesitant to do it even then because taste is a subjective thing. To be honest though, I have never really had a pipe blend that I would call absolutely terrible. Every pipe blend that I have tried, I have found it to be a smokable blend even if I didn’t enjoy it that much.
Those of you who smoke cigars as well as pipes will understand when I use this next comparison. I have had some cigar blends that are absolutely horrendous and un-smokable. When I say un-smokable, I mean that the flavor and taste are so foul that I can not take more than a few puffs of it. Like I have said, I have never had a pipe blend that I consider un-smokable. Yes, there are some blends that are not my cup of tea, but they are not foul either. The closest that I could come to an un-smokable blend would be one that bites me badly. But then I will still not bash the blend because of this could be due to body chemistry and all that. What bites me might not bite the next person.
I have proof of that. There are several blends that bite the heck out of me but do not bite other people. There are some blends that no matter what I do (different pipes, packing methods, moisture levels, etc.) bite me so badly that I get no enjoyment at all from the blend. But these same blends do not bite other pipers at all. In this case, I will note in my review that the blend did bite me just to let my readers know that there is a possibility that it could bite them, but I do not say that the blend is bad.
I also try to be very objective in my reviews but people are slaves to their prejudices, this is just human nature. Sometimes I really elaborate about a blend that I love and sometimes I will be a little lack luster in a review of a blend that I don’t like. I do not intend to do this, but sometimes it happens. We all know what that is like. When we really like or love something, we have a tendency to really express the way we feel about it and why. When we don’t like something, we are not that all that keen to elaborate much about it.
Now that I have explained a little bit about how I write up my reviews, the last thing to explain is my different levels of recommending. This is what my scale is on recommendations:
•Highly Recommend – A blend that I really like and/or love, it will be in my favorites. I will smoke it frequently and start adding a lot of it to my cellar.
•Recommend – This category is kind of difficult to explain. The blends that fall in this category are solid blends that I am sure others will like and/or love. Some of them I like and enjoy, but only on occasion. In this case, I would buy more to keep on hand, but they wouldn’t be a frequent smoke for me.
Some of them I kind of like, but I wouldn’t miss them if I never smoked them again. In this case, I would probably not buy them again.
•Somewhat Recommend – A blend that I do not care for and/or do not like. I would not buy it again and might give away the rest of what I have.
•Do Not Recommend – A blend that is absolutely horrible, so horrible that I could not finish a bowl. (So far, I have never had a blend that ranked this.)
Remember to always make a decision for yourself even after reading tobacco reviews. I have read some reviews for blends that had me nervous to try them. But I tried the blend anyway and sometimes I really liked the blend and it made it into my favorites. Don’t be afraid to try new blends, even if it has some not so stellar reviews. Your tastes are your tastes and that blend might be right up your alley and make it into your favorites.