AK's Monthly-ish N00btastic Novella Review: GH Bob's Chocolate Flake

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
3,942
6,723
Alaska
On Saturday I attended a Bob Ross painting party at our good friend’s house, which has become a yearly tradition around the holidays. It is a tremendous amount of fun. Plenty of beer, scotch, sliders, tacos, and even lasagna made the rounds and we generated a dozen or so very fun very unique paintings. Given the expected amount of libations consumed, and the fact that the kiddo was at the grandparent's place overnight, my wife and I decided to walk back to my parent’s house in Anchorage rather than drive an hour back home to our little valley in the woods. My parents are out of town, so I decided to enjoy a bowl of Gawith and Hoggarth’s Bob’s Chocolate Flake in the warmth of their great room, after a mile walk in -25F temps to get home, a leather recliner and a roaring fire were very welcome. If you care to stop reading here, given that brevity is not my strong suit, I will say: Bob's Chocolate Flake was absolutely incredible.

15879
15880

Upon arriving I poured myself a dram of Dalmore 12 and cracked a Founder’s Brewing Backwoods Bastard to enjoy on the side (a Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy-ish concoction, one of my favorites with about two years in the cellar). The aroma of BCF right out of the jar is quite unique. The tobacco smells less rich than I thought it would, with a tin note that is almost too muddled with variety to smell like any one thing. I do pick up the Latakia, but very very lightly. The topping is also there, but quite muted as well. There is also some aroma of the natural tobacco itself, mostly the Virginias, as any tin note of whatever amount of burley this might contain is wiped out by the rest of this mad hatter’s soup of ingredients.

So I broke the Flake up as much as possible, and loaded it into my new, as of yet unsmoked Meerschaum Lined Brebbia Sun 834. The charring lights went well, which surprised me given the lack of drying time I had given this tobacco, from a notoriously moist blender. 3 lights and away we go. The first thing I get is the Virginia and also Latakia, which really surprised me given that the Latakia seemed rather muted in the tin note. It certainly is less prominent than it would be in a typical English/Balkan blend, but definitely noticeable and much more up front than it is in, for example, SG Navy Flake.

The Chocolate topping is quite light in the early portions of this bowl, but there is a smooth sweetness that lurks behind the Latakia and Virginias, which are the major players out of the gate for me. TR says this blend contains some burley, but whatever burley is in here is either contributing to the overall profile without me noticing it, or is completely annihilated by the more olfactory beasts within. As I move through the middle of the bowl, the chocolate topping becomes more present for me. And in fact seems to get stronger the further I go into this bowl. Again, very surprising as in my experience with aromatics (typically much more topping than this blend mind you) it seems to be the reverse. I usually taste the topping more in the front of the bowl.

This blends is defying many expectations. Definitely seemed Virginia forward with clear but restrained Latakia smoky/spiciness up front, but through the second half of the bowl it is much more of a lightly topped Va/Bur type of flavor and it continues to get smoother as the Latakia's influence fades. Definitely quite a journey in one bowl and an extremely unique and satisfying blend. Shockingly only required one relight throughout the smoke, which may be due to the fact that this tobacco was purchased in bulk rather than out of the tin. I do have a couple tins, but I tried the bulk I bought first.

15881

Overall, this is easily one of the most unique and best tasting blends I have ever smoked. If I reviewed on TR it would be a 4 star blend for sure. What makes it so amazing, aside from the fact that it is delicious, is that it changes so much throughout the smoke. That and the combination of ingredients in this blend are just incredibly unique. Not just the tobaccos and toppings, but the quantities at which they seem to be applied in this blend is just unlike anything I have had as of yet. I think this is truly a blend that could be enjoyed by almost any smoker on the spectrum whether they prefer aromatics, straight Latakia, or straight VA. It just has a little bit of everything but nothing over the top. An amazing blend, and one I would strongly recommend anyone try at some point. It certainly surprised me, and I am very glad that it did.

After this I proceeded to smoke some HH Pure VA, Solani Tropical Mango Flake, and get quite drunk. So it goes.
 
Last edited:

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
3,942
6,723
Alaska
Great review. Just curious - which painting is yours? They're all good, but I particularly like the bottom left and the one two above that one.
Mine is the second one down from the top on the left hand side. The mostly dark one with the moon in the clouds, directly to the left of the purple one. My wife's is the top left one, right above mine. I was a big fan of the monochromatic purple one towards the middle. It was done by an Alaska Native woman who is an artist by trade. I like the one with the bird also.

It is amazing how different and crazy everybody's turned out following the same episode of Bob's, haha. Some people may have been consuming things other than alcohol, hahaha. I can neither confirm or deny that.
 

