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GLP's "Nocturne" – A Review

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Vito

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No, you haven't missed anything; Greg Pease didn't sneak a new blend onto the shelves while y'all weren't looking. You can't buy Nocturne anywhere—not yet, anyway—not even at insane prices in an eBay auction. It's my name for a pre-production version of something Greg hasn't even named yet. I want to make this clear: "Nocturne" is a temporary moniker I've assigned only for the purposes of this review, not to be confused with whatever name ultimately appears on the tin when this blend becomes available. Greg was kind enough to send me a precious few flakes of the stuff, and my musings here are a small token of payback for his generosity in gracing me with a preview of this weedular marvel.

Nocturne is a deep, dark, rich flakeweed—that is, a pressed cake sliced into bacon-strip "flakes". The pouch aroma is of sweet, pungent, earthen darkweed. Latakiaholics rejoice! Those who pine interminably for ever stouter Latweed content in a Peasian weedage will be sated, methinks...for a while, at least. (Never mind the fact that there are so many other GLP Latikonfections available to savor...many of which remain wholly ungrokked by the perennially unsated.) But while there is no question that Nocturne is abundantly endowed with mammoth Latakian mammaries on which to suckle, the pouch aroma heralds still greater mysteries to plumb. The sweet, fruity quintessence of 'Ginnyweed is there in the nose, promising the toasted plum-pudding sweetness of fine Virginias that will be forthcoming from the business end of the pipe once you set fire to it.

I always value the first impression of one of the innocents, and my youngest daughter never disappoints me in that regard. "Smells toasty—like some kind of wood burning in a fireplace...but very fragrant, like incense." HAH! Out of the mouths of babes...I couldn't wait, so I crumbled some flakes to make a mix of partially rubbed-out chunks and smaller crumbs, and applied the match. That's right—the match; one is all it took—in an old Ascorti-Radice Caminetto 136 flat-bottomed ball with a 1/16 bend in the stem, a military mount, and a generous airway that almost smokes itself.

Great gobs of rich, thick smoke could easily issue from this stuff in this pipe, but there is no need for such smokiferous gluttony. Nocturne is beyond hearty, beyond full; it is utterly massive weedage...and yet, so smooth as to defy reason—a sure tip-off that this is a GLP creation. Besides, the whole point of this mix of chunks and crumbs is a slow burn, wherein the chunks simmer like coals, with the smaller crumbs in the interstices to provide afterburner doses of oomph when called upon. In this Group 5 to Group 6 Caminetto, the pack easily provides a good 2+ hours of sipping burnage. And sipping is all Nocturne needs to provide great mouthfuls of flavor.

Unquestionably, Nocturne is one of the most finely balanced blends I've smoked in recent memory. I should explain what I mean by "balanced". It is not so much a matter of the component tobaccos being present in equal measure; I wouldn't venture any guess at all as to the proportions of the individual tobaccos that make up the blend. Rather, it's much more a matter of the components working together to become a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Such harmony seldom occurs in blends unless they have seen several years of aging, yet in Nocturne that synergy is immediately available. Surely some of that harmonious melding is attributable to the pressure needed to form the cake from which the flakes are sliced, but it would be naive to suggest that such pressure-melding tells the whole story...or even most of the story.

No...it is never that simple with GLP's blends. The one factor that springs to mind as sufficiently explanatory is obvious—sorcery! I have long suspected Greg of owning one of those conical caps festooned with stars and crescent moons—a glow-in-the-dark chapeau through which he channels some ancient, dark secrets unearthed by alchemists and wizards of yore...knowledge held transfixed in an ether accessible only to mutants with special powers.

Unscientific? Wanton mysticism? Perhaps...but I know of no science to which I can anchor any conventional explanation of the sensory delights I consistently find in GLP blends, especially in the grand slams he's been clobbering outa the park with his most recent offerings. Nocturne is no exception.

