Smoking Some 65 Year Old Scottish Flake --- A Group Review

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misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Here's to the king of glen and crag!​



Scotland used to be a powerhouse in the tobacco business, going way back to the pre-independence days of the USA, doing much trade with the baccy farmers over here.
Scotland has given us the most legendary blend outside of Balkan Sobranie,

and that's Three Nuns, originally conceived by J&F Bell's of Glasgow.
A major league of heavy-hitters proudly wearing that Scottish thistle emblem have blessed this Earth with their masterful talents of tobacco blending:
Charles Rattray

John Cotton

George Dobie

Robert McConnell

Stephen Mitchell

John McKinnell

F & J Smith

...probably more of I know not,
and of course,

Thomson & Porteous,

makers of the baccy which is the subject of our study.
This thread will be a group review of one of their offerings, albeit with just a wee bit of age on her.
Thomson & Porteous seem to be quite obscure, with nary a hair of info online, so sadly (for me), I won't go waffling on about all the historical aspects of the company and bore you to tears in glazed eyeballs of intricate lacework involving their founding and evolution, as I am so wont to do with these olde UK tobacco houses (lucky for you).
About the only substantive bits showing up is this great old picture of some workers circa 1907:

http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_g/0_groups_and_outings_thomson_and_porteous_1907_yerbury.htm
...and this site record for Leith Street:

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/84042/drawings/edinburgh+leith+street+general/?&sort_typ=archnum&sort_ord=desc
Not even many tins are floating around out there.
Their most famous blend, gauged by the amount of advertising surrounding it, was Luntin Mixture.











A couple of their other blends had great names, like Celebrated Half Dark Nail Rod Plug and Two Hours Mixture.













But what we're gonna talk about is Scots Cake, and there just ain't much known about it as far as I could find.
I did cast a net though and was lucky enough to get a response from a very knowledgeable gent in Edinburgh.
I reached out to Alan Myerthall of The Pipe Shop in Scotland to see if he could shed any light on the subject.
He graciously replied and explained that Scots Cake was still on the market in 1972 when he started up in the business, but discontinued shortly thereafter. He said that he thought that the factory in Leith was already closed by that time because he would get it from Benson & Hedges.
So, we do know that it had a fairly good long run in the marketplace.
Thank you for that info Alan.
And btw, anyone reading this that may interested in getting a nice new pipe,

The Pipe Shop has an excellent selection of well-priced Northern Briars by Ian Walker,
...and also quite a few nice looking Parker pipes at a super bargain price.
The late production Scots Cake came inna tin that looked like this:

...and in this old thread you can see towards the end when I actually got my mitts on my old 1949 knife-lid tin:

