I must admit I have something of a fetish for over the counter blends. I realize the many things that bring them disrespect, (chemicals, cheap tobacco, tongue bite, etc), however there is something good and honest about the over the counter blends that I truly appreciate. I suppose it simply does my heart good in the first place to see pipe tobacco in a supermarket or drug store. It makes me hopeful that more and more may be enjoying our hobby, which has a multitude of great effects. The least of which are the fact that more demand may mean more supply for our town, but more so, it appears to me that the nature of enjoying pipe tobacco is somehow generally edifying and conducive to the growth and amiability of most humans. I must say truthfully that pipe tobacco actually seems to make the world a better place, even if the impact is small.
However, I can't leave my penchant for over the counter pipe tobacco's there, acting as if it were all for "high" and "intellectual" reasons. While most OTC blends are not as complex as the bulks and boutiques that we all spend so much time talking about, they are honest. In my experience they taste and smell much like what they claim to. I adore half and half, carter hall, and prince albert. All of which are regular in my pipe smoking routine (particularly when I have the chance to enjoy a bowl in the morning). Burley is wonderful, and I love the nuttiness of each of the aforementioned blends. Things get a bit "stickier" when we get to the over the counter aromatics, but I still can appreciate an evening with the Captain or Bjorkum Riff without much complaint (if, of course I pack and smoke them correctly).
To close that rant, I have to say that smoking the whiskey tobacco while working out doors (particularly heavy working) most always results in a bit of a bite, and that's no reason to induce criticism on Bjorkum Riff. The whiskey flavor comes through well and the tobacco doesn't seem in any way "goopy" or "nasty." To be quite honest, dollar for dollar this produces a better experience than Plumcake (again, as a personal preference).
However, I have one more note to play for today's entry. Not many nights ago I had the opportunity to sample MacBaren's Vanilla blend. I was a bit apprehensive based on my not altogether impressive experience with Plumcake. However, a friend bought it, so that eased the tension. The presentation was much like Plumcake. Looking at the open tin you can tell with great clarity that you are looking at (and smelling) very high quality tobacco. Most acts like ribbon cut with an occasional flake (kind of like looking for the cashews in a jar of mixed nuts). The vanilla is more clear from the tin aroma (as compared to the lack of rum scent in Plumcake). I am predisposed to enjoy vanilla and chocolate in general as far as aromatics. The tobacco burned well and tasted nice, the slight vanilla topping came through beautifully and it was altogether an enjoyable smoking experience. The scent off of the bowl and second hand was delicious and charming. While I am not planning on running out and buying a tin of this any time soon, it was a pleasant smoke for someone who wants just a touch of vanilla in their otherwise high quality smoke. Delicious.
Now, for the real anticipation. The Pipe Pastor has recommended Black Gold from Hiland Tobacco (http://hilandscigars.com/) and I finally ordered a half pound to get me started. It fascinates me when a person finds that one tobacco that they can commit to forsaking all others. One Youtube presenter is rarely seen without Billy Budd, another continually favors various flake tobaccos. Of course Jeoffrey is very commonly enjoying the ever awesome (and awesomely named) "chocolate manhood" which I am remiss for having never tried. I have a great number of tobaccos I have enjoyed immensely. I would like to do a post on my desert island top five (which very few seem to be willing to commit to declaring) tobaccos, as I am in the mood for different tobaccos at different times, and am usually possessed of such a sunny disposition that I am able to enjoy whatever tobacco I am smoking as if it were the best tobacco on earth (take this into account when you read my reviews). In any event, once I got through my top five there are simply days where I want to try something new. I wonder, will it ever go away? Will Black Gold be the tobacco that makes me never again yearn for another? Tough to say.
I am earnestly and fully committed to my wife, to the point where other women are not even considered romantically or sexually. I my wife so much that I can't imagine life with anyone else, so I don't consider it. I love my job, and were another to open up offering me all of the money I could never hope to spend I wouldn't even consider it because I am right where the Lord wants me, and that's where I want to be. Is it possible that a tobacco exists out there that so characterizes who I am and why I enjoy pipe smoking that I forsake all other tobaccos? This is a matter for serious thought and consideration.