Newminster No. 17 - English Luxus

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Dave Dueck, Oct 24, 2012.

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  1. Dave Dueck

    Dave Dueck Member

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    I received a generous free sample of this stuff last time I visited my regular B&M. I've had a few bowls and I consider it something of a quandary for me.

    Pouch note is unmistakably oriental - latakia is most certainly present and accounted for, but it's tempered somewhat by the intriguing presence of black cavendish, mexican burley and african virginias. It's a loose and moderately dry cut.

    Lighting with my sample is easy. I usually do a charring light followed by a true light regardless of whether the tobacco requires it, but with this blend I've usually only bothered with the initial light. Up an running in no time, it burns a bit hot seemingly somewhat ashy (probably a technique issue rather than a blend characteristic) and here's where it gets interesting.

    Taste is full and robust English, with the smoky and earthy Cyprus latakia first and foremost. The blend is labeled as a definite non-aromatic, but curiously the room note is unmistakably sweet with obvious caramel and vanilla layers, bolstered by the smoky campfire of the oriental - it's a rich and extremely pleasant note which I can easily detect myself, and which has received rave comments from non-smokers ("What's that amazing stuff you're smoking??"). It's the first thing I've smoked where the taste and the note have a weird inverse ratio: the taste is definitely English with a very slight sweetness on the back end, while the note is very sweet with a slight earthiness to the back end.

    If you've enjoyed McC's A.M. Pipe or Boswell's Bear Blend, think of the taste of the former with a stronger oriental presence, and the room note of the latter with a fuller caramel presence - or think of Shortcut to Mushrooms on steroids. Very surprising. It's really the best way I can describe it. Definitely seems to fit the bill for those who want a very robust, semi-complex English blend for personal enjoyment, while also pleasing the crowd with a gorgeous scent.

    HOWEVER, there's a kicker, and quite literally - WAY more nicotine than I'm used to. I never smoked cigarettes or cigars, and my decision to start smoking a pipe was more about the aesthetic and relaxing/meditative benefits more than anything, so constantly inhaling the smoke and getting nicotine hits are things I've more or less avoided until now (not necessarily a conscious decision, but it's just how I roll). With English Luxus I've strongly and consistently felt the effects of the nicotine, both as a head buzz and as an upset stomach - and again, I don't inhale (except to enjoy that spectacular note). I do snork, as with any blend I smoke, but that's it. After smoking this blend I always need a big glass of water and short walk to clear my head. Definitely a feeling of the tobacco dropping a bomb on me and leaving me to wander through the aftermath in a daze.

    I'll gladly finish the sample but it remains to be seen if I'll return for more. Maybe it can work as a nice holiday treat once in a while, for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The unique balance of English taste and sweet aromatic note really struck a wonderful chord for me (and those in close proximity), but the nicotine content gives me pause. Have any of you tried this blend, or have any advice for similar blends with less nicotine? Or any thoughts on ways to overcome this "problem" for a nicotine virgin?
     
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  2. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Active Member

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    I very much feel for you on the nic front! I've only ever been a pipe guy (and occasionally a cigar) so I'm also a nic lightweight. The heftiest I've had thus far is Peterson's Irish Flake, and I can maybe smoke a single flake without overdoing it -- barely! I'm not sure how much you're packing -- you may find it worth grabbing a smaller pipe and/or packing a half bowl. It sounds like you love the flavor, so it would be nice to be able to enjoy it more! One can also plan these hefty sorts of blends after a good meal, that can help a lot. You could also try blending it with something lighter that might be a complimentary flavor -- perhaps just a bit more of a regular ol' burley or a cavendish (like Stokkebye Dansk Black or Golden Dansk) may work for you.

    I've definitely been wanting to give this blend a try. I've loved (or at least liked) pretty much all the Newminsters I've tried so far. The Ultimate English was just a bit too English for me to enjoy regularly, and because of that I've hesitated to order the Luxus. I definitely think I should at least try it now!
     
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  3. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    Good review. I've gottta try some.
     
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  4. Dave Dueck

    Dave Dueck Member

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    I think you're right on the money here with these bits of advice, and I really think you ought to try it! :)

    Gave No. 17 Luxus another shot tonight, I'm being somewhat stubborn with this blend and I think it's paying off. ;) Tonight we celebrated my brother-in-law's birthday with quite a feast. After the festivities I ventured out into the 32dF night air and had an underwhelming first bowl of Carter Hall. The smoke itself was very pleasant and not too ashy but the flavor was just too simple and bland for my current tastes. Halfway through the bowl I got a faint hint of fig and pound cake which was nice but overall I enjoyed it less than MCB, at least so far. ANYWAYS afterwards I needed something more exciting so I loaded a moderate wad of Luxus, cannonball/air pocket style, into my elk-head and lit up... and something about this last bowl really convinced me to stick with this blend. Maybe it was the just-freezing humid night air, maybe it was my full stomach, maybe it was the packing method... probably all three. But damn if that wasn't one of my best recent smokes! Oriental/Virginia/Cavendish flavors came through in delicious billows and the luxurious note had me greedily sniffing like Holmes' dog Toby :) Some family members followed me outside and again had only good things to say. I had seemingly zero nic hit this time as well, obviously a huge plus. I'm going to be sad when my sample runs out because I think after tonight's experience I might be willing add it to the rotation, and to use this as both an A.M. Pipe and Shortcut To Mushrooms replacement - stronger and better in both flavor and note and available locally, and it packs/lights/smokes so well!

    The weird thing to me though is that Newminster/Villiger still clearly labels this a non-aromatic, when the flavor and note have an obvious, prominent sweetness (although it's a rich, balanced and very pleasing sweetness, and the flavor is still largely defined by the oriental tobaccos). I'd call it a "crossover" blend myself, but I'm not experienced enough with oriental/Virginia to say for sure. Anyways, I'm glad I kept with it. Well worth the persistence, this has been a rewarding sample!
     
  5. JRobert

    JRobert Hermit Forum Guide

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    Thanks for the review -- I will have to try this one. It's quite inexpensive in bulk, and sounds interesting.
     
  6. Dave Dueck

    Dave Dueck Member

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    What throws me for a loop is the pleasant aroma. I keep thinking I must be "smelling things" but it's a consistent, obvious and very pleasant note when I smoke this. Not typical for a medium English blend, from what I gather. Never expected a lat-heavy blend like this to get such favor from bystanders but there you go.
     
  7. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Active Member

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    Yeah, the Newminster blends are incredibly affordable. It's quite nice. I'm stocking up on their Navy Flake in particular.
     
  8. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Active Member

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    This is a very nice thing to know, too. All the more reason to add it to my next order!
     
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