http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/antique-cutter-top-knife-lid-tobacco-tin-survey-and-excavation-image-heavy
That was three months ago.
I finally opened it last week.
It only cost me $25, I gotta great deal I reckon, and there weren't no guarantee that the stuff would even be smokeable, one tiny rust pinhole and it would've been mummy dust.
I did have high hopes.
And those hopes were somewhat satisfied when I finally opened it up, the erotic twisting of a cutter-top adding deeper pleasure to the whole experience, and once pierced it expelled a nectareous aroma of plummy raisin.
Eagerly, I lifted the lid to inspect the bounties within and gauge their state of grace - I was taken aback at how well-preserved this sixty-five year old baccy was!
A cutter-top tin is the perfect vessel, and a flake is the perfect content.
It had survived, and had the promise of providing a grand smoke.
Here are my first impressions on the initial bowlfull:
...I suspected it may be a VaPer due to its Scottish heritage, and I think it actually may be, but I'm very inexperienced with VaPers, barely having smoked much at all, but this stuff after one sample bowl, distinctly reminded me of Esoterica Dorchester, mainly due to the predominantly intense raisin note and flavors, and Dorchester is one of the few VaPers that I've smoked which displays a sort of fruitiness.
I opened the tin just today, not knowing really what to expect but hoping against all odds it would at least be well-preserved. My hopes came true. In glorious outdoor sunlight, I snapped a few pix of it still in its unmolested state, then, I anxiously molested it.
A forceful puncture with the knife-lid produced a rather long swoosh of air, a good 5 or 7 seconds, and along with that escaping air wafted the most intense aroma of raisins, a saturated incense which enchanted my senses and promised delight within - and indeed, softly lifting the now cut lid and then the slightly yellowed paper top cover, revealed that these flakes were in prime condition - my spirit soared!
In the sunlight I could see crystallizations, but not until examining it indoors did I see the full cosmic sparkle of its sugary dust coating the whole flake like dewdrops glistening at daybreak.
I immediately had to sample it and see if it'd be worthy of my plans to distribute it amongst some PipeMag briarbrothers - I chose a very clean Stanwell 19 reserved for Va's.
Char-light revealed the flavor to be a match of the intense raisin smell it initially displayed. Then true-light and the evaluation was under way. It seemed to have a rather light body, quite mellow, not a very dense smoke, almost airy, yet somehow robust with that characteristic raisin profile, and continued somewhat soft 'n subtle in that manner, not exactly a heavy palate hitter, yet giving a distinct satisfaction - by midbowl a very muted spiciness showed up, along with a slight increase in overall body, as well as a deeper richness - and it continued like that right on down to the heel, leaving no dottle and burning effortlessly as most well-aged tobaccos seem to do.
On my second bowl, the initial intensity had seemed to have faded a bit, perhaps my lighting technique was at fault, or perhaps a bit of the magic had already gone to the angels, but after a few puffs it started regaining those plummy raisin notes, and like before, it gained momentum in the middle and retained a nice profile until the end.
There was an instance, however, that it tasted almost harsh, like an unfiltered Lucky Strike cigarette, losing its sweetness and gentle bouquet - because I was overpuffing.
This stuff needs to be sipped and smoked with thoughtfulness.
I also thought that perhaps that fruitiness I was tasting was actually a Whisky casing, or some other alcohol, and not actually perique at all, just because the flavor seemed so accentuated, sort of heightened.
I dunno if that's from the aging, perhaps perique, or maybe a casing - I'm simply too inexperienced to accurately gauge what it actually is.
Not to mention my emotional bias due to the patina of the tin, the act of opening a virgin knife-lid, and my overly romantic enthusiasm for olde UK tobacco in general --- which may have tainted my observations.
And that's one reason why I decided to send out samples to a diverse clutch of my PipeMag brothers - to help me decipher it, to give their objective impressions, to write whatever they wished about it however they wished to write it.
All with blunt honesty I reminded them, please be frank.
If it's flat, say it's flat.
If it's past it's prime, say it's past it's prime.
Indeed, I did detect a sort of flat element, kind of like a funky staleness around the edges, but overall it was quite flavorsome I thought.
This will be an educational process for me, I think I'll learn something here, and I thank all the participants for taking the time to share your thoughts about this olde flaked baccie.
I think nearly everyone in North America has their samples, but it'll be maybe another week before the baccy reaches friends over in Scotland, Ireland, and The Netherlands - for that I apologize, perhaps I should have planned this out all better, but I was excited after opening it up and went into a sort of frenzy, wanting to get the baccy sent out as soon as possible before it started fading.
So, hopefully this post will keep growing as everyone comes to chime in --- on their own time and in their own way.
It should be interesting to see the different interpretations of this olde Scots Cake, and I'm greatly looking forward to reading it all!
Thanks everyone.
(...and apologies for such a long rambling post.)
The stuff itself:






