BROBS

Preferred Member
Nov 13, 2019
2,675
6,550
37
IA
bottom right 2nd up is obviously Tatooine

yours looks realistic bro! nice!
however I actually really like the one under yours too. 👍
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bowie

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
3,942
6,723
Alaska
bottom right 2nd up is obviously Tatooine

yours looks realistic bro! nice!
however I actually really like the one under yours too. 👍
Haha, yeah that one was done by our friend's brother (who is also our friend) Ted. He goes where the wind takes him. And takes whatever the wind offers him, hahaha.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BROBS

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,505
673
Moderators, please delete this review. Give me time and I will find a rule that it violates😀

Smoked it first 35 years ago, can’t say enough good things about it, BUT
(1) It is variable, in that some people seem to like it moister than others, some say it is better from a tin than bulk, some say the opposite, people swear that their method of packing works best. Some shapes are said to be more suited than others. I have yet to have a bad bowl. Fool around with all the above. I tend not to smoke it other than dry and fully rubbed out, but every now and then I change something up and enjoy it.
.
(2) my own opinion, shared by some, disputed by many, is that this, along with other GH &SG products, can vary some from batch to batch, though I haven’t noticed changes to the extent others have credibly reported recently about FVF or Grousemoor;

(3) GH Bob’s Square Cut and SG Chocolate Flake are “close to” BCF if you aren’t able to judge distance at all, though they are both good tobaccos;

(4) if you want to try GH with similar topping, give Scotch Flake and Louisiana Flake a try. Try Louisiana Flake and Bob’s 50/50. Then 2:1. Both ways. You can experiment with Scotch Flake, too, a damn fine tobacco by itself that flies under the radar It is a good suggestion for anyone who finds that Dark and Brown Flake are too much for their taste. You might learn that the underlying strength of the tobaccos is the problem you are having with Dark and Brown Flake, not any so called “Lakeland essence.”

Great review, I am really glad that you found this tobacco so enjoyable for special occasions. Just try not to have many of them. (Insert emoji here if needed)
 
  • Like
Reactions: BROBS

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
3,942
6,723
Alaska
if you want to try GH with similar topping, give Scotch Flake and Louisiana Flake a try. Try Louisiana Flake and Bob’s 50/50. Then 2:1. Both ways. You can experiment with Scotch Flake, too, a damn fine tobacco by itself that flies under the radar It is a good suggestion for anyone who finds that Dark and Brown Flake are too much for their taste. You might learn that the underlying strength of the tobaccos is the problem you are having with Dark and Brown Flake, not any so called “Lakeland essence.”
I have both the Bob's Square Cut and the Louisiana Flake on hand and will try them both fairly soon. I love dark flakes, and have yet to have a problem with Lakeland essence, so I'm all good on those fronts. Right now I have an oz of bulk BCF and two tins of it, which at the rate I smoke will last me a decade, so special occasions be damned, I'll burn it whenever it calls to me :col:

I've hear a lot of folks talk about the variability of SG/GH blends as well so I'm prepared for that to happen at some point. It is what it is. All part of the game, baby!
 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
976
792
I have only smoked it once and had a similar conclusion. What the heck was all that going on? It shouldn’t work; it should be terrible, but it wasn’t.
The idea of chocolate and Latakia initially disgusted me! I convinced myself to try it and I reacted the same exact way. “How is this good?!”

Because of this tobacco, I’m branching out and currently have a tin of Two Friends English Chocolate on the way, and hoping it is comparably good.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Casual

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
3,942
6,723
Alaska
The idea of chocolate and Latakia initially disgusted me! I convinced myself to try it and I reacted the same exact way. “How is this good?!”

Because of this tobacco, I’m branching out and currently have a tin of Two Friends English Chocolate, and hoping it is comparably good.
I've been curious about that blend as well! Let me know how it is!
 
  • Like
Reactions: lightmybriar

mikefu

Preferred Member
Mar 28, 2018
1,255
1,635
Colorado Springs
Be interested in your opinion of the Square Cut.
I know you didn't ask me, Daniel, but I'll offer my $.02- I really like Square Cut. I was initially taken aback by the "Windexey-ness" of the tin note, but then fired it up and was greeted with a nice mild chocolatey/vanilla top note on a quality VaBur, with a bit of Camphor and florals wafting through. I find that it is one of the few tobaccos that I crave specifically for it's uniqueness and that wacky windex note.
 
  • Like
Reactions: oldgeezersmoker

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,505
673
I know you didn't ask me, Daniel, but I'll offer my $.02- I really like Square Cut. I was initially taken aback by the "Windexey-ness" of the tin note, but then fired it up and was greeted with a nice mild chocolatey/vanilla top note on a quality VaBur, with a bit of Camphor and florals wafting through. I find that it is one of the few tobaccos that I crave specifically for it's uniqueness and that wacky windex note.
Square Cut is, at least to my taste, much, much more of a “traditional “ Lakeland than Bob’s Chocolate Flake. Which makes sense, since a member of another forum has posted GH price lists pre WW II that list Square Cut. I haven’t seen any documentation that BCF was made until at least the 1970’s.

I can smoke Square Cut, but there are others that I prefer. Thanks for your input, I will likely throw some in the next order just to refresh my recollection. As one member here said recently, sometimes the Lakeland taste scratches an itch you didn’t know you had.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BROBS

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.