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GLP's Embarcadero - The Thread

Vito

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In another post on this forum, Hazmat requested a review of Embarcadero. Such a fine weedage clearly deserves its own thread here, so h'yar 'tis.

What follows below is a review I originally posted over on the Knox board just prior to Embarcadero's release. I based the review on a sample from a pre-production tin that Greg brought with him to TJ's Sonora Smoker last May.

Vito :joker:
  • ______________________________________________________________
    A Special Preview - G.L Pease Embarcadero - 070602

    My first few minutes of luscious puffing on Embarcadero occurred almost two weeks ago at TJ's Sonora Smoke-In<img class="emojione" alt="®️" title=":registered:" title=":registered:" src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/emojione/assets/png/00ae.png?v=2.2.7"/>. Greg whupped out a tin of the stuff, muttered some futile caveats about its being more moist than the actual production version will be—as though that would suffice to warn anyone off from dipping in for a bowlful—and then he popped the top.

    My initial reaction to the tin aroma was...HAH!—this is a new direction for GLP. The man is stretching himself—moving into territory unlike any in which his prior masterpieces have dwelt. I'd better explain that.

    There is a micro-genre of Ginnyweedages that have sublime aging potential, the paramount example of which are the masterful PCCA blends concocted by Bob Hamlin, in conspiracy with Mike McNiel. Bob doesn't hit a home run on every one of them, but he's probably batting somewhere around .950 to .960...not too shabby. Some of them are legendary: Dulcet and Quantum come to mind. I won't review them here; I'll just say that you have to experience them to know what they're about — matured Virginias with high sugar content, specially selected for their aging potential. They're delightful when new, and exquisite after a couple of years in the tin; but after 10 to 15 years, they transform into nearly psychedelic smokes. Y'all prolly think I'm kidding; those who have tasted them know I'm not...even TJ. :mrgreen:

    Anyhow, that's the league Embarcadero is in. It was immediately obvious when I sniffed the newly-opened tin. It's a phenomenally good smoke now (see below), but give it a few years in the cellar and I predict it will become mind-blowing weedularity—the stuff of legends.

    I filled the bowl of a Castello Sea Rock bent chimney (2.75" bowl height) that's normally dedicated to PCCA Dulcet Two...a pretty close match, except that Dulcet Two contains no Orientals. That's fine; the Orientals in Embarcadero would have a nice Ginnyweed platform on which to sing in the Castello. Charring light, tamp, relight, and smooth burnage ensued. Was it too moist, as Greg opined? Nope. It's a bit wetter than usual for a GLP Ginnyweed, but not enough to create any problem lighting the weed or keeping it lit. If the production weed is a bit drier, that'll make it perfect for aging.

    I burned the first 1/8 bowl, and then deliberately let the pipe go out. I wanted to study it under more focused conditions than I could muster in the jovial party atmosphere at TJ's. Like all of the GLP tobaccos, Embarcadero is worthy of concentration. I DGT'd it until now, and I'm glad I did.

    This stuff is an exquisitely comfortable smoke; it feels like velvet. Mouth feel is something I don't think about too much, maybe because I've settled into a few hundred comfortable tobaccos after all these years, and I generally tend to stay away from the ones that beat the daylights out of my mouth tissues. Anyhow, Embarcadero feels like the soft, old pair of Levis I'm wearing as I write this. Not that I often put Levis in my mouth.

    I've been turning over in my mind what the heck I can say about this weed that would do its flavors justice. Do you like the naturally sweet, toasted, supple flavors of fine matured Virginia tobacco? Then you'll love Embarcadero. Of course, I can name any number of other pipeweeds that will give you that, and I'll bet you can too. So what's the big deal here?

    The big deal is in three aspects of Embarcadero's virtues:

    • The complexity of the Virginias—It's more than just "matured Virginia", which can be sort of monochromatically luscious, but not particularly interesting. Embarcadero's Virginias run the gamut from citrusy, to fruity, to caramel, to baked plum pudding.
    • The Orientals—I don't know what kind of Orientals Greg has used in Embarcadero, but I want some for Dr. Vito's Extra Twisted Blends. This Turkweed is special stuff. I would love to smoke some of it all by itself. It reminds me of some Turkish flake I copped (from Craig Tarler, I think) about 6 years ago—stuff I didn't think was available any more. If burnt ocher were a flavor, this would be it. It's a marvelous, toasted flavor that is neither bitter nor sweet. It's...well, soft and smoky.
    • The symbiosis between the two—This is the almost unfathomable part of Embarcadero—one that has completely beguiled me into a hopeless infatuation with the weed. This aspect of it goes beyond complexity into the realm of the seductive.
    At about 1/3 of the way down in this Castello Sea Rock chimney (better stand back, folks)...