I'll tell you what I like about this blend. First, its flavors. One of the soapboxes upon which I frequently climb in my weedic rants is the one from which I extol the virtues of Latakia as a wondrous smoke in its own right. The one counterintuitive truth about fine Cyprian Latweed (and Greg uses tobaccos of only the very finest quality) that is utterly opaque to those who have never smoked it straight is that it is a naturally sweet, smooth, gentle smoke—massive in flavor, yes—but not the strong, harsh, nico-buzz-bringing tobacco so many folks seem to believe it is. It has earned that false reputation for the character it imparts in blends that often contain Orientals—unruly Turkweeds that bring the strong, butt-kicking elements often misattributed to the Latakia. In truth, such strong blends usually would be gentler and naturally sweeter with less Turkish and more Latakia.

I told you all that so I can tell you this: One of the most captivating aspects of Nocturne is the degree to which it provides a platform on which its Latweed component can shine as the truly beneficent weedage it really is. I cannot imagine how anyone who claims to be a genuine Latakiaholic would not be utterly smitten by Nocturne.

Now, that is not to say that Latweed dominates the blend to the detriment of the other tobaccos. I can taste the tangy-sweet fruit and caramel of light and medium Virginias. Indeed, if I choose to focus on those flavors, I can explore them with great interest as they weave in and out of the palette of flavors in the smoke. And there is the unmistakable presence of Turkweed, delightfully present in just enough measure to spice the smoke with an intriguing dose of Oriental mystique without running the Orient Express all over your tongue. It's a trait I happily find in only the very finest examples of Balkan-style blends artfully crafted by truly inspired blendmeistering. But don't be misled; if my mention of "Balkan-style" causes you to put Nocturne in a Balkan box and so stereotype it with other blends of similar description, you will do it and yourself a disservice. Nocturne is so much more than a typical Balkan.

And now we come to what is perhaps the most wondrous part of the Nocturnal experience—the aspect that is at once both familiar and elusive—the Perique. Of all the weedmeisters who use Perique, Greg is probably the standout example of an artisan who understands the less-is-more concept. (Knee-jerk Periqueophobes, slanderers of subtlety, and vilifiers of complexity may now tune out, as it is their wont to do.) I can't promise that Nocturne will deliver enough Perique to satisfy the most craven Periqueaholics, but for those who love that princely spiceweed more for its virtues as a complexifier than a bludgeon, you will marvel at its role in Nocturne. It is the unifying magical element—the creamy component that, for all Nocturne's intensity of flavor, gives it a mouth feel that I can only describe as silky-smooth. Sure...there is no shortage of Perique blends that impart such smoothness at the top of the bowl, yet morph into a raging goulash of sensory overload as you burn your way down past mid-bowl; but Nocturne retains it finesse throughout the burn, from rim to heel, without sacrificing a scintilla of potency.

Have I written enough about this masterpiece? Not by a long shot. After two bowls, I have only begun to scratch the surface. I've written some notes about the trees; I haven't even started to explore the forest—that stand-back-and-grok-the-big-picture perspective you get when you take your focus off the details and just let the smoking experience happen, with the unconscious focus of a smoker who feels no need to analyze or comprehend the mysteries of such a massively complex blend, and is instead content to peacefully contemplate whatever idyllic repose it engenders. Nocturne satisfies both aspects of the piper's passion. Pick one, or both, and revel in its virtues.

Now I'll tell you what I don't like about it: I can't load my cellar with it right now. Ah, well...something to look forward to, then. There is no doubt—Nocturne will be a mainstay in my stable of favorite weedage extraordinaire.

Vito :joker:
 

Midnight Blues

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Very nice review Vito. Seems you've covered all the finer points and did what a fine reviewer does, leave the reader wanting a bowl right now. First it was Maltese Falcon and now "Nocturne". 2008 holds much promise....Thanks Greg...
 

Carlos

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Vito":e2gc2aj9 said:
I'll tell you what I like about this blend. First, its flavors. One of the soapboxes upon which I frequently climb in my weedic rants is the one from which I extol the virtues of Latakia as a wondrous smoke in its own right. The one counterintuitive truth about fine Cyprian Latweed (and Greg uses tobaccos of only the very finest quality) that is utterly opaque to those who have never smoked it straight is that it is a naturally sweet, smooth, gentle smoke—massive in flavor, yes—but not the strong, harsh, nico-buzz-bringing tobacco so many folks seem to believe it is. It has earned that false reputation for the character it imparts in blends that often contain Orientals—unruly Turkweeds that bring the strong, butt-kicking elements often misattributed to the Latakia. In truth, such strong blends usually would be gentler and naturally sweeter with less Turkish and more Latakia.
Aha! Proof of what I have suspected for so long and why I can never understand some reviews of heavy Latweed that do not jive with my tastebuds. Latakia is mild. Adding more does not kick it up a notch. No, "BAM!" :D
 

