Samuel Gawith Black XX Twist

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beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
I'm a big fan of the Gawith brown twists, so I was excited to give the renowned Black XX a try. I'd heard quite a bit about it, and as is usually the case, it was the polarizing nature of this blend that piqued my interest. Those who like it say it's like eating a steak. Those who don't say it's like imbibing a tire fire.
Tin Note and Preparation:

It has a strong tin note that is hard to describe. Honestly, the closest thing I could relate it to was blending perique--a sort of rich, fermented aroma.

It is, like most Gawith blends, too moist as it comes. I was so eager to smoke it that I did smoke it straight out of the tin with some relights, so it's certainly possible to smoke straight out of the tin, but several hours of drying helped it a lot. I ended up slicing and rubbing out about 70% of the twist, since just drying the uncut twist doesn't seem like it would work well or be a good idea.
Flavor:

When I first began reading tobacco reviews, I noticed the buzzwords for certain blends: Virginia leaf is often "grassy," while Burley is "nutty". I quickly caught on that these are not quite literal descriptors--they are close approximations, and certainly appropriate, but Burley doesn't literally taste exactly like any nut I can bring to mind.
With the Black XX I was very surprised by how literal the comparison to grilling meat was. When I lit up my pipe in the back yard, I took a few puffs and thought I was smelling the next door neighbors grilling. I did a double take and thought, "Wait--was that actually my pipe?" I let the pipe go out sniffed the air, relighted the pipe, and realized it was actually the tobacco itself. The flavor is quite like the smell of a barbecue grill, and many of my friends remarked on the similarity as well. Whether or not that's a good thing depends on the smoker. My father, who is a fan of full-bodied blends, remarked that it was "not his cup of tea," but another friend who has similar tastes raved over it. He is a connoisseur of wine, fine food, and cigars, and has just recently come to pipes, and he insists there is a distinct aroma of black truffles in this blend. I can't confirm since I'm not familiar with black truffles.
It's quite a departure from the brown twist. I expected there to be a bit more similarity between the two. That said, I do enjoy the Black XX, and it is one of the most unique blends I've tried. There's nothing even remotely like it in my line up, which is something I like. I suppose the closest thing to it is smoking straight perique, with the deep, rich flavor, but without any of the extreme pepper-iness that is so distinctive to perique.
Nicotine:

Not quite on the level of Brown Twist, but not as tame as I expected. There is certainly some kick to it, though I feel it more in the niccup department and not so much in the overall relaxation department.
In Summary:

This is the most unique tobacco I've smoked. I'd say everyone should try a tin at some point, but it doesn't surprise me that many don't like it. I've actually been reaching for it quite a bit since I received the tin.

 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,038
8,841
Austin, TX
Once again, excellent review. The black truffle your friend picked up on really interests me, I love black truffle, I'll be revisiting this with that in mind. Again, I've only tried the GH but I have a tin of the SG Black XX. I wonder how these black ropes age?

 

jmatt

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 25, 2014
765
58
To me it smells/tastes so much like a grilled New York Strip, that it's a bit off-putting. I love a great New York Strip, but I don't want to smoke it. And like a maduro cigar, black tobacco is actually sweeter with less nicotine than its brown counterpart.

 

beastinview

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 5, 2016
504
1
Once again, excellent review. The black truffle your friend picked up on really interests me, I love black truffle, I'll be revisiting this with that in mind. Again, I've only tried the GH but I have a tin of the SG Black XX. I wonder how these black ropes age?

It's a good question, but I've been smoking such a short time I don't know anything about aging yet! From what I read, the SG Black XX is a bit heavier and more oily than the GH, but I'm sure they're quite similar.
To me it smells/tastes so much like a grilled New York Strip, that it's a bit off-putting. I love a great New York Strip, but I don't want to smoke it. And like a maduro cigar, black tobacco is actually sweeter with less nicotine than its brown counterpart.
Yes, I had a similar reaction at first. It seems like a flattering comparison, but I wasn't sure that was the taste I wanted in my smoke.
That said, I kept reaching for it all the while thinking, "Do I really like this?" Eventually I realized that if I kept wanting to smoke it I must like it, and I embraced the desire.

 

cigrmaster

Lifer
May 26, 2012
20,255
57,192
65
Sarasota Florida
I am not a fan of this blend. To my tastes it is like smoking a barbecue flavored tobacco which is not my thing. From all I have read it does age extremely well as do most if not all ropes.

 

mistersea

Lurker
Jul 8, 2016
13
0
This is a tobacco that has been a challenge for me. Ive made three attempts now at trying to smoke it. The first one, I was much too eager and smoked it from the tin, only to discover the I may as well kept my lighter on it to smoke. The second time, was not much better and I again was too impatient, only giving it 15 minutes to dry out (which was not enough). The third time I gave it about three hours to dry out, but I again got excited and packed a little too much of it, perhaps not accounting for the room that it needs to expand when put to the flame. Hopefully the fourth time will be the charm. One thing is certain, I love the smell and taste of this one, and am actually enjoying the challenge.

 

mistersea

Lurker
Jul 8, 2016
13
0
Fourth bowl was met with more success, this time I unravelled the leaf from the the twist to let it dry. At first it didnt want to stay lit but by the second third of the bowl and it was alot more cooperative.

 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
38,666
85,900
I cut it into very thin coins and then cube cut the coins. Dry for about an hour, gravity fill and smoke.

 

condorlover1

Lifer
Dec 22, 2013
7,123
20,873
New York
Slice it very fine to an almost shag cut and then rub out. Used to smoke these types of tobacco all the time when I only used clay pipes. Burns great in a meerschaum and the moisture is perfect for coloring an old meerschaum.

 

mistersea

Lurker
Jul 8, 2016
13
0
Thanks ChasingEmbers, never done a cube cut method and just read up on it elsewhere in the forums. As for the rub out method, it's a mixture of partial success. I'm thinking the next day I have off will be a good time to tackle it again, until then it will be Escudo or Bold Kentucky for me when I get home from work.

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,457
52,314
I liked the full-strength aspect of black xx but I didn't get much interplay between the different tobaccos. I enjoyed it for a while, off and on, then passed what remained along.

 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,038
8,841
Austin, TX
Low and behold I finally got around to trying my GH&Co. Black Twist Slice and I really enjoyed it this time around. It's not one that I'll be getting 500 grams worth but will be nice to smoke from time to time. It was a really nice and cool smoke for a hot night in Texas.

 

mawnansmiff

Lifer
Oct 14, 2015
6,672
4,996
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I just bought and sampled Brown/Happy Bogie (I meant to buy this instead but got confused at the time of ordering). The BB has a mighty powerful nicotine hit but a gorgeous flavour. I believe the Black Twist to be a somewhat milder smoke so I'll be sure to order the correct tobacco next time.
Great review by the way :puffy:
Regards,
Jay.

 
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