    • OHMYGAWD! What hath GLP wrought?!
    OK, this doesn't happen often, but I'm feeling like I can't even scratch the surface of the task of adequately describing Embarcadero. In the first 1/3 bowl, it was just simply very special pipe tobacco. After the first 1/3 bowl, I want to stop writing and just smoke this stuff.

    But duty calls; sacrifices must be made in the cause of scientific research. I'll press on, despite the challenge of having to put up with the distraction of pipeweedular nirvana. Someone has to do it. :roll:

    And still there's more! What's this? There's perfume in the smoke! I don't mean there's perfume in the tobacco...there isn't. There was no discernible aromatic essence in the tin aroma; no "subtle top dressing that doesn't show up in the smoke" type thang. Zero, zip, nada, zilch. Défense de parfume.

    No...I mean the perfume is in the friggin' smoke! How does he do this? Dayumn!!

    Sheesh...what am I talking about? I just realized—I'll bet you have exactly NO idea what I mean by perfume. In fact, I don't even know what I mean by "perfume", so maybe I'd better try to unpack this. Incense? Spice? Essential oils of exotic stuff secreted away by wizened old sages with pointy hats bearing stars and moons? It's the stuff of sensual sorcery—the fragrances exuded by tiny little crystal bottles of rare and precious essence of something-or-other that fairly intoxicate your senses when you catch a whiff. It's wonderful, but I can't define it.

    I'm down into the bottom half of the bowl now, and as the flavors and aromas intensify, I'm thinking that I'm going to have to set this big old pipe down or get way more high that I already am. Oh yes, brethren and sistren, Embarcadero is no wimpweed. There's a manly belt of weedic fortification in this stuff. Those who sprinkle grinder-whizzed Dark Flake on their breakfast cereal or chew on ropeweed for kicks might not cop a buzz from Embarcadero, but for the rest of us merely mortal mutants, it's the pause that refreshes.

    But onward. What are these sensations? Definitely something spicy, but there is SO much happening here, on so many different levels. There's the sweetness of the Virginias on the tongue, and the tanginess of their citrus flavors, and the toasted flavor of the Turkweed, but without any bitterness or mustiness that so often accompanies Orientals.

    And then there are the aromas—where do I begin? All these gloriously pungent, round, soft full, smells...but what in hell does any of that mean? I don't know. Each olfactory sensation is so tightly coupled with the accompanying tastes....egads!! It's like trying to figure out what environmental wackos or other quasi-religious fanatics are talking about, wherein every definition is circular, but you can't pin anything down. The difference is that smoking Embarcadero is an infinitely more pleasurable experience than listening to lunatic prattle by people who can't define their terms.

    All of which makes me no better, on the lunatic scale, as far as the subject of defining Embarcadero's massively complex tastes and aromas is concerned. I can't do it. Greg, you've done it again...I must cry "Uncle!", dammit...I can't write anything more coherent about this weed, except that I'm utterly smitten by it. I just want to smoke it. I'm sitting here sipping it as slowly as I can to make it last as long as I can, because I know there won't be any more until its release later this month.

    Ah, well...at least I eked out a pittance of beneficent "retaliation" by turning you on to those Tommy Emmanuel videos. :twisted:

    Vito
    ______________________________________________________________
 

jhuggett

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Thanks for posting that Vito. I'm just now getting around to my first tin of Embarcadero so it will be nice to sit and read that while I smoke a bowl. I've been very impressed with the half of tin I've smoked so far.
 
A

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Another First Impressions blurb

I don't know how to describe this. But I take comfort in the fact that nobody else does either.

I think, on balance, that Weedmeister Pease should have named it “Sheherezade.”

For one reason, because the experience of it is as out-of-the-ordinary as the Sultan's encounter with her must have been. Because she's a figure from the Near East, where Izmir comes from. Because the diaphanous harem costume you visualise her in that (from the rest of the National Anthem that nobody learns) “half reveals, half discloses” is as close to an analogue with its flavor as weeks of pondering (and smoking) it can come up with.