pipetongue1

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Yo Don Vito! I guess you liked it? 'Craven Periqueaolics", be dammed! Ken :lol: :roll:
Pacem en Vito! :santa: :rendeer:
 

jhuggett

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Hell, even with my Latakia "allergy" I wanted a bowl after that review. :shock:
 

Vito

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pipetongue1":a57alzp5 said:
Yo Don Vito! I guess you liked it?
Yoda Ken:

What tipped you off? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Carlos":a57alzp5 said:
...Aha! Proof of what I have suspected for so long and why I can never understand some reviews of heavy Latweed that do not jive with my tastebuds. Latakia is mild. Adding more does not kick it up a notch. No, "BAM!" :D
Carlos:

Well, it depends. Latakia is like any other tobacco in that it's not all created equal. You'll notice that I specified "fine" Latakia in my review, and of course I define "fine" Latweed as that which creates the effect I described. Nevertheless, to the extent that I've studied a cross-section of Latweeds—different vintages from different suppliers—I have yet to find one that is a butt-kicker. They are variations on a theme, but none of the ones I've smoked are anywhere near as potent as any number of Orientals, Virginias, or Burleys I've smoked—especially when it comes to the way they treat my tongue and palate.

Latakia is an intensely flavorful tobacco; there's no question about that. But I'm differentiating here between intensity of flavor on the one hand and "strength" on the other, wherein a "strong" tobacco has primarily a high nicotine content, and secondarily an aggressively corrosive effect on one's mouth tissues...well, on my mouth tissues, at least. YMMV.

I dunno...there really isn't any mystery—or at least there doesn't have to be. It has always seemed to me that the best way to get a handle on tobaccos is to just smoke 'em—I mean the individual tobaccos used in the blends. I've haven't smoked every tobacco in the world straight, but I aim to—not on a regular basis, but just to see what they're all about. I guess everyone doesn't have the same level of curiosity, but to me it seems an eminently reasonable thing to do when I'm interested in something as much as I am in pipes and weed. :mrgreen:

Midnight Blues":a57alzp5 said:
Very nice review Vito. Seems you've covered all the finer points and did what a fine reviewer does, leave the reader wanting a bowl right now. First it was Maltese Falcon and now "Nocturne". 2008 holds much promise....Thanks Greg...
MB:

Yeah...I'm really excited about the Falcon. I think that's prolly going to be my weed of choice for the New Year's Day Synchro-Smoke. And don't forget Maduro Cut Cake, which is also on the horizon. YOW! :mrgreen:

jhuggett":a57alzp5 said:
Hell, even with my Latakia "allergy" I wanted a bowl after that review. :shock:
Jason:

Jeez, for me a Latweed allergy would BE hell. You need to getcha some decent Latweed and discover your inner Latophile. :twisted:

Vito :joker:
 

thomas james

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Hee Hee Hee!

The postman delivered a small package to our doorstep.............Big stories always start this way.

In it was a humorous Christmas card with a very nice handwritten note.

Also, three samples.

Maduro Cut Cake; my second sample of this most awesome blend.

A sample of a "secret" chili spice, called "Gregs Secret Chili Spice." Very clever, Dark Lord.

A sample of "something" that DID have a name on it. I am not going to disclose the "name." BUT,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,BUT,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"it", the tobacco, fits Vito's eloquent, concise,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, well eloquent, description exactly. This is only based on it's "name", which is most revealing. I have not yet smoked it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,BUT,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,BUT,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well, "it's" name tells all.

Vito, you nailed it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,you knew, didn't you? Nah! You're just good.

Pease is tempting us, AGAIN! No! It's flat out TEASING! Very WICKED; as there are two new blends that have already received much acclaim by those who have sampled them,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Maltese Falcon and Maduro Cut Cake; NEITHER has been released yet. Why do I say "teasing" and "wicked?" Because, being a marketing guru, Dark Lord will "time" the introduction of each. They will not all three come out at the same time. Very sinister, DL. YOU COULD CALL THEM: A DARK LORD TRILOGY!

