- Kevin Godbee
- May 4, 2009
- 2 min read
I have to say that I’m definitely one of the many who have been fooled by the label on the tin. The last word in the title is not Beermaster … which is what I thought it was but Veermaster … a German sailing ship.
Despite the confusion with the name this tobacco, I was thinking it was for the King of Hamburgers and Beer, (maybe that’s me anyway) it has certainly turned out to be a very nice smoke with some great flavors.
The tin aroma is sweet berries, similar to other "Navy Flake" styles, like Mac Baren Navy Flake and Peterson University Flake. If you like those, you’ll love Hamborger Veermaster. Actually, the tin aroma on this one is even sweeter, perhaps raspberry. However, it doesn’t bite at all. This is a very fine tobacco. I’m sure one of those flavors I’ve detected reminds me of a BBQ sauce – sweet and tangy. It’s a very tasty Virginia that packs a lot of punch in the nicotine department. My first bowl got me a little buzzed. In addition to the sweet & tangy sensations, some of the sweet berry tastes come through, and as you progress, it changes to a berry herbal tea taste. I really enjoy this tobacco.
Hamborger Veermaster was perfect for smoking straight from the tin. It was just ever so slightly moist. It is a flake and rubbed out quite easily into small ribbons to easily pack your bowl. In the pipe it burns well and burns slowly so if you like to linger over your pipe … and who doesn’t … then this is a tobacco that will last. It burns down to a very fine white ash that is a fine powder.
I love Hamborger Veermaster and unfortunately, it is no longer made. So if you find it, buy all you can. It’s a comfortable smoke that you can enjoy when you just want to sit back and let the world roll by. Slippers, a hot drink and a warm fire come to mind when I think of this tobacco, just relaxing and recharging.
UPDATE DEC 4 2010: Hamborger Veermaster is in production again, so look for it at your favorite tobacconist.
Brand: Dan Tobacco
Blender: Dan Tobacco
Tin Description: Classic sailor’s flake tobacco made from rich Golden Virginias, sweet and mild.
Country of Origin: Germany
Curing Group: Air Cured
Packaging: 50g Tin
Flavoring: Extremely Mild
Room Note: Pleasant to Tolerable
Here’s a look inside the tin. Click the image for an extreme close-up.
Written by Kevin Godbee
View all posts by: Kevin Godbee
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Ah, the joys of spring. April showers bringing May flowers, trees budding, birds flitting in fits of joy, and hope springing eternal. As our friend e.e. cummings said, “always it’s spring and everyone’s in love”. Ah, love, yes, above all love. Have you ever fallen in love? With a pipe, that is. Yes, dear brothers of the briar, a pipe so fetching you are mesmerized by its glimmering beauty. Let’s go back some years. The Pundit was in an Alabama brick and mortar pipes and tobacco shop (memory says it was The Briary in Homewood) when naturally, the subject of pipes and tobacco took center stage in the conversation. The genteel chap behind the counter asked me if I had ever thought of owning a Claudio Cavicchi pipe? Well, no. For back in those youthful days I’d never even heard of a Cavicchi pipe, let alone a Claudio Cavicchi. “Oh,” said the gentleman behind the counter, “we have only a couple here. One is a gorgeous Canadian.” The Canadian was a blond beauty. 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Claudio also creates his seldom seen Perla as well as the extremely rare “Diamante,” both absolute zeniths of the Cavicchi line. But as youth are often unpredictable and sometimes dismay us elders with unique logic (strengths, my dear lads, for you usher in the new and keep us elders on our toes and we thank you for doing so!) so was I in those years so long ago. And for reasons I still cannot fathom, I let a pal talk me into trading my lovely Cavicchi Canadian for some sort of English pipe. Looking back in time from this wizened vantage, I must ask myself: what in the world was I thinking? “Nothing, apparently” is the only reply the universe has so far provided. That trade bothered me many years. Until this spring, that is dear reader. For reasons I cannot fathom, luck favored me again with the recent discovery of another beautiful blond Cavicchi Canadian. Yes, the price had gone up a bit, but that didn’t matter. I had to have the Canadian’s return to my precious herd. 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Buck said in The Good Earth, “and roots, if they are to bear fruits, must be kept well in the soil of the land.” For after all, what is briar but a root ball transformed by wood sculptors? If you need more encouragement, check out two wonderful pieces on Claudio: In The Workshop With Claudio Cavicchi June 22, 2016, by Shane Ireland in Makers and Artists …and Chuck Stanion’s A Closer Look At Claudio Cavicchi Dec. 17, 2018, in Makers and Artists at SmokingPipes.com I love these lines from Chuck’s insight into Cavicchi’s artistry: “This is a craftsman who knows pipes from many perspectives. He knows what makes a pipe smoke well and what makes a pipe look beautiful. He knows how to charm the briar to his bidding.” Now, concerning tobacco, if you wonder at Pundit’s preference for pure Virginia, please refer to the late and lamented McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake. I learned the