“Big deal,” the Sultan said. “Another woman.” OK then, big deal. Another tobacco. But, in both cases, the range of expectations is transcended. It begins with “Wow” ! How often does that happen ? And it isn't a tin-note assault on your senses Wow (like the patchouli oil the rest of the harem girls probably slathered themselves with) either. It's subtle. Intriguing.

Subtle, intriguing and . . . diaphanous. How else can you describe the flavor of Embarcadero ? It eludes being pinned down to similarity with anything you're used to from the world outside of fairy tales. It's comprised of Virginias and Izmir, but GLP's alchemy transforms them into shifting combinations (plural) that have no analogues in the world of experience with the Virginia and Oriental peasent girls from the village. Well, except that they do. And it's this back-and-forth, yes-but-no character that 's going (I suspect) to get to you. Smoke a tin of it with careful attention, and you're no closer to having a handle on its allure than when you set out. It may be a lifetime quest. Especially as a friend who is extremely well-versed in matters weedular estimates that, in light of its constituents, it will probably reach its full flavor potential after twenty years.

I began my acquaintance with Sheherezade properly. Princesses don't live in hovels, so George Dibos rolled back the odometers on two well-seasoned, classic billiards to zero for me. (NBB : heed Pipeline 's advice ! The Izmir in Embarcadero can really, really not get along with the residues of some other tobaccos, calling sceptic tank imagery to mind).

Suitably prepared, 1,001 nights await you. Each one a Revelation. (A term familiar to all from the Bible, where it is the English equivalent of the Greek apokalupsis : the removal of a veil).
 

Justpipes

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Vito,

As I am sure that you have already figured out I am a very simple minded man. It took me a while to take in your review of this tobacco but I was finally able to digest it and have come to the conclusion that I might just have to purchase a time of Embacadero. I know that the following statement might draw much criticism but I have never been a huge fan of Pease blends with the exception of Stratford and Cairo. To be fair though I have not really given many of them a good try. There are several of them that I would like to get around to trying.

Nice review Vito!

Mark
 

jhuggett

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This one blew me away Justpipes, definitely worth a try.

As a side thought, sometimes when I'm smoking this I think it would be out of this world with a touch of perique added. Is that blaspheme?
 

PipeBrew

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Great review Vito, as all of your's that I've read have been. I just recieved a tin from TJ today, among others big thanks to TJ, but I still haven't busted it open, I hope to when I wake up later today. This night shift really makes my days weird.

:pipe:
 

Vito

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jhuggett":swaozme5 said:
...sometimes when I'm smoking this I think it would be out of this world with a touch of perique added. Is that blaspheme?
Hardly, amigo. That's precisely how great ideas begin! Go for it. PLAY!!! Have fun with yer weedage! :mrgreen:

:joker:
 

jhuggett

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Who has the best blending perique that's readily available? :twisted:
 

thomas james

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jhuggett":lvfaf7ew said:
Who has the best blending perique that's readily available? :twisted:
McClelland sells it in tins, last time I looked. Try smokingpipes.com
 

Tom Clemons

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Hats off to Vito and Yak for your impressions of Embarcadero. I've finished about 5 bowls from a sample.

I'm a BIG fan already, and I don't even know it yet. Tangy and more savory virginia and the izmir is smooth and rich. Very complex Va-oriental blend, but is not rough like some oriental blends can be. Wow.

TC
 

PipeBrew

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:shock: I have finally tried the mysterious and mystical GLP Embarcadero. How does one describe something completely different from anything that he or she has ever experienced? I'm not sure, but I'll try. I have a couple of analogies to throw out on this.

First, it reminds me of a slice of pizza from a locally owned/operated pizza shop in Knoxville called Elidio's Pizza. I know it sounds weird, but stay with me. The dough is made from scratch and has a subdued sweetness, like the Virginias of Emb., with a made from scratch tomato sauce to go with it. The sauce is zesty, but brings out the fruitiness of the tomato, much like the Izmir in Emb. Then there's the cheese that thickens the flavor and brings everything together, here is where the two part, Emb. uses it's two prior ingridents to get the same effect, i.e. the Virginias and Izmir come together to give the thick, creamy smoothness of the blend.

Second, it reminds me of the beginning of fall. Still warm, but very comfortable compared to summer, whisps of wind bring in cool and warm airs, like the different flavors in Emb. with zests from the summer still popping in every once in a while, but the change in flavor while keeping the smoothness reminds me of the transforming leaves. The tastes of Emb. are like the change of season, because even with sudden flavors coming in like a warm summer breeze, it all flows harmoniously.