 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,848
19
Troy, many thanks indeed for sending me a sample of this rare and glorious flake.
My first impressions, after just the one bowl:
I detected nothing "flat" whatsoever. The smell of plummy raisin in the unlit tobacco is INTENSE. The smoke, for me, from first light, was deeply fruity. Dark, stewed fruits, that is -- nothing bright like pineapple or strawberries. The deep, sweet VAs only grew more deep and flavorful as I progressed through the bowl. There was a touch of throat-scratchy something in there, but overall I found it to be a smooth, cool-smoking flake in the British tradition. In a way, it reminded me of Bulwark flake -- not the exact flavor profile of Bulwark's Lakeland-lite topping, but the rich, deep, smooth, mellowness of VAs and perhaps some burley as well. Stonehaven comes to mind here, but Scots Cake has more VAs than anything else as far as I can tell. If there is any Perique in this flake, I couldn't detect it distinctly. The dark-fruit bass notes remind me more of typical British flakes made of VAs and burley (with no Perique). And there may be an alcoholic casing involved. At this point, the fermentation of the tobaccos probably gives this sense as much as anything else. And although I'm most struck by the deep, dark, mellow notes in the flavor, the VAs have more than enough "legs" to support it all. I'm still wondering if there isn't some kind of typically British casing involved -- perhaps a bit of Tonquin/Coumarin as it has a very slight affinity with St. Bruno.
Thanks again, Troy, for the opportunity to try this.

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Awesome Wes!
What a great write-up, now that you mention it, I do detect those affinities you speak of!
The smoke, for me, from first light, was deeply fruity. Dark, stewed fruits, that is -- nothing bright like pineapple or strawberries. The deep, sweet VAs only grew more deep and flavorful as I progressed through the bowl.
That's an on-point summary, and that's what I experienced too.
There was a touch of throat-scratchy something in there, but overall I found it to be a smooth, cool-smoking flake in the British tradition. In a way, it reminded me of Bulwark flake -- not the exact flavor profile of Bulwark's Lakeland-lite topping, but the rich, deep, smooth, mellowness of VAs and perhaps some burley as well.
Wow, that's a dimension that I didn't pick up on, at least not at the forefront, but I agree with your opinion on this, I very much appreciate you bringing this aspect into light.
Stonehaven comes to mind here, but Scots Cake has more VAs than anything else as far as I can tell.
Again, I missed this element of Stonehavenesque qualities, but dammit if you ain't got somethin' there - the darkness, the depth, the smoothness, all share common ground.
If there is any Perique in this flake, I couldn't detect it distinctly.
This is where my lack of experience and preconceptions came in and caused me to falter to a default perique presence, I'm just not familiar enough with perique, and I ain't familiar enough with well-aged baccie either, to gauge whether or not it played a role --- I admit I have a long way to go as far as developing my palate and dissecting what's what --- and that's one of the great charms with pipesmoking, the daily growth and ever-enhancing new experiences!
The dark-fruit bass notes remind me more of typical British flakes made of VAs and burley (with no Perique). And there may be an alcoholic casing involved. At this point, the fermentation of the tobaccos probably gives this sense as much as anything else. And although I'm most struck by the deep, dark, mellow notes in the flavor, the VAs have more than enough "legs" to support it all. I'm still wondering if there isn't some kind of typically British casing involved -- perhaps a bit of Tonquin/Coumarin as it has a very slight affinity with St. Bruno.
No doubt brother.

Well done my friend.

I very much appreciate your perspective and your ability to describe it all.
First review and I've already gained new perspectives!
Most excellent!

:puffpipe:

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Timothy -
No way man, ya didn't screw nuthin' up brother, I'm glad you got 4 bowls out of it and was able to describe the experiences so well.
And thanks for the pic too, very cool to see how it arrived on your end, and the honor of it being smoked in your birth-year Dunhill!
When I opened the foil and smelled the flake I got a good smell of raisins and maybe fig. I also smelled some sort of Whisky, maybe a light Highland
Same here, the aroma was intense --- but I didn't immediately pick up on the possible Whisky, I cain't drink the brown stuff, vodka is my poison, so I ain't too familiar with Whisky scents or flavors.
I appreciate your input on this quality.
The smoke was very mild and the whisky still came through. Not in an overpowering way but in a drinking buddy kind of thing. The smoke was very cool, dry and the room note was very mild. It smoked all the way through with just one more light and left just ash at the end. It was a very enjoyable smoke.
Awesome.

