Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding Special Reserve Review

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mikecronis

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 5, 2021
152
337
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This opens up to a full, solid cake of tobacco, something I've never encountered so far. Took off a chunk, rubbed it a bit, and stuffed it willingly into my Dracula 999 Peterson, its scent a little more "reserved" as it were; I found it a bit on the dry side but equally as dense as standard Plum Pudding.

Lit readily and dug-in.

So.. a quick analysis by my reckoning is that it's the same as Plum Pudding but cellar'ed about 5 years. Not sure if that's actually the case but I suspect so. Interestingly, I had commented Plum Pudding might be interesting to have it matured and .. well.. no need. Here it is!


From my Plum Pudding review:
"Strong notes of raisin and deep, dank-wet woods with a bit of what seemed to be a few drops of fermented lemon juice (to me anyway). Cavendish vanilla comes in-and-out distantly but richly as well. A bit skunky and heavy-ish but not as such as the infinite complexity of Balkan Sasieni but more-so than Pete's Early Morning. Quite tasty. Almost a molasses sugar note.. almost."

So.. not the same.. quite.. here's how it's different..

The flavors are all pulled-back quite a bit and blended now in a natural way as if cellar'ed a decent amount of time. Standard Plum Pudding is like a Corvette whereas this is more like a Cadillac of yore (not those race-y ones like the Blackwing V-series but more like an ElDorado, Deville, or Fleetwood). This is a cruiser, not a race-car.

Like putting a splash of water in Glenlivet scotch, it's mellowed for those who imbibe. (not quite rich like Macallan though).

Another description would be Plum Pudding is like a gorgeous but a bit awkward 20 year old blonde in intensity, but Special Reserve version is more like a very mature woman teaching you the birds-and-bees first-hand with patience, confidence, and encouragement; soft, slow, deliberate, and wonderfully.

Flavors of raisin are present but soft as are the lemon juice fermented distantly. Cavendish is soft and backed-off further. Lighter, almost a late-spring smoke. Sugared molasses a bit more up-front and smoother. Everything blended softly and smoothly. Taste is halved overall, and smoothed-over such that it's mellow and nice. Consider liquid chocolate in a milkshake well-blended and then consider powder chunks fighting in a poorly blended milkshake back-and-forth. Plum Pudding standard has flavors fighting each other to be up-front, pushing each other around, (which is fun too) but this one is all working together as-one.

Other, different notes are what I can describe is an overall high-end clove-cigarette taste replacing the cigar-like taste of Standard Plum Pudding. Some bourbon hints in the back, perhaps Maker's Mark 46. I know there's a Bourbon version of this I'll try tomorrow that will likely pull that flavor more up-front.

This is a nice, soft, gentle smoke of very-well expertly blended flavors in an elegant and gentlemanly fashion. Nic hit is the same at slightly above average. Pipe was just a tad over-warm for a few minutes and backed off (or I did, one or the other on my pulls). Sipping is rewarded.

I recommend this and standard Plum Pudding if you want even more powerful flavors to grapple at you as a different experience. Both are good and recommended.
 

Sir Yak

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 15, 2022
215
643
Arkansas
I agree with you on this one. I like both the regular and the reserve. I also thought the reserve was smoother..but I actually prefer the regular. The smoother reserve didn’t have as much of that flavor that I love about plum pudding. I piled up a little of the reserve a few years ago when I caught it on a good sale but I wouldn’t usually pay more for the reserve. They are both worth a try if someone hasn’t sampled them.
 

Wildlands

Might Stick Around
Jan 17, 2022
73
288
NC, USA
Great review. I actually have only tried PP Special Reserve, but I definitely need to get some of the regular Plum Pudding as well, sounds tasty.
 

AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
5,077
26,297
Florida - Space Coast
Just did regular and reserve back to back with unsweetened ice tea as my beverage, simply plug while the regular is a fair 10 to me, the special reserve “goes up to 11” everything about it is one more. I’m glad i have plenty of both on hand!
 
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LudwigB88

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 4, 2023
201
243
I agree with you on this one. I like both the regular and the reserve. I also thought the reserve was smoother..but I actually prefer the regular. The smoother reserve didn’t have as much of that flavor that I love about plum pudding. I piled up a little of the reserve a few years ago when I caught it on a good sale but I wouldn’t usually pay more for the reserve. They are both worth a try if someone hasn’t sampled them.
I’ve heard people say the same about MR, that they prefer the original. Could it be that the reserve is smoothing things out to the point where it’s losing touch with the blends original intent ?
 

hoipolloiglasgow

Can't Leave
Oct 14, 2023
342
1,269
United States
I haven't tried the original, but I still have an open tin of the Flake version of special reserve. It is beautiful, nice thick flakes. I have it aging in the jar for now. To he honest, it's only okay to me. I much prefer Gl Pease latakia blends. It had some rough edges and just like you said, it burned a bit hot. The flavor is decent though, I just have other Englishes that I prefer. I hope that it will smooth out over time because I want to enjoy it. Perhaps I should have just left it in the tin to age a few years instead, but I really wanted to try it to find out if I should buy more.
 

Wyomingpiper

Lurker
Aug 1, 2021
25
44
42
Wyoming
In my opinion, and I'm probably wrong because I'm no expert, but to me the special Orientals in this one taste like Sutliff's Katereny they put in the cringle flake and I'm sure I spelled that wrong.

It's a taste I don't like anyway and other people's reviews don't describe it the way it tastes to me, so I've concluded we don't all get the same tastes.
One more interesting thing about this hobby, and you did a great review.

Of course it could just be a topping Sutliff uses on some blends that doesn't agree with me, and if that's the case my opinions are useless.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.