New G.L. Pease Blend : Windjammer

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mikestanley

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May 10, 2009
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Akron area of Ohio
I wish I could send it to you without filling out a customs form. I wonder if @jiminks would volunteer to do a side-by-side comparison of the old and new Blairgowrie.

Assuming I'm right, consider the significance of it. Blairgowrie is one of their best-selling, flagship tobaccos. They completely downgraded the quality of the ingredients: it's unrecognizable. If they would do something like that to a flagship brand, what, if anything, is safe?
McClelland closed up shop for a reason. Probably several but, one that Mike mentions as the primary reason. I'm pretty sure it effects other blending houses too.

Mike S.
 

logs

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Apr 28, 2019
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Maybe. Then the all-around quality has tanked, otherwise why would they have assassinated Blairgowrie?

Yet it still doesn't make sense, as higher-quality grades of leaf seem to be slated for Sun Bear and other "showcase" blends.
This is a pretty serious charge. Moreover what's any of this have to do with the GLP Windjammer release?
 

shaneireland

Member
Jun 14, 2014
126
782
Conway, SC
www.smokingpipes.com
I observe a situation wherein:

[1] there is a finite quantity of quality leaf, and
[2] there is a company with a growing portfolio of pipe tobaccos

I also observe that the quality of flagship blends, like Drucquer & Sons Blairgowrie has deteriorated significantly over time (in this instance I have the "old" and "new" tobacco to prove it).

Thus, I can only conclude that the best quality leaf is earmarked for new blends within an expanding portfolio in order to create a consumer base, and this reapportionment of quality leaf is made at the expense of certain long-standing blends in the portfolio that have established consumer bases.

Tobacco is a tough business.
C&D sources certain grades of leaf and uses them in many blends; there are very few blends that have components that are entirely unique to them. Of course, a specific vintage of Perique that might have been used in a limited release isn't infinite, but most readily available blends that feature Perique will all use the same leaf, assuming they were made around the same time. Differences in the "normal" supply of Perique are minimal and almost impossible to detect in the context of a complete blend, as the blender's job is to keep the blends consistent over time and they achieve that by "replacing" components with nearly identical ones. The recipes themselves and in some case the processing, account for the wide variety of final results.

Finding quality leaf isn't difficult at all, really. Pipe tobacco as an entire market is so small compared to cigarettes (for example), that these blending houses really don't have much trouble taking their pick of leaf. I've personally sampled tons of crops in a variety of processing styles over the past few years and it's much more rare to come across "low-quality" leaf, in my experience. I don't think many people make a living by cutting corners with their tobacco crops and if that is true somewhere, we don't see much of it in this industry as our needs just aren't even close to that of the larger tobacco market. Most of the time, a given crop/leaf isn't rejected because it's "bad", but rather it's not what the blender is looking for. Sugar content is low or high, the profile is nutty as opposed to grassy, etc.

As far as "better tobaccos" being reserved for new blends, that's just false. If you're noticing a difference between older Blairgowrie and newer Blairgowrie, it's much more likely that you're tasting the difference in the age of those tins than anything else. I'm not 100% sure, but I'd wager that nothing has changed in years for that particular blend, except for possibly substituting one grade of one of the several components, for another vintage that has nearly the exact same characteristics (blenders both taste and measure differences in leaf). And that's just how blending works; sometimes you run out of leaf and then you sample dozens of newer crops (most of which still have years of age by the time they are purchased by the blender) to swap without any noticeable change in the final product. It can take many years of production before a blender needs to source a replacement for a given component.

If it was possible to "freeze" a tin (arrest the aging process) and then compare that to one made several years later, I doubt any of us would be able to taste a difference in a "Pepsi challenge". Changes in cut, or manufacturer would be more noticeable than a slightly-different bright Virginia would. Oh, and the imperfect human factors (packing the pipes slightly differently, lighting them slightly differently, puffing slightly differently...) are also more likely convince us that there are differences between the two tins...
I wish I could send it to you without filling out a customs form. I wonder if @jiminks would volunteer to do a side-by-side comparison of the old and new Blairgowrie.
This isn't possible. "New" and "Old" are never truly comparable in tobacco. Age, regardless of storage conditions, will continue to change the blend. Even more so when you factor in storage conditions. Plus, side-by-side comparisons only go so far as there's countless factors that will mess with the results. Unless you have two identical pipes, that have been smoked exactly the same way, with the same blends, for the same amount of time, in the same conditions... and you somehow managed to pack them exactly the same way... And by puffing on Pipe A before Pipe B, you've changed the outcome of the flavor of Pipe B... :ROFLMAO: 🤓
 