Diggit.
Later that night, I smoked my Barling Londoner with another flake and this time I paired the flake with some Macallan 12 sherry cask and the flavor of both went through the roof. Easily one of the best smoking experiences.
I love how you chose to pair it and your description of the experience is a thrill to me that you enjoyed it so much, great stuff!
The next day was flake # 3's day to shine. I smoked it in a SMA custom Spitfire bent billiard that is my go to flake pipe. The raisin and fig were definitely still there but the light whiskey was just as "cute" (couldn't help myself) and it just keep my taste buds alive. It burned all the way to ash and was a welcome easy cool smoke.
Cute indeed!

LOL

Is the SMA a meer?
Last night was the final flake. For this pairing I chose a Balvenie 25 year old Single Cask and I again used my birth year Dunhill. This time it didn't need any additional drying and then I folded and stuffed. The whisky I detected in the baccy combined with the Balvenie almost finished me off. It was just flat out delicious. It almost had a mild fruity taste that I couldn't put my finger on.
Again, how you chose to pair this is so cool, and I'm with you on detecting that fruity element I couldn't put a finger on.
Well done mate!
Thank you so much for taking the time to evaluate this stuff.
I can already tell by just 2 reports that this exercise will provide a rich educational experience!
Cheers!

:puffpipe:

 

voorhees

Preferred Member
May 30, 2012
3,660
267
Gonadistan
I was interested in this when you asked the members here, but did not join in as I don't think I could do the review justice. Nice to hear a few that can.

 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
3,750
786
New York
I am amazed by these reviews. I could have purchased a bunch of tins like this in the 1980s and didn't - what an idiot was I for not doing so!

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Yeah,

this is fun.
I forgot to mention - it's a fairly monochromatic smoke, not really complex, but I found it enjoyable how the flavor profile seemed to keep intensifying as the bowl progressed.
And, I was a little surprised at how "stemmy" it was, it seems to me to have more stem content than modern flakes?

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Michael - very well done, a joy to read.
Adding to the cool factor is you and your son both together for the smoke, and how you chose to gift him with the Orlik billiard ---

totally awesome!

:puffy: :puffy:
btw

It was reading what you've written about straight billiards which indeed opened my eyes, a revision of my aesthetic vision, and nudged me toward them. I used to think the shape was too traditional and quite boring, but now I love them, they're my favorite shape. What I find ironic is that it seems a bit difficult to find a really good straight billiard, one that has the proper proportions, just a hair off and they look clumsy, or just wrong somehow. It's easier with the old British estates of course, but then we're talking condition and scarcity - with contemporary pipemakers, either they can make one or they can't, I mean one that looks right, and the ones that look right always seem to sell very quickly.
Anyway,

back to the baccie...
The first third of the bowl was very strong in the dried fruit flavors of the sample aroma. Very excellent. Stonehaven wished it nailed that fruit thing as well as this Scots Cake tonight has it down.
Excellent quote.
I'm undecided whether the fruitiness was part of the casing or naturally occurring. I lean toward the former, although certainly various fruit tastes occur in pipe tobacco and cigars, so it could be natural. I guess I wouldn't be willing to wager on it, but in either case it's a delight.
Indeed, it's difficult for me to gauge exactly what it is as well, but whatever it is, you're correct - I found it delightful!
I do not know if this tobacco indeed contained Perique or not. No idea what so long aging would do to the Perique. I got no black pepper, but I did get faint pepper notes, and the smoke was lively on the tongue throughout. Not bite-y, but it did have a tingle to it.
I should have never said anything about perique, I think I misidentified it as containing some, but really I have no idea. I'm hoping someone may be able to definitively say yay or nay, but otherwise, it's a good kind of mystery to live with, that distinct flavor profile.
The bowl settled into a mild Virginia with subtle fruit tones and a perfume that reminds me of the pomanders my grandmother kept in her dresser drawers. This definitely has a perfume to it, but not of a Gawith Hoggarth magnitude. It was pleasant and complimented the mild tobacco and fruit notes. Scented talc is perhaps not far off, and while I don't think it will linger, I will probably taste it for the next couple bowls out of this pipe.
Interesting.
In terms of Virginia sugar, this didn't show as much as some other aged Va's I've smoked, and I feel that the tobacco smoked tonight was not too far off the original with the exception of the smoothing the years have worked on it and a mellowing of the casing element.
Nice, I like how you brought that aspect into play, not too far off the original with the exception of the smoothing the years, I hadn't considered it but you may just be right -- it speaks to the talent of the blenders, and reaffirms my belief that the old cutter-top tins are superior to any other form of packaging.
The tobacco burned well and my wife said this had the most pleasant room note of anything I've ever smoked.
Great stuff, that's pretty incredible, glad to hear it.
I think a comparison to St Bruno is appropriate. I also think that, reading a list of ingredients used in casing the original Capstan, that this Scots Cake would have been a similar mixture.
The olde UK tobacco houses knew how to do it right.
A very good smoke. Mild, tasty, a little something extra without being obnoxious about it, and not like any tobacco that's readily available to American pipe smokers.
True that.
...and the fruit notes both unburned and burning are the best I've had in a pipe tobacco
I think I'd have to agree.

