Before starting, I have to say that I LOVE MacBaren's Navy Flake. It is perfect, slow burning, delicious and wonderful. It is my understanding that this blend is based on that one, plus a bit minus a bit. I have been read that there is latakia in this, I haven't tasted it, but so it goes. This is supposed to have a bit of rum flavor. The MacBaren aromatics are preportedly not the "overpowering and goopy" aromatics that give aromatics such a bad name. This is true. This blend is nice and dry. I would put this in my list of thoroughly mediocre smokes. It is nice and has a great smell all around, it certainly falls in the baby bear category ("just right") in many respects. I enjoy all types of pipe tobacco, and have no prejudice against any one or the other. Even still there the Rum thing never really came off, that is to say, I never really tasted it. That wasn't terribly disappointing, it just left me with a sort of "did I miss it?" type of feeling. One review that I read claimed that the smoke was actually better after the topping sort of "burned off." It is a good smoke and a good tobacco. I think what made me feel somewhat ambivalent about it is that I paid quite a bit for the tin. Call me crazy, when I pay more I expect more. I suppose I would try it again if I weren't in a place where every purchase has to count. There is only so much money I can justify spending on the hobby. ("Sorry kids, no meat this month, it's a MacBeran month!) I would like to reiterate, however, the Navy Flake delivers every single time. So this is by no means a bash on MacBaren, just that this one isn't for me. I'm pretty excited to try the "mixture modern" but all in good time.
And now, given what was written before, something that may stun, amaze and discredit me to my entire readership. I have recently had a reunion that has warmed my heart tremendously. Anyone who has been estranged from a friend for an extended period of time and then sees them on the street may have this sensation. The moment of disbelief. The doubt and wonder, if it could really be them. Then the moment of courage, on the possibility that it was just how the light fell on a perfect stranger, reminding you of the loved one, when you go and tap them on the shoulder...Then the joyous meeting commences. This is the moment I have just had.
Upon moving to a new city I have been able to find a smoke shop, order most of my other premium tobaccos from Cornell and Deihl, and mama brings me up some treasured favorites when she comes up from the home town. Nevertheless, I have not been able to find a single walgreens or supermarket that sells Prince Albert, Carter Hall, or even Half and Half. I have been able to find one that has old packages of Captain Black, which has never been my favorite over the counter blend. And have actually had a pouch of Bjorkum Riff (whiskey) which was...okay. All of this changed when I went to go pick up some milk for my wife after work. Stopping off at a different grocery store I saw it. The beautiful Red and white box, and even the beautiful big circular tin. Delicious, wonderful, Prince Albert. I almost wondered if I had built it up too much.
Surely, this is not a high fallootin' complicated mix of fruits and oriental magic. This is tobacco. This isn't the Mocha-Yemen-Java Dark Roast Bean from the big green monster that comes in individually wrapped packages of snottyness. This is the honest, straightforward red can that says "COFFEE" on it and delivers exactly what it claims. I used to start my day with the floral cup of complex, individually roasted, overpriced bean drink. But I have now come to appreciate "COFFEE". And that is why I love Prince Albert. It is nutty, sweet, not complex, or overpowering. But it is just tobacco. I have been told that it has chemicals in it. Perhaps. I don't really notice it. Besides. I like a little cancer with my cancer. I feel like I met up with an old friend. The one who you don't necessarily have out for a "night on the town", but the one who tells you the truth, doesn't dress things up, and just enjoys your company.
I know you are wondering. And yes, I also have grown to appreciate PBR. Sue me.