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greeneyes

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Jun 5, 2018
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Minnesota
As far as "better tobaccos" being reserved for new blends, that's just false. If you're noticing a difference between older Blairgowrie and newer Blairgowrie, it's much more likely that you're tasting the difference in the age of those tins than anything else. I'm not 100% sure, but I'd wager that nothing has changed in years for that particular blend, except for possibly substituting one grade of one of the several components, for another vintage that has nearly the exact same characteristics (blenders both taste and measure differences in leaf). And that's just how blending works; sometimes you run out of leaf and then you sample dozens of newer crops (most of which still have years of age by the time they are purchased by the blender) to swap without any noticeable change in the final product. It can take many years of production before a blender needs to source a replacement for a given component.
...
This isn't possible. "New" and "Old" are never truly comparable in tobacco. Age, regardless of storage conditions, will continue to change the blend. Even more so when you factor in storage conditions. Plus, side-by-side comparisons only go so far as there's countless factors that will mess with the results. Unless you have two identical pipes, that have been smoked exactly the same way, with the same blends, for the same amount of time, in the same conditions... and you somehow managed to pack them exactly the same way... And by puffing on Pipe A before Pipe B, you've changed the outcome of the flavor of Pipe B... :ROFLMAO: 🤓
Why don't you let me send you some? I'll let you judge for yourself. Samuel Gawith "changes" from batch to batch, from year to year, as a function of variation in raw material and perhaps even process. In fact is has changed significantly in the past two years, but the differences have not distanced it from the original enough to engender an entirely new product.

What has occurred with Blairgowrie is an alteration in recipe and/or ingredients such that the final product is materially distinct from the original. Perhaps it was a mistake. But nobody who sees and smokes the two would ever tell you they are (or were) identical, or even similar. They don't even look the same. They don't even have the same cut, or color. You can let me know if you think they taste even remotely similar.

🙏
 

greeneyes

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Jun 5, 2018
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For the sake of comparison here is a photo with (A) the original Blairgowrie, (B) the new Blairgowrie, and (C) Smokingpipes 20th Anniversary XX Flake Dark.

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And below is my review of the old and new Blairgowries on Tobaccoreviews:

Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note​
incendio (42) 2017-10-21​
★★★☆​
Mild None Detected Very Mild Pleasant​

Solid Virginia base in the nose, the Orientals and a slight Latakia note are present. The aroma is enticing and well-balanced.​
The moisture is perfect for smoking right out of the tin, and is on the dry side--perhaps to the extent that there is not enough moisture in the can to sustain a prominent, fruity fermentation.​
Tangy on the tongue, and sweet peppercorns from the Perique.​
The real star is the marriage of Virginia and Orientals, supported more by the Perique than by the Latakia, which builds sparingly as you work your way down the bowl.​
That having been said, this blend relies more on the marriage of tobaccos than on the quality of its Virginia base, which is slightly green and significantly less complex than the one featured in its cousin, McClelland's Matured Cake. I would argue that it's just good enough to be average and not bad. It may be true that when one bakes a cake, "any old egg will do" but for a blend sustained by a Virginia base, I do believe that the "building is only as good as its bricks," and that the mediocre quality of the Virginia hinders what would otherwise have been a stellar combination.​
Definitely an all-day smoke. You won't tire of its honest qualities, and it's not of such a "special" character that you would feel some compunction about carelessly burning through several bowls. I am a great fan of this style of tobacco, and for a little more depth in the Virginia department I would recommend its cousin, Matured Cake, which is available in bulk.​
[Revisitation: April 2020]​
I had a little Blairgowrie remaining in a jar, left over from my earlier review, which I finished not too long ago. This is fortunate as I can say with some certainty that the changes I perceive aren't likely imaginary.​
The earlier Blairgowrie was, to my mind, a smooth Virginia-Oriental with a smattering of condimental tobaccos to add intrigue and slight depth. There was a definite interplay between the Virginias and the buttery Orientals.​
This current version was a rather abrupt change, more notable because the changes were in those particular aspects on which I was most keen. I popped open the tin and saw tawny broken flakes, which have since aired somewhat and mellowed to a chestnut brown. The earlier Blairgowrie was a paler sandy brown with a somewhat broader cut. I searched the record in these reviews to be sure I hadn't made some type of mistake.​
What I discovered is that the Virginia component is the slightest bit more complex. Only very slightly: a bit of grass and hay was supplanted by a roasted malt aroma that lingered slightly on the tongue. To my dismay the earlier Oriental prominence had subsided considerably. My evaluation of the current composition of Blairgowrie is that it is now a Virginia (rather than a Virginia-Oriental) with condimental amounts of Orientals, Latakia and Perique.​
What this blend has to offer it will unveil only when unhurriedly sipping the smouldering broken flake. Walking about or smoking in a breeze availed me nothing, and anything but the most leisurely cadence provoked a heat (not a bite per se) that toppled the subtle complexities.​
Unlike the earlier edition, this current blend reminded me somewhat of the old Robert McConnell Virginias, except that the depth of body lies somewhat short of the current German (K&K) Hal o' The Wynd.​
I'll continue working on this sizable tin and see what allure and charm may unfold as the blend breathes and further comes into its own.​
[Edit 4/27/2020] If it's any help, the Virginia-Oriental used to resemble "Bijou" and now it's a darker Virignia, similar (probably identical, actually) to the Smokingpipes Dark Flake (but with a little smoky Latakia added). This sums up the change rather well I believe.​
Pipe Used: several billiards and a stack​
Age When Smoked: "fresh"​
Purchased From: Smokingpipes​
Similar Blends: [Older] Imagine McClelland's #2020 Matured Cake with a greener, more hay-like, less-matured Virginia., [Newer] A drier Hal O' The Wynd with a whisper of Latakia.​
8 people found this review helpful.​
 