I recieved my tin from TJ as gift, big thanks. It's around a year old. Upon opening, it had the smell of top quality Virginias, moreso than anything else. It was a little moist, and I would recommend some drying time, but I didn't let it dry out any. It wasn't difficult to keep burning, but with some drying time it would cut the number of relights in half. It rubbed out easily. I loosely packed it in a Peterson 312, I believe (also a gift from BronxBill, I'm still speechless on that one, amazing). Lit with my celtic cross zippo. The smoke was fairly consistent, but when given more concentration it deepens as if I were traveling into space. Where does it end? I still haven't reached it. The flavor is earthy, with hints of zest and sweetness, and a touch of nuttiness. The smoke is cool and creamy, and the tobacco burns slow. About midway through the bowl, there it was, the tobacco perfume Vito spoke about, I don't know what it was or how it happened, but it was a glorious whisp of an aroma that probably hasn't been smelled since the scents of an Arabian tent during a festive party with incense mingling with perfumes and oils in the desert as dusk transformed into night. The smoke finished smooth and clean. The tobacco burnt to nearly nothing. I'm still trying to figure out what I experienced during this smoke, but it was something special, with some more age, I couldn't fathom what this tobacco could do. Now, it right there with the 5 year old C&D Solace I recieved from Santa.

Well, there's my feeble attempt at describing this creation.

:pipe:
 

Midnight Blues

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I just popped open a 7month old tin of Embarcadero, filled my #55 Castello Sea Rock and headed off to Erie canal park a few minutes from my house for a quite afternoon smoke. I'm not going to begin to add anything to Vito's and Yak's previous reviews'
but I will say this, Get yourself some Embarcadero, fill your favorite pipe, find a quite place and then sit back relax and experience an amazingly wonderful smoke. All thats been written here and before is true, Embarcadero is not to be missed.

You will not be disappointed...
 

Vito

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PipeBrew":514txym1 said:
...About midway through the bowl, there it was, the tobacco perfume Vito spoke about, I don't know what it was or how it happened, but it was a glorious whisp of an aroma that probably hasn't been smelled since the scents of an Arabian tent during a festive party with incense mingling with perfumes and oils in the desert as dusk transformed into night...I'm still trying to figure out what I experienced during this smoke, but it was something special, with some more age, I couldn't fathom what this tobacco could do...Well, there's my feeble attempt at describing this creation.
PipeBrew:

Obviously, you got it. Big-time. I found no adjectives that sufficed, so I ended up coming as close as I could by describing vibes—apparently unrelated impressions of things that somehow do relate in a way that's difficult to describe, but that I nonetheless sensed.

You've taken a somewhat different and no less explicative route—one that attempts to home in on Embarcadero's elusive qualities through experiences it recalls. Somehow, it seems to fit. Some experiences—I mean the really special ones—can be almost poetic, if not in the way we perceive them at the time, then in the way they seem when we recall them. Somehow, your Arabian tent and accompanying sensations with dusk morphing into night gets the job done. That's precisely what Embarcadero does if you try to fathom it and let it speak to you; it transports you to experiences and perception that transcend the act of smokage itself. It takes a thoughtful mind to listen that closely to its own reflections.

And yet, in the end, you confess that for all your disquisition of Embarcadero's virtues, by your own judgment, your description is enfeebled, coming up short of doing the weed justice. I can relate. Perhaps the recognition of its undefinable qualities is the hallmark of those who truly grok it. :mrgreen:

Vito :joker:
 

PipeBrew

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Vito":03ygg1sm said:
PipeBrew":03ygg1sm said:
...About midway through the bowl, there it was, the tobacco perfume Vito spoke about, I don't know what it was or how it happened, but it was a glorious whisp of an aroma that probably hasn't been smelled since the scents of an Arabian tent during a festive party with incense mingling with perfumes and oils in the desert as dusk transformed into night...I'm still trying to figure out what I experienced during this smoke, but it was something special, with some more age, I couldn't fathom what this tobacco could do...Well, there's my feeble attempt at describing this creation.
PipeBrew:

Obviously, you got it. Big-time. I found no adjectives that sufficed, so I ended up coming as close as I could by describing vibes—apparently unrelated impressions of things that somehow do relate in a way that's difficult to describe, but that I nonetheless sensed.