What next? Will they name a valley in Marin County after you?

tj
 

howellhandmade

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You know, Jason, I'm with you on the Latakia. The blend does sound great. I went through a period of trying very hard to like Latakia, since it seemed that all the "serious" pipe smokers took it very seriously, but I've tried it plenty now and I just don't. I guess the taste isn't terrible, but it's not what I want from a pipe, and I don't like the smell, especially in the room the next day. It makes my mouth feel dry and rough. When everyone raves about a blend with Latakia, it reminds me of being a kid and trying to like onions. I could stand them cooked, but my parents both loved the crunchiest, rawest, eye-wateringest onions they could get, and they were always trying to sneak them into stuff. I'd say "I want to eat this, but I don't like the onions." They'd first say there weren't any, then that they were cut up really small, just there for the taste. Sigh. I used to dream that I was eating a big, juicy hamburger with a big slab of raw onion on it and loving it. I'd wake up with a sense of relief and optimism, certain that the dream was going to be real, that my next bite of onion was going to be as good as it was in the dream.

Sigh.
 

jhuggett

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Thanks Jack, I always feel like such a wuss not liking it. Your onion comparison is spot on.
 

thomas james

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Maestro Vito,

How did you come up with the name "Nocturne?.

Chopins Nocturnes?

At times, gracefully melodic,

At times, unabashedly bold,

CLOSE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,OR, could there be FOUR new tobaccos?

Would HE do that?

Could HE?

Pease Valley,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,many ways in,,,,,,,,,,,,,,no way out.

You're right! Sorcery!

tj
 
A

Anonymous

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Jason and Jack, there are plenty of us who cannot tolerate burley or perique. Such is life.
 

thomas james

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I could resist no longer.

Had to have a bowl.

Tin aroma is awsesome. Sweet, deep, smokey, musty and lusty(?). Very very inviting (ahhhhhhhh,,,,,,,,,,,,yeah,,,,,,,,,,,,lusty)

Have only just begun this bowl, so can not really describe it in detail. BUT; first light immediately gives an insence like taste and aroma, naturally perfumic (?); but only for moments, then up jumps the lat. Full bodied and everything that it was meant to be. Then,,,,,,,,,,,,,,then,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,a sweet toasty baseline thing comes up,,,,,,,,,,va's ? This was all apparent with the first charring light. It is going to be sublte, complex and bold. Lots going on here. Chopinistic.

:[insert Vito's stuff here]:

tj
 

Carlos

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thomas james":e4gwvtcf said:
A sample of a "secret" chili spice, called "Gregs Secret Chili Spice." Very clever, Dark Lord.

Is that a Virginia? An English? Some sort of Mexican?
 

Vito

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Jason and Jack:

Please accept my unreserved apology for any implication that you brethren (or any others) are least bit wimpoidal for the fact that you do not have a taste for Latakia. Perhaps I need to pay better heed to my own observation that in matters of taste, there are no absolutes. That certainly applies to the more obvious qualitative effects like whether or not you like the way something tastes or smells, as well as the factors mostly outside your control like nicotine tolerance. And although my review might have sounded like I don't know it, I actually do realize that one's personal chemistry has a great deal to do with whether or not any given tobacco does the Belt Sander Boogie on your mouth.

Jack's onion story is something to which I can relate in my own experience with many kinds of things I was "supposed to" like throughout my like. Who sez? In fact, I still wrestle with my own nico-wimpial demons with tobaccos like GLP Cumberland and Dunhill Durbar. Wonderful tobaccos, but I have to approach them with great respect or they set me down on all fours, crawling to worship at the porcelain altar in the Temple of the White Goddess. Ditto for ropeweed, whose rich flavor and seductive smoothness have lured me down Green Gills Road just often enough to have finally taught me the lesson: Use small-bowled pipes, and watch for the early warning signs of nico-buzz.

