Group Tasting - Laurel Flake and St. James Flake

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ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,289
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Ok, I finally got a breather. 16 fires in two weeks has kicked my ass.
ALL PACKAGES ARE MAILED.

 

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d4k23

Senior Member
Mar 6, 2018
309
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Thanks Ashdigger, those do look like good flakes. Pretty excited to do a comparison, test my palate out against other forum members!
Did they smell the same out of the tin?

 

rdavid

Preferred Member
Jun 30, 2018
648
3
Milton, FL
I have two brand new cobs at the ready. Would it be advisable to smoke them with another Virginia first, say FVF or something like that to season the cobs first?
I do get a different flavor from the first bowl or two from a new cob and don’t want to risk skewing the results. Thanks.

 

bassbug

Preferred Member
Dec 29, 2016
867
16
yay..I'm sure I'll be the last to receive the stash up here in Canada, but I"m certainly looking forward to it.

 

donjgiles

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2018
1,201
1,082
How was the moisture level on the Laurel Flake?

It sure is sparklie!!!
Visually, ten extra years make a difference. The St. James looks much darker over all to me.
Also, the crystal structure is interesting as it only occurs on certain types of lighter virginias.
Don

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
15,709
5,790
Monterey Peninsula
I have two brand new cobs at the ready. Would it be advisable to smoke them with another Virginia first, say FVF or something like that to season the cobs first?
I do get a different flavor from the first bowl or two from a new cob and don’t want to risk skewing the results. Thanks.
Sounds like a good plan.
Two refreshed briars are equally good.

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,289
136
Did they smell the same out of the tin?
They do not smell the same. One is very stewy/figgy and the other had a slight astringent plum, almost fermented smell.
I have smoked a bowl of each and I definitely prefer one of them over the other. They are very similar, but also very different.
The cut of the flakes is different too. One is very thin and the other slightly, but noticeably thicker.
If this all seems a little cloak and dagger, I'm trying to keep you fine folks from developing confirmation bias, while still giving hints of what you can expect.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,186
1,074
Beautiful pictures! Just now seeing them. Just got my samples in the mail today, here are some pics.



Thanks again, ashdigger, I’ll be getting started on this right away!
They do not smell the same. One is very stewy/figgy and the other had a slight astringent plum, almost fermented smell.
As far as bag note goes, I completely agree with this! The smell is certainly making my mouth water! I can’t wait.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,186
1,074
I’m also going to note that while I am familiar with St. Jame’s Flake, it’s been awhile since I’ve had it, as I’m waiting for my oldest stash to reach 6 years before I start smoking it again, by that time I’ll have a nice cycle of it going so I can always smoke it aged, obviously I prefer SJF with some years on it. I’m also going to refrain from looking at the TR of Laurel Flake until I am done with my taste tests, I don’t want to be influenced by any one reviewer. There is plenty of tobacco of both blends to experiment in different pipes and what not so it may take me a few days before I post my thoughts on it. All of that said, let the games begin... I’m giddy!

 

bluegrassbrian

Preferred Member
Aug 27, 2016
2,395
2,867
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Louisville
Mine came too.. both look delicious.

Ill do a bowl of the St James tomorrow and make some notes.
For only having around 5 years of age it sure looks dark and funky!

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,186
1,074
Just got done with my first bowl of Laurel Flake, won’t give anything away but I will say, hot damn, it is GOOD!!!

 

donjgiles

Preferred Member
Apr 14, 2018
1,201
1,082
I received mine yesterday and had a delicious bowl of St. James Flake. Thank you Ash. Comparison to follow.
Don

 

d4k23

Senior Member
Mar 6, 2018
309
42
The baccy has not made it this far south yet! Hopefully today! Looking forward to trying these out!

 

mtwaller

Preferred Member
Nov 21, 2018
618
454
30
Atlanta, GA
I just got mine in the mail! I haven’t tried them yet, I’m hoping to do so either tonight or tomorrow. I will say, the St. James smells absurdly good. As far as the tin note is concerned, that one gets my vote. I’m interested to see how the actual tastes will compare...

 

bluegrassbrian

Preferred Member
Aug 27, 2016
2,395
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Louisville
I’m about 3/4 through my first bowl of Laurel flake.

Now I’m confident that if it’s not relabeled St James flake, it’s not too far off. Hard to know for sure considering the difference in age. The Laurel Flake in and of itself is a superb smoke having had over 14 years of age to mature and transform.
I’ve also been smoking a recently opened tin of FVF from 2007, so all in all, cousins to be sure.
I’ve always found St James flake to essentially be Full Virginia Flake with a careful addition of aromatic Perique. I’ve been curious about what kind d of Perique Gawith uses in their blends. It’s never too spicy or peppery and never too plummy/raisin/sweet. Instead I find it to be an old world incense flavor, almost like an oriental once it has been given some years to age.

For me, this is apparent in both samples provided.
Again, if I had to make a guess I’d say they are the same blends with a Virginia to Perique ratio no different than +/- 5%.

Really excellent stuff. Thanks so much for the opportunity Ash!

 

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