I've never tasted anything else with such a robust deep fruit note the way that Scots Cake carried it.
Thank you for taking the time, it was a pleasure to read.
. . . . . .
We now have 3 reports that seem to intersect in the same sweet spot, 4 including mine.
There are 8 more people who will be adding their thoughts here.
I'm looking forward to seeing how this rounds out,

and how the finalized tally will look.
Surely we can't have a unified consensus could we?

That's fairly difficult to do amongst a dozen different pipesmokers!
Dissent!

Dissent!
Can't wait to see what comes next.

:puffpipe:

 

pruss

Preferred Member
Feb 6, 2013
3,452
39
Mytown
The only dissent I'm experiencing right now is with Canada Post!
*scuffs foot*
Stupid no weekend delivery!
**kicks can**
Every day I go to the mailbox as SOON as I get home... every day more IKEA fliers and NO aged tobacco.
***grumble***
-- Pat

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Damn Pat.
My apologies,

I feel kinda bad, perhaps I started the thread too early, I'm hoping your envelope is in the mailbox today.
And,

just for reference,

regarding the pipe that cakeanddottle used,

here's what a Loewé & Co. Redcar 137 looks like:


That image is from the incredible Loewe Pipe Packet put out by Gary B. Schrier and his Briarbooks Press:

http://www.briarbooks.com/The_Loewe_Pipe_Packet_FHDM.html

...the facsimile catalogues he's been publishing are a true gift.
I'm not usually into the earlier stuff because I favor sandblasts, but these early catalogs can be highly educational in regard to understanding shapes and their subtleties.
I would have never gotten this if it weren't for seeing it available at $10 on the P&C garage sale page, and I'm so glad I did get it. I would have missed out on much.
It is definitely worth getting.
It is lavish.
Luxurious.
It will transport you.
What really astounds me are the numerous billiard variants Loewe offered and how each one carries itself most distinctly as its own, I reckon since Emil was a Frenchman this great ability carried over much like how it did with Comoy.
Just looking through the 1910 catalogue is a jawdropper,

I'd love to have one of their Allbriars.
Never had I seen either, how exactingly perfect the Liverpool shape could be, they nailed it.
I wish they weren't so difficult to come by.

 

pruss

Preferred Member
Feb 6, 2013
3,452
39
Mytown
Don't worry Troy. The reviews above won't spoil my analysis. I stopped eating onions and using hot sauce this week to make sure the taste-buds were in good working order.
-- Pat

