I just re-tried Carter Hall

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Kyle Weiss

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You read that right: "re-tried," and "Carter Hall." This is a little long, but when you read it, you'll understand.

A little back history. Lloyd, the old guy who got me smoking pipes at the tender age of 16, was a resident at the old folks' home I worked as a prep cook and dishwasher. He gave me a tiny "Lark" model Dr. Grabow (now in the esteemed possession of Zach, aka GMF) and I had two choices: Prince Albert or Carter Hall. He much preferred Prince Albert, and Carter Hall was his "special stuff" (not sure why that was, he was old and somewhat nuts). Prince Albert was okay, but it often bit the hell out of my tongue and would get sopping wet. Carter Hall, on the other hand, was much gentler, really packed a nicotine punch, and always seemed just-right. I would sometimes roll it up into RYO cigarettes when my pipe got lost among moves, homelessness, misplacing...it took me a 18 or so years to get back into a pipe again...

...today it's windy, snowy and rainy, and for some reason this time of year always makes me think of Lloyd. He got really sick this time of year just before he passed on, and one of the last times I played hookey taking food up to his room when he wasn't feeling well enough to go to the dining hall, I smoked some Carter Hall with him as he told me wild stories about World War II (sometimes he was a four-star general, other times he was just a staff Sargent). He put a cheap fedora on my head and said, "That looks great on you, sport, keep it." It was the last time I saw him. How I wish I still had that hat.

Since the pipe didn't smoke for me today like it did then, it just sat there. Pipes are meant to be smoked. Zach's tales of his grandfather and general outlook in life is much better than my family life and past, and I wanted someone who loved Grabows to appreciate it.

DrumsAndBeer sent me some Carter Hall along with some Patton Oriental Dusk...I had forgotten to take it with me the last few times, and decided to pick some up at the smoke shop (not Tinder Box, they don't carry it) running my better half to physical therapy...so, D&B, I'll get to your batch, but thank you for inspiring me to return to my roots. :lol:

In the tiny 2oz bag (that comes in a box now, it seems), it's surprising what a great cut it is, regular ribbon, and smells exactly as I remembered it. Fig-like, somewhat sweet and has that almost artificial moistness to it. Lloyd's 16oz cans he used to get were identical.

I wondered immediately if this stuff would be too sweet. I hesitated putting it in Dinky, my Pete 80S from a BoB friend who has been particularly instrumental in my newer stint in pipe smoking, but it was the right choice, kind of melding the old, interesting past with the folks therein along side the new friends and experience of today. Carter Hall took to the flame perfectly, and I was transported back. At sixteen, I didn't mind sweetness so much, and found Carter Hall to be a little "bland" back then, sometimes bitey. Today, it's interesting robust, simple, filled with nicotine (holy crap, this stuff packs a punch) and enjoyed the raisin/fig flavors, the tarragon-like savory background, and that dusty aroma that is almost like how an old book might taste if you could smoke the pages and get that great "old smell." It's particularly pleasant, if not a bit odd. It's the kind of tobacco I wouldn't mind trying to blend a little Latakia or cigar leaf just because.

Extremely satisfying to me, nostalgic, and not a waste for $3.99 by any degree. Mild, very easy-burning, non-biting, dry, but refreshingly not complex and "artisan-esque." It won't be replacing my GLP blends, nor becoming a day-long smoke (not with this kind of kick), but I'm going to have some handy from now on. It's pretty cheap and easy to get, obviously. Todd Harris suggests breaking in a pipe with this stuff, and I see why now.

Lloyd, this one's for you, buddy.

8)
 

idbowman

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Nice story Kyle...I sort of fell into pipe-smoking on my own, and I always wish I had my own "story" to tell like everyone else, even if it is a bittersweet one.

FWIW, I second Todd's suggestion to break a pipe in with CH. It's also great for smoking out old ghosts. For me, it's the best OTC blend out there, and by a good margin.
 

Rob_In_MO

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idbowman":p2yk1gvr said:
FWIW, I second Todd's suggestion to break a pipe in with CH. It's also great for smoking out old ghosts.
It's for these two reasons that I keep Carter Hall on hand. Not one of my regular go-to smokes, but it is a nice change of pace on occasion. It's mainly used for the above-stated reasons though...
 

Kyle Weiss

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The one thing that is different, that I forgot to mention, is it has this odd metallic aftertaste if you don't smoke it clenched and put the pipe down. It kind of reminds me of how Marlboro reds used to taste to me, as a Camel/Lucky Strike smoker back in the day. It isn't bad, just weird. Makes me wonder if they put something funky in it to treat it...I haven't smoked a cheap tobacco of any kind for a long time.

All sorts of memories/tastes/thoughts happening right now. Kind of cool. And very... :drunken: :drunken: :drunken: ...Lady N knows no cold/rain/sleet/snow... :lol:

8)
 

Brewdude

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Tried CH many years ago.

Basic Burley blend. Kind of sweet and nutty that Burely sort of way.

Smoked half the pouch and got bored with it.

Probably should revisit.

.........meh..........

:|



Cheers,

RR
 

DrumsAndBeer

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Awesome. :D

For what it is, I really enjoyed CH. I was expecting so much less considering what I am used to paying for 2 ounces of "packaged" tobacco.

