CAO Moontrance

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Whalehead King

Active Member
I think of myself as an aromatic smoker but really the only aromatics I've smoked are bulk blends and most of them were LJ Piretti's house blends, in-shop, handcrafted stuff. Since moving to New Orleans, I've been buying bulk aromatic as well as flakes. I admit, I am becoming a flake fan but that's another story.

I went to the tobacconist today intending to buy an ounce of bulk aro and an ounce of Navy flake. While the girl was weighing the flake, I eyed a tin of CAO Moontrance. I used to smoke the cigars by the same name so I was tempted by the tin though it cost $10.95 for 50g compared to the $3.00 an ounce I was planning to spend. I bought it.

When I got the tin home, I opened it. It smelled like X-mas pudding. The lady of the house said, "Mmmm. That smells like rum cake. Is there rum in there?" The label says: exotic spices + bourbon vanilla. The lady of the house again: "Bourbon and vanilla! It must taste as good as it smells."

As I write this, I'm smoking the first bowl in a cob in the dark with a ambient temperature of about 68 degrees F. When I opened the tin, I was surprised how densely packed it was. The tobacco was packed like a moist cake and I had to dig out a pinch, like prying a raisin out of a muffin. I don't buy many tins. Three years ago I started with two tins of Rob't McConnell and I don't remember them being like this. The only other tin I've purchased was a beat up and rusted box of Squadron Leader which, while moist, had a wax paper wrapper as oily as a a napkin that's held potato chips overnight. That tin gave me many a nice smoke and the ribbons fell like confetti as soon as I put my fingers in for a sample.

Is aromatic tinned tobacco always so fruity and dense in it's vacuum pack? As for how I'm enjoying the Moontrance, I think this is better as a cigar. I've seen it in tins before and I stayed away because I don't understand how you can pack a pipe with cigar tobacco. I know it can be done and I've experienced how it can be done well; I just don't trust a cigar roller to do it. CAO is making an honest attempt with some favorable results, but not enough to convince me it should be done. Whenever I catch a whiff from the air, it's a delight. This is a room note performer. Direct from the bowl through the stem, I don't taste too much. The flavor is designed to be carried by the breeze. This is definitely public smoking tobacco. For a meditative, enjoyable, nuanced, solitary smoke on my porch, there are better tobaccos without the razzmatazz or packaging.

It might grow on me but I doubt I'll buy it again unless I'm going to a party and want something to stimulate conversation. I'm sure chicks will dig it. That may be all some pipe tobaccos need to justify their existence. I've got nothing against that and it could become another weapon in my arsenal in that arena. Hanging out with men at the Elks' Lodge though, I'll stick to Carter Hall. Most of the time at home too.

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