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,807
2,528
Chicago, IL
I'd like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Troy for generously according me the privilege and rare opportunity to sample a flake tobacco that's been aging for 65 yrs. Now, on to a description of the experience. For the record, I had enough tobacco for smokes in 3 squat bulldogs (my favorite shape): Savinelli, Butz-Choquin, Sebastian Beo.
The flakes were 2¼" x ¾" x ~ 1mm; at what I consider the optimum moisture level for immediate use; and coated in spots with that silvery, glistening harbinger of delight we often find on aged, pressed tobaccos. (While I'm thinking about that frosty residue, I should mention that I don't recall ever seeing it on any flakes produced outside of the U.K. I'll have to look for it on some locally produced blends.)
The bouquet was fairly strong, and reminiscent of dried dark fruit, but with a musty, woody edge -- and it carried into to smoke stream quite faithfully. In fact, "fruity, woody and musty" pretty well describes the smoke's profile. I don't have a clue as to what tobaccos went into this blend, but I can describe what it seems to have been: think red Va., Latakia, some Oriental, and Perique, perhaps with a whisky topping. But go on to imagine how such a blend would change if the Virginias mellowed; the Latakia faded dramatically; and the Oriental and Perique both gained musty aromatic strength, as well as some spiciness.
Regardless of the original mix of Virginias that went into this blend, it is now devoid of citrous tartness and/or grassy sharpness. The blend is somewhat sweet -- but it doesn't reside at the sweet end of the Va spectrum, it merely leans toward it. The aging process has mellowed and deepened the bread-like qualities that I find in red Va's.
Throughout the sampling process a woodsy, salty finish kept developing on my palate, with the vague suggestion of smokiness. So it isn't much of an imaginative leap to conclude that the blend originally contained a good dose of Latakia. Apparently, Latakia fades with time -- and that, I think, is what gives this blend its ineffably woodsy/smoky/saline edge without appearing to be an overtly "Full British" blend. What may have been the pungence of a smoky campfire has, with time, become attenuated and indistinct. This faded Latakia taste is unique in my experience, so I might be fooled by some fire cured or stoved leaf -- but I don't think so.
This sample has a musty edge -- like the pages of an old book. Perhaps that's due to fermentation, but there's something aromatic about it, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that it has some Oriental leaf -- maybe Izmir (Smyrna). And the fruity taste? Has to be some Perique there too. There is no peppery tingle, for which Perique is renowned, but there is a gentle spiciness -- not an herbal spice, but rather, the spice found in the sugar coated, jellied candy called Spice Drops.
Well, I could go on to discuss the usual stuff of tobacco reviews: smoothness, or balance of flavor, body and strength; whole mouth feel, smoke volume, nicotine strength, cool, dry smoke, yada yada. But those things don't matter too much because the real experience here has been to imagine the transformations in the aging process. That's the gift Troy has given to we fortunate few. I'm sure he wishes he had enough to give everyone a taste.
Now, I said something or other to Troy about this tobacco being almost as old as I am. Frankly, I think I was a bit over the top in making any analogies, so I won't repeat what I wrote to him. But he's free to quote me if he really thinks it is helpful.

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
2
Larry - Most excellent. Top shelf stuff.
And thanks for giving me permission to quote the quote,

I found it to be magnificent and incredibly eloquent.
Here's the quote:
I've gotta smoke a couple more bowls of Scots Cake, and then I'll start writing it up as a review that I can paste into the thread you start. If I can believe what G L Pease writes, then certainly a 65 yr old tin is at least approaching the end of the road; but frankly, I kinda liked the two bowls I've had so far. Altho its erstwhile exuberance is forever gone, I have to admit that I like it better than many young blends I have purchased in recent years! This tin is kind of a metaphor for me since I am 66 yrs old too! As with the agéd, who have gained wisdom and discernment even as time robs them of vigor, this blend possesses a mix and balance of flavors that transcend what a blender can do, limited as he is by the palette of contemporary leaf -- a blender who can only but wait for Chronos to do his magic.
Damn near perfection, those words.
And about the baccie...
The flakes were 2¼" x ¾" x ~ 1mm; at what I consider the optimum moisture level for immediate use; and coated in spots with that silvery, glistening harbinger of delight we often find on aged, pressed tobaccos.
Very nice, thank you for being cognizant enough to actually do proper measurements, an aspect I completely ignored.
You remind me that I need to be more mindful.
btw,

I always mix inches with millimeters too!