In fact, I think I am going to go smoke some right now. ;)

I like to break-in my pipes with Solani ABF. But I agree, CH could easily fill this role.
 

Kyle Weiss

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Smoking some more after the SF Giants took the championship. Holla! :lol: Not used to the cold fully quite yet, and it has that Burley "N" punch.

Technically it's 1.5 ounces, but meh. For $4 and available all day long, what'ev. I really think I'm going to use this stuff to try some blending, take it with me camping or places when I might worry about better tobacco going too dry or something. I remember this stuff being like the twinkies of the pipe tobacco world, being really easy to keep no matter what environment it is kept...and I was in quite a few, way back when. :lol:

I'm just waxing nostalgic, probably has to do with 50% of my impressions. Big "YMMV" on this one.

8)
 

jj1015

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Thanks for the review -- nicely done!

I'm a huge fan of Carter Hall. It and Old Joe Krantz are my most frequent smokes. I love the flavor, the aroma, and the lack of tongue bite. I also love the nicotine kick, although I personally find it to be far milder than you seem to (Old Joe Krantz is twice as strong, I think, and I consider OJK to have the "perfect" nicotine kick).

I've mixed latakia with Carter Hall and feel the combination makes one of the best "American English" smokes imaginable!
 

Kyle Weiss

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The blending idea came from the fact I'm not going to sully or change anything not intended by the blender. No one is going to bat an eyelash by "ruining Carter Hall." :lol: Latakia seems to be a natural beginning point, too. I happen to have some from McClelland; we'll see. :)

Certain tobaccos enter the bloodstream at varying rates, and at particular volumes. I may not be used to whatever they use, or they put some chemical in it to mainline it through the mucous membranes, or something else. I'm familiar (if not "used to") stronger 'bacca, this one kind of hit me by surprise. Glad I had just eaten a late lunch!

8)
 

Steveaux

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Mix it about 3:1 with Five Brothers .... the Burley Buzz Bomb.

:affraid:
 

Kyle Weiss

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1:1 ratio with more Carter Hall in a larger pipe. Easier to get right, just as much head-spinning fun! :cheers: (With a bowl of Warrior Plug for dessert).

Egad, I'd probably die.

8)
 

Steveaux

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Kyle Weiss":ek42me9c said:
1:1 ratio with more Carter Hall in a larger pipe. Easier to get right, just as much head-spinning fun! :cheers: (With a bowl of Warrior Plug for dessert).

Egad, I'd probably die.

8)
Nah ... you'll pass out before then.

I like CH in big bowls, usually my 320 or Great Dane Egg.
 

Jers

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Great story Kyle - thanks for sharing.

Fraternally

Jers
 

cds43

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That is a great story! Thanks for posting. I smoked CH when I was a little kid from a cob.
I just bought a bag about a month ago. It still taste the same as I remember. Great stuff and smokes like a dream.
 

Kyle Weiss

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JimInks":p7iotlwg said:
Kyle: Can CH get out a Lakeland ghost?
*shrug* I'unno. Maybe. :lol: I usually ask for the help of my friends, all Ten Russians, for that job. :lol:

Speaking of Latakia, I have a 80%/20% of CH and McClelland Blending Latakia resting in a tub for a couple of weeks to see what it's like.

8)
 

Kyle Weiss

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Who am I fooling? I couldn't wait two weeks, one was about enough. :lol:

It worked out to be about 10% - 15% (I don't have a scale, just eye-ballin' the recipe chef's style) McClelland's Latakia to Carter Hall in about a 1oz batch.

One thing is immediately apparent: it's a remarkably different tobacco now. Just a tiny layer of Latakia. It's now clear to me why it's so hard for people to "replicate" tobacco recipes from yesteryear, and why they closely guard their mixture/blend info so carefully. Why they probably get leery when a crop in a certain area isn't doing so well or didn't produce viable product in a given year. It also is evident why we have 1,000,000 different tins to choose from.

I now have a very mild, lightly sweet, lightly smokey English-esque mixture on my hands. It's great, and if it weren't for the nicotine hit, I'd probably have really liked this a year ago when Frog Morton was being stuffed in my pipe at least six days a week.

If I added any more Latakia, there'd be no more Carter Hall left. On the other hand, I managed to find the extreme, toe the line, if you will, before it became uninteresting. I might go to the 8% - 10% amount of Latweed on the next batch. Carter Hall is so "itself" there's not going to be much room to do much else. Burley is a shrinking violet.

8)
 

idbowman

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JimInks":9z1620dv said:
Kyle: Can CH get out a Lakeland ghost?
Yep. Make sure you give it the usual cleaning first, but in my experience about a dozen bowls of CH will scare away whatever stubborn ghost is still hanging around.
 

JimInks

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idbowman":ow5qxf07 said:
JimInks":ow5qxf07 said:
Kyle: Can CH get out a Lakeland ghost?
Yep. Make sure you give it the usual cleaning first, but in my experience about a dozen bowls of CH will scare away whatever stubborn ghost is still hanging around.
Thanks for the info. Guess I'll be trying that soon.
 
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