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Review of Secret Santa's Gifts

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Centurian 803

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After having read a number of reviews here and others on the WWW, I find myself sadly deficient in knowledge, training and taste. Nonetheless as a famous justice once said about pornography, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." I can't glibly describe the various components of the blend and rhapsodise over how one complements another. I can only tell you whether or not I like it. So here goes.

My Secret Santa sent me a sample of his personal blend. He wrote the recipe on the bag but I won't share that with you without his permission. It just wouldn't be right. Besides, my wife threw a cleaning fit in the man cave and tossed the bag so I don't have it anyway. (They'll never find the body!) Secret Santa, if you read this review I'd sure love to have that recipe again.

I smoked this blend in a Bari Mandarin 9234 (made in Denmark) estate. It had been thoroughly cleaned and the bowl was treated with S & A. so there was no lingering taste from whatever had been smoked in it before I acquired it.

At the first match I experienced a sweet taste on the tip of my tongue which I could not identify. I tamped the tobacco and applied the second match. The sweetness was still there but somewhat diminished. From that point to the bottom of the bowl was a taste adventure. The smoke remained cool and smoked dry. At first I thought it was going to be a little thin tasting but after a few minutes it seemed to fill my mouth and was quite satisfying. At various times I tasted a hint of vanilla or chocolate that was so elusive that I wasn't sure if that's what it was or not. The tobacco burned all the way with a fine ash and no dottle at all. I only needed one more match and that was because I had to lay the pipe down and go attend to a problem (I was at work) for about fifteen minutes.

This was a quite satisfying smoke. Rarely have I finished a bowl and immediately wanted to reload and go again but I did with this one. Because it is a mild blend I expect it would be really good for the first pipe of the day and as a dessert pipe after a meal. The nicotine kick was slight and there was a pleasant after taste. As far as I could tell, the room note is quite pleasant and shouldn't draw complaints from anyone. In short, I enjoyed it immensly and would be happy to have more. (I really need that recipe or who I can buy this from.)

The second blend I tried was labeled Bright Burley. I am a huge fan of The Gatlinburlier's Gatlin Burley blend so I was eager to try this and see how it compares. In the bag, this blend doesn't have as strong an aroma as the Gatlin Burley. It has that sort of woodsy smell so characteristic of the burley blends I've tried. I loaded it into a Stanwell Horn and fired up. From the first puff I was sold. This is one fine burley blend. It has a buttery nutty flavor that "twangs my buds" as Briscoll Darling used to say. For some reason, when I smoke a burley it always conjurs memories of long walks in the autumn woods after the leaves have fallen and this was no exception. This blend is appropriately named. It's taste is much brighter than the Gatlin Burley but still full and has a pretty good nicotine kick. As I progressed toward the bottom of the bowl the taste became richer and even more satisfying. The after taste reminded me of a good premium blend coffee - perked not the drip stuff. Really good stuff. I could smoke this every day.

Ok, the Centurian scale of tobacco taste runs as follows:

DTGS - Damn that's good stuff
OKILT - Ok I like that
Hmmmmm - Not too sure. Not bad but not all that great
IDTS - With a nod to Dr Berney I don't think so
SMTAGWL - Scrape my tongue and gargle with listerine

I give both these blends the DTGS and once more thank my Secret Santa.
 

Centurian 803

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While I was off this weekend I got a chance to try the J M Boswell - Premium Burley that was part of my package. I smoked it in a Stanwell horn.
At first light I noticed a distinct sweetness on the tongue that was very pleasant. After tamping and relighting the sweetness disappeared in short order and the nutty buttery burley flavor began to develop and come through. It smoked cool and dry all the way to the bottom with no dottle at all.
I would describe the experience like smoking cream. The flavor was full but not strong. Up until this point Gatlin-Burley has been my favorite but I gotta tell you this stuff is right up there with it. You know how you can love all your kids equally but each for a different reason? That's what this is like.
Gatlin-Burley has a very distinct burley taste with hardly any sweetness. This has a distinct burley taste but more subtle and with just a hint of sweetness all the way through.
It's like the difference between a french kiss (Gatlin-Burley) and a prolonged tender kiss with soft music and a fire in the fireplace (Premium Blend). They both get your motor running. The difference is in how quickly and to what degree.

The Gatlin-Burley is perfect for when I'm doing something, like raking leaves or balancing the checkbook. The Premium Burley is perfect for those relaxing times when I'm reading or just vegging out and watching the world go by.

Definately gonna have to buy more of this when this runs out.

On the Centurian scale of tobacco taste this is a DTGS! :drool:
 

Mikem

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Here is my mini-review of the first blend that I have opened from my Secret Santa in Seattle. It is Seattle Pipe Club's Plumb Pudding. The tin says English/Balkan Pressed Tobacco, rich blend of Latakia, Orientals, Virginia's, Perique and a little something extra. This is a pressed cake that is very good IMHO. The cakes as they were are rectangular in shape about 3/8 by 3/8 by 2 inches long. Dark and oily to the touch with tiny pieces of a golden Virginia running through the cake. Very nice tin aroma that is not overpowering but stout. For some reason when I opened it up the first thought I had was that this needs to be smoked in an Oom Paul type pipe. Not sure why that came to mind (I own a Moretti and a Savinelli) but I'm glad now that I made that decision.

The first bowl I broke up the cake by hand and put the chunks into my Moretti. It was a little difficult to light mainly because I think that I didn't break up the cake enough. I have since started using my small hand held Kitchen Aide food chopper and it has worked great. It also took quite a few re-lights during the first bowl, again because I don't think I broke it up enough. The subsequent bowls stayed lit nicely throughout the smoke. First impression was a little surprising to me as for some reason I was expecting the blend to be one of those in your face type of Balkans that hits you the minute you light up, something that you immediately feel in th back of your throat. This blend starts out very subtly with nice clouds of gray smoke. The smell of the blend while smoking reminds me of something you would expect when walking into an old English Gentleman's club with everyone sitting in the library sipping on their brandy while reading a good book. Kind of reminds you of old leather chairs and a fire place burning in the corner.

The blend starts to build up in intensity as you smoke about a quarter into the bowl and then levels off for the remainder of the bowl. Again it is not overpowering though. You start tasting an ever so slight reminder that there is Perique in the blend. The blend is an even smoke throughout both in strength and burning through the rest of the bowl. It burns down into a nice grayish white ash. This is a very nice Balkan blend that I can see why this is the Seattle Pipe Clubs favorite blend. This stuff is additive. I am on about the sixth bowl of this blend since opening the tin a couple of days ago. I will be going on-line to Pipes and Cigars.com and ordering a lot more of this stuff.
 

jhuggett

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Glad you guys are enjoying your goodies. All I can say about mine is that I'm damn impressed with it and have started thinking about trading a few of my pipes to acquire more Sara Eltang pipes.
 
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