So, for the record, I do know where you're coming from on the Latweed thang—I mean, in principle. No wimpage implied. If it's not the kind of pipe smoking experience you're looking for, that's fair enough. Besides, it leaves more for me. :twisted: :mrgreen:

Vito :joker:
 

Vito

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thomas james":ozp781i4 said:
...How did you come up with the name "Nocturne?...
Teej:

noc·turne - [nok-turn] –noun Music.
1. a piece appropriate to the night or evening.
2. an instrumental composition of a dreamy or pensive character.


It fits, no? You know my musical proclivities. It was inevitable that I would think of such a harmonious composition as this blend in musical terms. Smoking it engenders sensations that share qualities similar to those I experience when listening to meditative music.

The weed is the very soul of contemplation. I would smoke Nocturne after a splendid feast (like after Christmas dinner :mrgreen: ), or lounging in the evening on the back patio while gazing outward (not merely "up") at the plane of the ecliptic, a breeze blowing off the hills, and contemplating things worth contemplating.

I've smoked a lot of tobaccos looking for this one. Greg has some that come close (one that comes real close), but for a young tobacco (and it doesn't get much younger than the alpha or beta version that this stuff is), Nocturne has a depth, charm, and coherence that belies its age. I stock other Peaseweeds in my cellar; this one I will hoard. Something transcendent has happened in the genesis of this flakeweed. It hits The Zone—that magical region wherein one finds only those things one most wants to find in the smoking experience. I have no doubt that we all have our own idiosyncratic versions of The Zone, so that no one tobacco can possibly engender that blissful state for all persons.

In fact, it's likely that no one tobacco will always be a key to The Zone even for the same person. Our tastes change. But for this time in VitoSpace, Nocturne is the hit, the bomb, the feline's nocturnal sleepwear. What's more, I think it's a phenomenon that will resonate with all those who already have experienced approximate weedular nirvana with any of Greg's earlier Latweed offerings.

Vito :joker:
 

howellhandmade

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Vito":m2p15mdk said:
Jason and Jack:

Please accept my unreserved apology for any implication that you brethren (or any others) are least bit wimpoidal for the fact that you do not have a taste for Latakia. Perhaps I need to pay better heed to my own observation that in matters of taste, there are no absolutes. SNIP
Vito :joker:
No apology needed. I don't find that Latakia adds any particular nicotine strength to a tobacco, and I certainly didn't read any gender challenge into the review, I'm jealous of the pleasure you and others derive from Latakia blends. My own favorites are the more concentrated VAs and Burleys. Dark Birdseye, Heinrichs Dark Strong, Solani Silver Flake, various Semois, stuff like that. It's a long shot, but possibly someone is jealous of my enjoyment of them. It is always interesting to be reminded of the fundamental impossibility of a true shared sensory experience. And thanks for another reminder, I have a few tins of Cumberland from when it was first released.

Jack
 

Midnight Blues

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thomas james":phvyojai said:
Hee Hee Hee!

The postman delivered a small package to our doorstep.............Big stories always start this way.tj
Tj. Where do you sign up to receive these fine "samples"? IF you let me in the club I promise not to tell....
 

alfredo_buscatti

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I bought a tin of Penzance a week ago and have only smoked a bowl. That bowl was just ok. There's nothing wrong about lat, but my palate (thanks Vito) isn't hooked by it the way that it is by virginias or burleys.

I do however like blends where lat is a minor component. In this type of blend I find it a taste note that adds complexity.

If all I had to smoke were lat blends I might grow fond of them. . .might.

I tried.
 

Justpipes

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alfredo_buscatti":apae3mlq said:
There's nothing wrong about lat, but my palate (thanks Vito) isn't hooked by it the way that it is by virginias or burleys.

I do however like blends where lat is a minor component. In this type of blend I find it a taste note that adds complexity.
I agree with you whole heartedly Mike. I went through a period when the more the Latakia the more the merrier. I grew tired of it and then I discovered C&D Yaller Dawg, that had just enough Syrian leaf to make it interesting but the VA's were dominant. Unfortunately because of the Syrian shortage Mr. Tarler discontinued Yaller Dawg. As unfortunate as it was it turned out to be a blessing in disguise and so began my journey into the joys of Burley. In particular the cheap so called "drug store blends that I have grown very fond of.

I must say that after our conversation concerning the Solani Burley blend I am going to have to purchase a tin of it.

Mark
 
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