Virginia break-in trick from a veteran pipe smoker, a medical doctor in fact, who taught me to always break in a new pipe with Virginia because of its ability to rid a new bowl of any lingering baddies and thereby prepare it for just about any sort of future tobacco blend you throw at it. His choice was McClelland’s 5100 Red Cake. That’s because Virginia tobaccos (along with burleys, perique, and Cavendish) play such a significant role in today’s blends. In olden times, pipe smokers pulled out a pouch of pure burley, loaded up, and smoked through the day. Today’s blenders are magicians, true chefs of tobacco blends. Now the Pundit is no tobacco blender, but I’m at least smart enough to abide the advice of veterans. If you’ll allow me to linger on the topic of blends, I’ll share with you by way of the Chicagoland Pipe Show that Virginia slices are a good choice when breaking in tobacco blends as well. And dear reader, […]
This cellar-diving kick is really paying off, considering the time and effort that went into stocking the coffers with tobacco meant to be enjoyed with some age on its side. This month’s candidate for review is a tin of JackKnife Plug dated 6th April 2011, among the first production runs of this blend from the New World Collection. Having done a release review for it and its fraternal twin JackKnife Ready Rubbed back in 2012, and seeing as this tin is just reaching its eleventeenth birthday, it seems a fitting time to revisit what Mr. Pease hath wrought. Opening the tin with no small amount of anticipation, one can really appreciate the way patience can pay off with tobacco. The aromatics release with a whoosh of pressure, itself an immensely satisfying sound while peeling back the lid. The scents fill the air immediately, strong and sweet tones that flood the entire room: up front, the rich bitter sweetness of a Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange, baker’s chocolate; developing over some time with nuances like rich mulched earth, brand new leather shoes, a phenolic tinge reminiscent of Dettol or pine tar, and an underlying meatiness of a lightly-charred steak. Over the course of a couple of weeks making my way through the tin, the aroma tempers down to a more familiar chocolate-covered cherry cordial with layers of parchment and a briney umami saltiness like soy or Worcestershire sauce. It’s tempting, with all this chocolaty aroma, to take a bite out of the brownie-like bar of tobacco, a feeling I’m surely not alone in contemplating. The presentation does however invite closer inspection of the tobacco, such a tangible thing when in bar form. This 11-year-old plug is only lightly dusted with the whitish ‘sugar crystals’ often found on aged Virginia blends, and peering into the layers from outermost to innermost there is a general uniformity of color and texture all the way through—again, and not to belabor the point, but the color is a rich, bitter dark chocolate-brown that perfectly mirrors the aromas. The composition of this blend is clearly no accident, no haphazard mashing together of leaf. Greg clearly set out with a goal in mind: exploring the breadth and depth of the character that could be created when working with the darling of the pipe tobacco world at the time, dark-fired Kentucky. Dark-fired enjoyed a bit of a heyday with the release of these GLP offerings, as well as a host of others such as MacBaren’s HH Old Dark Fired. Speaking on the composition of JK Plug versus Ready-Rubbed, he notes: The blend is identical, with one small exception. The plug is constructed with a core of brights, and the darker tobaccos surrounding it. This allows the brights, theoretically, to express themselves with more purity in the blend. They’re not under as great an influence from the fire-cured and red tobaccos. Doing this with the [Ready Rubbed] wouldn’t work well, because of the way the tobacco clumps, so the blocks are not stratified in this way. The same tobaccos in the same measures are just layered and pressed for the same length of time, then the blocks are sliced and tumbled. It’s the same technique used for the Old London mixtures. It was also clearly intended with aging in mind; again, in Greg’s own words: When I first designed the stuff, I had no idea what the future would bring. There was certainly no reason to think it would do anything but age wonderfully, but you never know. The plug form causes internal anaerobic fermentation, while the outer layers are still exposed to plenty of air. The other night, I opened an 8-month old tin of the final prototype. The aroma was intoxicating, and the smoke was HUGE. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to age really, really nicely. And quickly. I would have believed the tobacco in that tin to have been 5 years old already. With more than a decade under the hood waiting to prove or disprove this theory, the bar was sliced thin and thick, folded, rubbed, and stuffed into a variety of bowl geometries to tease out its flavors, and the results are resoundingly positive. The verdict? JackKnife Plug has the character and complexion of the heartiest of English blends, while being completely absent of Latakia or Oriental leaf. It ages like a peaty single-malt of the finest provenance, developing layers and depth that belie the relative simplicity of its ingredients. 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