shaneireland

Member
Jun 14, 2014
126
782
Conway, SC
www.smokingpipes.com
...

Why don't you let me send you some? I'll let you judge for yourself. Samuel Gawith "changes" from batch to batch, from year to year, as a function of variation in raw material and perhaps even process. In fact is has changed significantly in the past two years, but the differences have not distanced it from the original enough to engender an entirely new product.

What has occurred with Blairgowrie is an alteration in recipe and/or ingredients such that the final product is materially distinct from the original. Perhaps it was a mistake. But nobody who sees and smokes the two would ever tell you they are (or were) identical, or even similar. They don't even look the same. They don't even have the same cut, or color. You can let me know if you think they taste even remotely similar.

🙏
Oh, I'm not doubting that they taste dissimilar. I'm saying that no change was made, certainly not one that was made to "save" better quality leaf for newer releases. I'm saying that you'll always notice differences from batch to batch, tin to tin, year to year, and that it's even more muddy when you're comparing tins of different vintages. Yes, age will change the taste, but it can also change the appearance. And since you've opened both tins (presumably), how they're being stored since popping is further separating them. I've had the same exact tobacco, from the exact same production run, in tins of different sizes and jars of different sizes; they all taste slightly different at any given age because of the differences in the amount of oxygen in their storage containers alone. To your point about cut, I've seen differences between tins from the same exact run. Meaning that the first few pounds cut end up slightly different in thickness to the last. This is really common with manufacturers that are making smaller batches on older machinery. The difference can be minimal, but can seem drastic if you're only seeing a few tins out of thousands.

I'm sure we've all had wildly different experiences with bowls of tobacco from a single tin, depending on the time of day, pipe used, packing method, etc. I've had tins from both domestic and foreign manufactures where there were flakes of different thickness in the same tin!

Blairgowrie is the same as it was; the recipe has not changed. That doesn't mean you won't have different experiences throughout the years. Plus, you're not smoking dozens and dozens of tins, so your sample size is another factor...

My favorite blends (that I've literally smoked pounds of) still surprise me from time to time and that's part of the fun.
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2019
7,903
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In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
You know, there are several different varieties of Red Virginia, and many more varieties of burley, and many more varieties of cavendish... and despite what many think, there are a few periques to choose from also. There are also many different ratio combinations.
The copy work on a tin just isn't very precise at all. It's really not worth wagering on what is printed on them.

Stewed fruit with a bit of soy....not kidding.
and you haven't shared any with us because????
 

alaskanpiper

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May 23, 2019
7,276
21,371
Alaska
and you haven't shared any with us because????
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2019
7,903
14,726
43
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Oh, I'm not doubting that they taste dissimilar. I'm saying that no change was made, certainly not one that was made to "save" better quality leaf for newer releases. I'm saying that you'll always notice differences from batch to batch, tin to tin, year to year, and that it's even more muddy when you're comparing tins of different vintages. Yes, age will change the taste, but it can also change the appearance. And since you've opened both tins (presumably), how they're being stored since popping is further separating them. I've had the same exact tobacco, from the exact same production run, in tins of different sizes and jars of different sizes; they all taste slightly different at any given age because of the differences in the amount of oxygen in their storage containers alone. To your point about cut, I've seen differences between tins from the same exact run. Meaning that the first few pounds cut end up slightly different in thickness to the last. This is really common with manufacturers that are making smaller batches on older machinery. The difference can be minimal, but can seem drastic if you're only seeing a few tins out of thousands.

I'm sure we've all had wildly different experiences with bowls of tobacco from a single tin, depending on the time of day, pipe used, packing method, etc. I've had tins from both domestic and foreign manufactures where there were flakes of different thickness in the same tin!

Blairgowrie is the same as it was; the recipe has not changed. That doesn't mean you won't have different experiences throughout the years. Plus, you're not smoking dozens and dozens of tins, so your sample size is another factor...

My favorite blends (that I've literally smoked pounds of) still surprise me from time to time and that's part of the fun.
I don't think he was listening the first time. For some reason it's hard to explain to some people that when you're dealing with organic products (as in something that was once alive) they will never ever be precisely the same. Just too removed from the way most products work I guess.
 
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