H. Sutliff - Mixture #79

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beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
A while back I mentioned that any time I see members drama-queening over how bad a blend is, I immediately have to try it. The reason is that I love variety, so anything that's a bit out there is fun for a change of pace. The boring blends don't inspire hate; they inspire apathy. Anytime you see someone hating a blend, that's generally a surefire sign that it's unique and someone else loves it.
This is the precise reason I've tried Ennerdale, SG Black XX, and 1792 Flake. I didn't love all of them, but I did like them, and having a tin sitting around is perfect for whenever I'd like something different.
That brings us to Mixture #79. As usual, I found all the hoopla wasn't warranted.
Pouch Note, Preparation:

I ordered a 1.5 ounce pouch. I love the pouch design, and the aroma inside was that of a run-of-the-mill aromatic. Here I was expecting something like Ennerdale, but this was simply an anise (licorice) flavored aromatic. I wouldn't even say it was particularly strong. This mystified me, as licorice is a fairly common sweet flavoring in Western food. I let my family smell it and they all had the same reaction. It was a pleasant sweet aroma, like most other aromatics that are based on a sweet flavor like vanilla, fruit, etc.
It seemed just a tad moist out of the pouch, but I went ahead and smoked it as it was.
Smoke:

After a few chars I was able to get this lit and then it stayed lit. I was surprised that it burned more cooly than most aromatics. It has a pleasing taste, but it certainly falls into the realm of classic aromatics like 1-Q where the topping is a major player in the smoke, though I wouldn't say this was topped as heavily as aros from brands like Lane, Sutliff, and C&D. The Burley was a fairly standard, monochromatic tobacco against which the topping rested solidly.
I noted that it didn't have much tongue bite compared to most of my aromatics, which surprised me. My father, on the other hand, felt that it did, so take my experience with a grain of salt. Perhaps I just packed it in a more amenable way.
The funniest thing is that I don't even like licorice candy, but I did enjoy this. For me, anise doesn't work so well straight as it is in a candy, but tempered by smoke it's quite nice. And for the record, I haven't eaten candy in years--I simply have no sweet tooth when it comes to food, though I do enjoy some aromatics.
Nicotine:

I didn't notice any nicotine from this blend.
In Summary:

I don't think there is really anything particularly distinctive about Mixture 79 that sets it apart from other aromatics. Obviously, if you don't like aromatics, you won't like this. But if you are someone who enjoys smoking aromatics on occasion, this is simply one more you may want to try at some point. I didn't find the licorice topping to be fundamentally different from others common toppings like maple, honey, vanilla, chocolate, cherry, apple, etc.

 

ravkesef

Lifer
Aug 10, 2010
2,750
4,683
80
Cheshire, CT
Thanks, Beast, for sticking your neck out on this one. I smoke aromatics on occasion, and a few weeks ago I picked up a couple ounces on Bulk Mixture 79. Hadn't smoked it in over fifty years--around the time I fixated on English blends and Balkan Sobranie, my exclusive smoke for over two decades. I've mellowed a bit over the years, and while I still have a preference for English blends, my tastes have become more eclectic over the years. Mixture 79? A fine and pleasant smoke, and your family will love it!

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Only Balkan Sobranie for two decades? Wow. Off topic, but how do you feel about the new iterations of Balkan Sobranie?
And just to clarify, I'm an occasional aromatic smoker--I only smoke an aromatic probably once every other week, unless you count the mildly flavored offerings from Gawith's blending houses like 1792 or Rum Twist.

 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
38,694
85,961
That chasingembers really likes starting crap. First Black Frigate, and now this! Oh, wait a minute.....
Glad you enjoyed it. I knew with all the hating that it couldn't be too bad, but I really like it, and it has become my nightly before bed smoke.

 

ravkesef

Lifer
Aug 10, 2010
2,750
4,683
80
Cheshire, CT
Well, Beast, it is a bit off topic, but what the heck, it's your thread, so I'll oblige. IMHO, the recent iterations of Balkan Sobranie resemble the original only in name. However, Peretti's Royal comes quite close. Mind you, this is only my palate and feeble memory talking. I'm also consoled by the fact that there are numerous English blends which, while not like BS, are nonetheless quite good in their own right.

Now here's a flashback that some might find interesting. In the 70s, while I was a graduate student in Cincinnati, I would occasionally buy tins of Our Best Blend at Smoker's Haven, and quite frequently, when I opened the tin, the parchment disk under the lid would be the Balkan Sobranie parchment. In short, Our Best Blend was bright-labeled Balkan Sobranie. So I asked the folks at Smoker's Haven if this was indeed the case, and they confirmed it.

The good news: I still have one unopened eight ounce tin of Our Best Blend sitting on my shelf. I could probably sell it for a decent price, but I'm saving it for a special occasion. (Maybe when the doctor tells me I should finish reading War and Peace.). I opened the penultimate tin over the phone with Premal Cheddha. The inside of the tin was shiny bright, and the loveliest fragrance wafted upward from a tobacco that smelled and tasted just like days gone by. Premal and I shared the tin, as I felt that as the current owner he deserved to smoke the tobacco that bore the label of his shop. And now only the one tin, purchased in 1975, is left, and one of these days I'll pop the seal. A birthday? Maybe. The marriage of one of my kids? When the moment strikes I'll know.

