Frog Morton's Cellar - Full Review w/ Tobacco Pousse Cafe

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oklansas

Senior Member
Apr 16, 2013
441
0
DC
Frog Morton's Cellar (FMC) is a strange bird. Not quite an aromatic, not quite a homogenous blend, not quite a thick smoke. In one word, it might be best defined as, Etherial.
To date, FMC is the most beguiling of smokes I've ever had the pleasure to experience. Having no expectations from the other Frog Mortons (I've not gotten to try them yet), FMC was a creature unto itself. Initially drawn in my people's praise of the standard Frog Morton, I ended up opting for the cellar variety instead; due largely to the description. I knew not quite what to expect, other than FMC was supposed to be something novel.
I had no fore-knowledge of FMC's reputation as a near-aromatic, rather expecting something that could be called a sweeter English. Well...I was surprised. It's tasty, but not is a cloying or forceful way - no - it's more like that delicious scent that one catches on the wind when they pass a bakery. The type of smell made entirely of a portent of what can be had if you simply choose to slacken your pace and enter the establishment to whence the scent entices.
Tin Notes

Simply, lapsang souchong tea (the main expression of the Latakia) with a sweet undertone (the whiskey). Unlike the typical Latakia smells from the tin, this is no so much campfire, but a smoked tea with cream and sugar. It reminds me of the beginning of fall, enjoying a cup of tea on the first chilly day. The scent is a foreshadowing of what's to come, but without giving away the ending.
Moisture

I found my tin of FMC to be a bit wet when I first popped the top, but that didn't effect the smoke. Since opening, the moisture has settled down to a perfect equilibrium that I maintain by lightly stirring the tobacco in the tin prior to filling a bowl.
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-The Charing Light-

Surprise and joy is had. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition - and likewise - nobody expects the devine interplay of Latakia and whiskey in the way that FMC manages to convey. It's a smokey sweetness that somehow invokes the taste memory of consuming an Islay Scotch and an aged Kentucky Bourbon at the same instant. This flavor, while not strictly subtle, is at least slightly muted. No, that is not the word either. It is not a strong flavor, true. But, it is striking and memorable. I imagine, for many that continue to return to morton's cellar, that this initial taste is the memory that snares the tobacco zeitgeist.
--The 1st Third--

The beginning of any FMC bowl is alive with the flavors that one first encounters in the charing light. But the full flame deepens flavors, making them more dramatic, fuller, and slightly more savory. It's easy to get caught up in this portion - just trying to pull as much of that delicious flavor as you can from experience. The smoke here is thick and full - but begins to display some of the etherial characteristics that will come to dominate it later on.
---The 2nd Third---

The brillant flavors of the prior third subside into a more subtle experience. The sweetness of the whiskey and the smokiness of the Latakia subside into the background, allowing the other tobaccos of the blend to take over. These Latakia and whiskey flavors are almost elusive, seems just out of your grasp as you reach for them in every puff. While this would sound like it would be frustrating, it proves to be strangely satisfying. This part of the bowl is more relaxed, smoking cadence slows and the smoke takes on the etherial quality that truly defines FMC. Its thick and full, but instead of clouds, it swirls through the air in long wisps that disappear quickly, almost like water vapor. You exhale something of gravity, that quickly dissipates to nothingness. This smoke, coupled with the flavor profile of this part of the bowl is the etherealness that will stick in the memory after you are done.
----The Final Third----

Latakia, whiskey, and the other tobaccos are a ghost that haunts the bowl. This is the dying embers of a fire that only vaguely smell as if their was once an inferno here, but now it is gone. Here, FMC is etherial - never quite offering up a solid hold on, well, anything. It's such a light smoke that I always wonder if there is actually anything left. However, I've found dumping some of the fine white ash that accumulates will mitigate this ghostliness, and return a bit of the joy from the second third. So, often, that is what I'll do. However, it is this ghostliness - just enough of what FMC was earlier in the smoke - that will send me back to the tin for another bowl. Maybe, this is by design :)
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Pousse Cafe or Layering

I don't actually smoke FMC alone anymore - not because it isn't delicious alone - because it is so much more when layered with the right tobaccos. After receiving a bit of inspiration from another PM thread, I tried out FMC with Nightcap and some other tobaccos. An FMC bottom with Nightcap top is an electrifying combination that adds some smoky punch to the FMC. However, my favorite combination these days is a bottom half FMC topped with a upper half of Georgetown Tobacco 1261 (an all burley mix with a vanilla topping with hints of maple). The burleys of the 1261 lend a nice maple sweetness and nutty flavor to the FMC in the first half of the smoke, but the second half is almost all entirely FMC and almost eliminates that ghostliness that shows up late in the bowl. This last combination is mostly how I smoke FMC these days.
Final Thoughts

A trip to Frog Morton's Cellar is a special experience, that I haven't encountered anywhere before. It will be a fixture in my cellar - this is sure and my next TAD order will be rounded out with a purchase of at least one 100g tin. I would recommend this tobacco to anyone, anytime. It has something that will appeal to novices, experts, areo and non-areo smokers alike.
Simply, its brilliant. But, I would heartily recommend that you try layering it in the bowl with either a full English or a vanilla areo on top - I don't think you will be disappointed in either case.
Regardless, enjoy the trip to the cellar.