You've taken a somewhat different and no less explicative route—one that attempts to home in on Embarcadero's elusive qualities through experiences it recalls. Somehow, it seems to fit. Some experiences—I mean the really special ones—can be almost poetic, if not in the way we perceive them at the time, then in the way they seem when we recall them. Somehow, your Arabian tent and accompanying sensations with dusk morphing into night gets the job done. That's precisely what Embarcadero does if you try to fathom it and let it speak to you; it transports you to experiences and perception that transcend the act of smokage itself. It takes a thoughtful mind to listen that closely to its own reflections.

And yet, in the end, you confess that for all your disquisition of Embarcadero's virtues, by your own judgment, your description is enfeebled, coming up short of doing the weed justice. I can relate. Perhaps the recognition of its undefinable qualities is the hallmark of those who truly grok it. :mrgreen:

Vito :joker:
Very well said Vito, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm often shocked at how many people consider this to be a mediocre tobacco :no: . I suppose that the person just didn't really give it the attention it can demand, then again for some it's just not their cup of tea. They call it different tastes, I call it insanity :lol:.

:pipe:
 

Vito

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PipeBrew:

I think you nailed it with the "not giving it the attention..." thang. What you find in a tobacco has a lot to do with not only how much attention you give it, but also the kind of attention you give it.

To wit, I can sit with a pipe and do nothing else. To all outward appearances I'm just sitting there and doing one thing—smoking a pipe. The inference is that I'm totally focused on that and that alone. Nope...that's almost never true. In fact, my mind is very likely thinking about any one of a zillion other things—work, family, music running through my head, stuff I've gotta do...just about everything BUT focusing on the smoking experience itself. My awareness of the pipe runs in and out of consciousness, but there's seldom any consistent focus.

When I review a pipeweed, it's a completely different thing. I'm smoking the weed I'm reviewing, and my focus on the smoking experience is as close to 100% as my written blatherings will permit, The very act of writing the review keeps me focused on the weed—much more focused than I ever would be otherwise.

And that's not all. I get into a completely different mode of sensory perception—one in which my primary purpose is to experience whatever the weed has to offer. My preferences and prejudices aren't relevant; no one gives a rat's behind about them anyway. It's actually a pretty liberating experience, dropping one's expectations. Makes for fairly decent mental health, if thou catchest mon drifte. See? Pipe smoking is therapeutic! That makes it deductible...right? :roll: ...er, never mind...

Anyhow, that's a different kind of attention. I'm deliberately excluding other distractions, and actively seeking sensory impressions that are stimulated by the smoke. Well...in that context, of course I'm going to find things in the smoking experience that otherwise would remain covered up by the noise of constantly shifting focus. I call it "quieting the jabber of monkey-mind", because it reminds me of the effect of having a bunch of chimps bouncing around inside a room...the room in this case being my brain.

I've seen pipers "try" a tobacco by stuffing a pipe with it, firing it up, and puffing away, and all the while they're in full yakkin' mode—jabbering away about this or that, without even the appearance of focusing on the smoke — and as I've described above, even that appearance doesn't guarantee quantity or quality of attention. Incredibly, they're able to pronounce the weed unfit even before they reach mid-bowl. "Needs more Latakia." "Not enough flavor." "I like Wingnut Blend better." "Burns too hot." "This porridge is too cold." "How 'bout them Yankees!" "The cheese stands alone."

It doesn't make any sense to me how anyone can tell anything about a tobacco under those conditions, but hey...that's the nature of subjectivity. They're not "wrong". Rather, they can't get any more out of the experience than they put into it, and if they don't put much in...there you have it.

Of course, that's not to say that someone who doesn't like a tobacco didn't give it a fair shake. Some tastes simply don't agree with some folks. That's fair; as I said, they're not wrong. Then too, not all smokes have to be loaded with subtlety and complexity. I'm sitting here burning a bowl of Skandinavik Red as I'm writing this. There's plenty of interesting stuff in the weed, but it's one of the tobaccos I smoke when I just want a nice smoke that doesn't demand my attention. It's a "10" in that category, but it's folly to ask more of it than it can give.

For me, the essence of the matter is whether I'm willing to take any tobacco on its own terms, without expectations, preconceived requirements, or even preferences in my own personal tastes. I'm willing to do that, and the result is that, regardless of whether I'm inclined to smoke it regularly, I can usually find something to like about almost any ungooped tobacco. That makes for a more useful review than, "I hate this crap!"

Besides, after more than a few decades of pipe smoking, I know good and well that my preferences are more tenuous than the smoke itself. :mrgreen:

:joker:
 
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