When looking at a pipe I prefer to know weight in grams, and chamber diameter in mm, but I must look at length only in inches!
I once read in an old 50's issue of Road & Track a readers letter stating that the metric system was a communist plot and designed to brainwash Americans into submission LOL but I actually prefer the metric system, it's actually more logical.
The bouquet was fairly strong, and reminiscent of dried dark fruit, but with a musty, woody edge -- and it carried into to smoke stream quite faithfully. In fact, "fruity, woody and musty" pretty well describes the smoke's profile. I don't have a clue as to what tobaccos went into this blend, but I can describe what it seems to have been: think red Va., Latakia, some Oriental, and Perique, perhaps with a whisky topping. But go on to imagine how such a blend would change if the Virginias mellowed; the Latakia faded dramatically; and the Oriental and Perique both gained musty aromatic strength, as well as some spiciness.
Wow!

This strophe is a stunner, a great breakdown, and gives me much to ponder.
Regardless of the original mix of Virginias that went into this blend, it is now devoid of citrous tartness and/or grassy sharpness. The blend is somewhat sweet -- but it doesn't reside at the sweet end of the Va spectrum, it merely leans toward it. The aging process has mellowed and deepened the bread-like qualities that I find in red Va's.
Note to self: investigate red Va's more thoroughly.
Throughout the sampling process a woodsy, salty finish kept developing on my palate, with the vague suggestion of smokiness. So it isn't much of an imaginative leap to conclude that the blend originally contained a good dose of Latakia. Apparently, Latakia fades with time -- and that, I think, is what gives this blend its ineffably woodsy/smoky/saline edge without appearing to be an overtly "Full British" blend. What may have been the pungence of a smoky campfire has, with time, become attenuated and indistinct. This faded Latakia taste is unique in my experience, so I might be fooled by some fire cured or stoved leaf -- but I don't think so.
Awesome.

I did capture some "ghost notes" as you speak of, but latakia was totally off my radar, I've only recently come around to even liking the stuff, and have only tasted the fresh intense variety of Cyprian --- correction, I have smoked some late 60's Balkan Sobranie white, the ghost notes of Lat were there, but the oriental leaf carried such a robust mouth-filling intensity, that I was transfixed like a deer caught in headlights, I'm gonna smoke another pipe of that old BS this weekend and see if I can actually discern better what I'm tasting. Thanks for setting me up and prompting into this little project of comparisons.
Again, more food for thought
This sample has a musty edge -- like the pages of an old book. Perhaps that's due to fermentation, but there's something aromatic about it, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that it has some Oriental leaf -- maybe Izmir (Smyrna). And the fruity taste? Has to be some Perique there too. There is no peppery tingle, for which Perique is renowned, but there is a gentle spiciness -- not an herbal spice, but rather, the spice found in the sugar coated, jellied candy called Spice Drops.
I did get that funky mustiness,

and I love the way you've described it here.
And you seem to be leaning toward a definite yes on the inclusion of perique,

interesting.
Well, I could go on to discuss the usual stuff of tobacco reviews: smoothness, or balance of flavor, body and strength; whole mouth feel, smoke volume, nicotine strength, cool, dry smoke, yada yada. But those things don't matter too much because the real experience here has been to imagine the transformations in the aging process. That's the gift Troy has given to we fortunate few. I'm sure he wishes he had enough to give everyone a taste.
Well put.

Spot on.
And,

yes - I do wish that I had enough to share with a broader scope of folks, this sort of thing is priceless, getting the feedback and reading about the different experiences, and how each person processes that experience.
I certainly wish I had more of this stuff!

LOL

But really, if I had kept it all for myself inna jar, smoking it all by my lonesome, in the shadows of obscurity

--- I would have been the poorer for it...
...because I am completely enriched by what is going on here.
For real.
Seriously.
This exercise has turned out to be highly rewarding.
Thank you for your time and for your writing.

:puffpipe:

 

bigboi

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2012
1,193
0
Very great Thread. I liked this idea with many different experiences of the same tobacco. Nice job fellas

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,807
2,528
Chicago, IL
Thanks for the comments. The pleasure was all mine, I assure you.

Late edit: I also had a half bowl of Scots Cake in a Charatan billiard -- not as good as in the wider bowls.

I'd like to know about that shiny stuff that appears on aged flake. Has anybody seen it develop on anything other than

a flake made in the UK?

 
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