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Sail Natural (Ivory) - A Review

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Vito

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I just had to get a pouch of Sail Natural, if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity as to whether it had changed over the years. I first smoked the Sail tobaccos in 1966. I thought they were remarkably tasty, exceptionally smooth blends then—to my taste, even better than the old, reliable (and now extinct) Amphora cavendish classics by Douwe-Egberts.

Sail Natural is a fine-cut tobacco—somewhat more finely cut than a ribbon, but not as fine as a shag, but with less regularity than either. The occasional appearance of little glumps of ribbon suggest that the tobacco was pressed during processing, and before cutting. Moisture content is a touch more than I'd like, but not excessive, and the weed ignites easily and burns evenly.

The pipe of choice for this nostalgic adventure is a Savinelli Pisa churchwarden with remarkably even flame grain. It had mostly smoked GawHogg Brown Flake—a stouter but tastewise similar blend—before I converted it to a Sail smoker. Any ghosting from the Brown Flake was minimal, and quickly departed after a few bowls.

Sail Natural's description claims it consists of Burley and Virginia—no doubt about that—augmented by "smooth tobaccos from Latakia, India, and Indonesia". I'm scratching my head on the Latweed part; any Latakia in the blend is present in such limited quantity as to be virtually undetectable, both in the pouch aroma and in the bowl. I simply can't find it, except by an exercise of imagination that—if it senses Latakia at all—does so more by power of suggestion than by actual taste.

As to the Indian and Indonesian components, they are unrecognizable as anything other than a subtle fragrance and aroma that compares to very few other blends. The closest I can come by comparison is a flavor that I find in Peterson's Sherlock Holmes, which does contain Indian leaf from Mysore—a fragrant, spicy, delicate flavor and aroma that is almost fruity.

One light is enough to get a nice even burn, but I do a charring light anyway because the tobacco does expand on ignition. A light tamp and the lightest touch of a second flame, and the bowl jumps to life and immediately starts singing. Dang! This is a nice smoke. It always has been. It's not particularly complex, intense, or strong, but definitely interesting. It's a relatively mild tobacco, so those who prefer full-flavored smokes might find themselves overpuffing, in which case Sail Natural can burn hot and put the ZING on your tongue. But if you take your time with it, you'll be rewarded with a smooth and flavorful smoke.

There's no flowery prose to write here—no waxing mystical about magical properties....just good, solid reliable tobacco flavor that burns cool and sweet in your pipe, top to bottom, bowl after bowl, day after day. It's a gloriously smooth and tasty smoke—one that never builds expectations it can't fulfill, and so it never disappoints.

There isn't much else to say...well, except that perhaps the most amazing thing about Sail Natural is that it's exactly the same as it was back in the day, 42 years ago. That in itself is extraordinary, given the nearly universal tendency of most blends to change over the years. I don't how they've managed it, but the makers of Sail Natural have kept the faith and stayed the course on this old-time classic.

:joker:
 

GarWood

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Is this a generally availble tobacco? I've looked a couple places and haven't seen it yet...
 

Vito

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You can find it at marscigars.com...and probably other places. Alas, the tins are no longer available...pouches only.

:joker:
 
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