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Interesting! That's pretty cool that you still have a tin of the stuff.

War and Peace may take quite a few bowls--I read it and several other of the Russian classics one summer and I almost went blind. I actually knocked out War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and Crime and Punishment in succession. Good reads all of them, but The Brothers Karamazov is the best in my opinion.

 

shutterbugg

Lifer
Nov 18, 2013
1,451
12
Mixture 79 is an ordinary run-of-the-mill OTC with heavily-topped cheap-quality nicotene-weak burley sprayed with PG to keep it moist in a cellophane pouch for long periods of time on a store shelf. In that respect it is no better or worse than the others...CH, SWR, H&H, Grainger, etc. What it boils down to is the topping. Licorice is something you either love or hate. In my case, think Linda Blair projectile vomiting in "The Exorcist".

 
I love licorice flavored tobaccos, such as Black Pool, but there is something else in 79, and I am not the only one who's tasted it. Like a lakeland floral note or two. Yeh, the quality of the tobacco is horrible also.

I've brought this to pipe club meetings with only a few able to smoke a whole bowl of this stuff. Something tells me that someone isn't being honest here. Sure, it's possible for people to like this tobacco,it has been a codger blend for many many years. But, the review just makes it sound like a regular licorice aromatic. Unless they've changed the blend in the last five years, there is something else in there, and most pipe smokers who are used to smoking quality tobaccos should notice it.

 
...but, there's always that one guy who likes it. Ha ha!!
meme4_zpsacc46b7a.jpg


 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
To be clear, #79 hasn't moved into my top ten or anything like that; my overall opinion is that it is an average aromatic than you may or may not like. I liked it fine, and there is some sort of nostalgia to it because I think I smelled it as a child. It just smells old.
Good to see my review brought along shutterbugg, with his usual clarity of expression, the lovable curmudgeon! :)
Mixture 79 is an ordinary run-of-the-mill OTC with heavily-topped cheap-quality nicotene-weak burley sprayed with PG to keep it moist in a cellophane pouch for long periods of time on a store shelf. In that respect it is no better or worse than the others
I think we actually agree here. I don't hate run-of-the-mill OTCs as a rule, mostly because they play to my nostalgia, as I associate them with old codger smells.
But, the review just makes it sound like a regular licorice aromatic. Unless they've changed the blend in the last five years, there is something else in there, and most pipe smokers who are used to smoking quality tobaccos should notice it.
Yes, there is something else, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I don't consider that as a huge aberration from what I described above, as the central flavor is certainly anise. Also, something like 1-Q has something other than vanilla as well, but I'm not quite sure I know what.
Perhaps sassafras? My brother was convinced it tasted like root beer.
And now I really want to know the origin of that picture. That is one gnarly old dude.

 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,039
8,843
Austin, TX
Great review, Beast. An interesting thing I've noticed with this blend is some people seem to get a floral, Lakeland vibe and I just don't pick up on that at all and I see that you didn't get that either. Strange how different we all perceive things. This is a blend that took some time to go from boring to something I actually really like but as you noted there's not much nicotine so I rarely reach for it, I tend to gravitate towards the heavy hitters. I still don't understand why this one is so passionately hated, it gets personal with this one.

 

mortonbriar

Lifer
Oct 25, 2013
2,212
4,062
New Zealand
dirty guy
Beast, Add 'The Idiot' to your list and we have read the same russian classics, I think crime and punishment was my favourite. I will try this mixture if I come across someone else with an open pouch, I don't smoke aromatics enough to buy a whole pouch.
Isaac

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Haha, thanks for the source, Isaac!
I actually have read The Idiot and The Double as well--just not during that particular summer. They are all great reads. Crime and Punishment is a little more streamlined than The Brothers Karamazov, for sure. I can hear a modern publisher saying, "We'll publish it, but you have to cut the Grand Inquisitor scene. It doesn't add to the story, it doesn't move the plot along, and the book is already over a thousand pages."

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,460
52,342
With these old over-the-counter blends, two things are necessary. They have to be (debatably) good enough, but perhaps more important, they have to be widely distributed and always available. Mixture 79, along with Prince Albert, Carter Hall, and Sir Walter Raleigh, fills these requirements. So we may shun it forever, but it will always be there, one of our options.

 
Jul 28, 2016
6,909
27,156
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
somehow I do find these so called drugstore tobaccos are easier to smoke compared to higher end ones,they do require lesser attention while smoking and are burning a bit faster/lighter(possibly bitey) which may be even good when one is short on time or doing various activities,like driving a car or something where more attention is needed

 

pagan

Lifer
May 6, 2016
5,963
27
West Texas
I personally have not found anything offered from Sutliff to be good, the last 2 blends I tried were absolutely horrendous. IMHO

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Interesting. I've enjoyed the Sutliff aromatics I've purchased, but that's just me.

 
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