Throwdown? Which Out of Production Blend Would You Most Like to See Return?

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menuhin

Preferred Member
Oct 21, 2014
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I still have an unopened tin of Craven Mixture, waiting to see if it will out-live my life.

Same for the original Three Nuns tins, because I would rather seek out some Savinelli Doblone d'Oro.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
10,911
4,973
Premal says it actually is Balkan-Sobranie White. Just re-labeled.
Interesting. I have an 8oz tin of Our Best Blend, dated to June 1, 2004. Gallaher stopped making Balkan Sobranie in 2002. What would have been in that tin?

 

jguss

Preferred Member
Jul 7, 2013
888
548
Hi Jesse,
Your 2004 tin of Our Best Blend is a Germain product.
The story is somewhat tangled but it amounts to this: when the original Smokers' Haven blends were ordered by Joe Zieve from Sobranie in the early fifties, OBB was a private label version of the Original Smoking Mixture (aka Sobranie White). It continued to be supplied by Sobranie for the better part of thirty years until the Redstones sold the company to Gallaher in 1980. From that point on Gallaher took over production of all the Sobranie branded blends. The Sobranie private label business was another matter. It was redirected to one of two manufacturers: McConnell and Germain (I have the impression, but am not sure, that most of it went to McConnell). The story is that Zieve preferred Germain, and as a result they took over the recipes for production of the Smokers' Haven blends previously made by Sobranie. And as far as I know all the Smokers' Havens import blends produced since that time (albeit on an intermittent basis) have been made by Germain.
Jon

 

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sablebrush52

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Jun 15, 2013
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Thanks Jon. Germain's...I can only hope that it's better than the Balkan Sobranie that they started producing...

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,301
534
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
Sorry for the error about the winner in my original post. Thanks for correcting it.
Regarding the Three Nuns, I’ve understood that the Mac Baren version lacks Perique, but that Savinelli Doblone d’oro has Perique and is very close to the original. I just received a 100g tin in the mail today from P&C. It had been backordered. Interestingly, it’s dated 2015. Haven’t tried it yet, though.
With respect to the issue of samples, Russ, wasn’t the throwdown winner chosen by a three judge panel? That’s what the original rules stated. If so, then there’s not much of an issue. However, the rules also stipulated that 3 pounds of tobacco would be supplied by each entrant. That suggests sharing, at the very least. Last year, there were three or four tubs of blends in the smoking tent that you could sample for free, then vote for your favorite. I just asked the CPCC president, Paul Bender, about that last week and he said that they determined that the fee for entering the show was sufficient to satisfy the FDA rules for those particular samples. So, even if the winner were chosen by popular vote by the attendees, I would think it could work under those same parameters.

 

blendtobac

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,234
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In 2011, when the first Throwdown was held, those rules weren't in effect, so samples were fine back then.
If I buy a tin, or if someone gives me a tin, can I then share the contents with others?
The rule only applies to retailers and manufacturers.
Russ

 

jguss

Preferred Member
Jul 7, 2013
888
548
With respect to the issue of samples, Russ, wasn’t the throwdown winner chosen by a three judge panel? That’s what the original rules stated. If so, then there’s not much of an issue. However, the rules also stipulated that 3 pounds of tobacco would be supplied by each entrant. That suggests sharing, at the very least. Last year, there were three or four tubs of blends in the smoking tent that you could sample for free, then vote for your favorite. I just asked the CPCC president, Paul Bender, about that last week and he said that they determined that the fee for entering the show was sufficient to satisfy the FDA rules for those particular samples. So, even if the winner were chosen by popular vote by the attendees, I would think it could work under those same parameters.
craig: yes, the winner of each of the two throwdowns was chosen by a tabulation of the blind ratings supplied by three judges. there was also a people's choice winner, however, based purely on the popularity of each contestant's blend with chicago show attendees who chose to pick up and evaluate free samples available the day before the throwdown took place. that is what the three pounds of tobacco was for: supplying each judge with enough tobacco to do his comparisons to samples of the original blend that was being recreated, and preparing a large number of free packets for show attendees who wanted to try each blend. note that the circumstances surrounding the people's choice award were artificial; show attendees did not have access to the original samples of sobranie 759 (in the case of the first throwdown) or john cotton 1&2 (in the case of the second throwdown). so without a baseline for comparison purposes the three blends were being evaluated on a standalone basis. moreover unlike the judges, who had weeks to perform their evaluation and decent quantities of the various tobaccos to work with, the attendees had one sample and one day. the point of the people's choice award was to give attendees a chance to be part of the process and encourage attendance at the actual event; it should not be confused with the actual winner of the throwdown.
as for repeating a throwdown, given the current regulatory environment i'd be reluctant to attempt to navigate the various risks involved. even industry experts (and their lawyers) disagree on some aspects of what the regulations mean and how they restrict a company's ability to act. for the layman, and all the organizers of the throwdown were enthusiasts rather than members of the trade, the issues are more perplexing still.
as for new throwdowns, i'd observe that as a practical matter the second throwdown, while great fun, was a bit less successful than the first. in part it was because the novelty had diminished. and in part perhaps because after sobranie all other vanished tobaccos had a much smaller following by comparison.

 
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