 

4dotsasieni

Preferred Member
Jan 6, 2013
756
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Thanks for the very detailed and informative review - FMC is definitely one of my favourites, and I love the immediate aroma (to my nose, anyway) of bourbon that greets me when I open the tin.
Based on how much I like the FMC, I just ordered some McClelland Stave-Aged, which I haven't tried before - would anyone care to compare it to FMC?

 

boudreaux

Preferred Member
Apr 7, 2013
677
0
Wow, that review was like a treatise on the search for the elusive g-spot! LOL Great review.
Interesting, this experimentation with combinations. Wondering how I'd like the Georgetown 1261 combination. Sounds like it's worth an experiment.
So many recommendations - Orlik's Golden, Escudo, etc. I may never catch up and will have to head to the cryogenics lab with my stash to enjoy them later.

 

numbersix

Preferred Member
Jul 27, 2012
5,452
1
Excellent review - nicely laid out and written.
My experience with FMC is a bit different. My first tin was excellent - but more like an aro. The next two tins were like a pure latakia blend. So I am left still not being 100% certain as to what FMC is.

 

latbomber

Preferred Member
May 10, 2013
570
0
Well written review. I have a 100g tin of FMC that I am trying not to open until I finish some other ones, the curiosity is killing me!

 

peckinpahhombre

Preferred Member
Dec 24, 2012
7,118
50
Great review. I think it is a very nice blend and I really want to like it more than I do. Right now I am a bit schizophrenic about it. At times I really like it and then at other times I find the bourbon scent comes across to me as a little too "chemically" and forced - in other words, I like it least when it behaves like an aromatic. I have had a jarred tin on the go for a few months, but I just find that I seldom find an "urge" to reach for FMC over a myriad of other blends. Don't get me wrong here - I think it is a fine blend that has a lot going for it (I have 9 more 100g tins in the cellar for a reason) but it is certainly a blend I am still learning to appreciate. If I don't get there soon I may have to find homes for the tins I have stored away.

 

oklansas

Senior Member
Apr 16, 2013
441
0
DC
I neglected to put this in the review, but I've noticed FMC does much better for me in small or narrow bowls (like featherweights or volcanoes). It just seems to taste better and that taste lasts longer. Specifically, the best smokes I've had with FMC were in my featherweight sized Mr. Brog #19 Dublin and my Ozark Mountain Hardwood from Missouri Meerschaum.

 

hunterwold1

Member
Oct 27, 2012
145
0
Great review. I have one 100g tin open and two in the cellar. I just sat on the patio last evening and enjoyed some FMC in my Stanwell "Sixten Ivarsson" royal guard pipe. It was delicious. All of what was described above and more. After the charring light it only took one light and smoked to nice white ash. While sipping away I was entertained by a piliated woodpecker having a late snack at my black locust tree. Doesn't get much better than that.

 

docwatson

Preferred Member
Jul 2, 2009
1,147
0
New England
I tried this for the first time in Chicago recommended by a close friend. And a friend indeed he is. I love this tobacco. Like roth I recently ordered a few 100 gr. tins and think I may go for more in the future. Recently I have been bitten by the McClelland bug, smoking more and more of their Wilderness, Three Oaks Original and Syrian, and now Frog Morton's Cellar.

This weekend will be spent fly fishing in the St. George River in midcoast Maine with many bowls of FMC to enjoy the outdoors.

Fantastic Review Oklansas, Thanks.

:clap:

 

oklansas

Senior Member
Apr 16, 2013
441
0
DC
I get the suggestion of vanilla every now and then, esp. In a small bowl, but I think it is from the bourbon.

 

smokertruck

Senior Member
Aug 1, 2013
423
0
Question to docwatson - how do you compare 3oaks syrian to the frog morton - regular & others but not cellar not available in toronto as per usual i tried 3oaks syrian was mild & enjoyed it even though i do not care for latakia - saw you smoked both 3oaks & frog morton like a comparison - which is less latakia'd so to speak.
thanks

 
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