First Impressions

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by PUCHAILAW, Oct 17, 2010.

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  1. PUCHAILAW

    PUCHAILAW Member

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    Hi Gentlemen

    In my post introducing myself I mentioned that I smoked a pipe briefly about 10 years ago and gave it up after about a month … Was offered a good cigar by a customer and have been smoking them ever since. Finally got turned off to them for many reasons and wanted to give pipe smoking another try.

    I exchanged a few emails with Russ Ouellette from Pipes and Cigars and he was nice enough to suggest a few blends for my first pipe smoking experience:

    H&H Anniversary Kake
    H&H Classic Burley Kake
    H&H Ambassador’s Blend

    I also purchased on my own
    H&H Eggnog (was intrigued with the name)
    H&H Daybreak (forgot why I picked this)

    First Impressions:

    At the risk of being ineloquent all I can say is HOLY ****, why did it take me 58 years to discover (rediscover) pipe smoking !!! … This stuff is really good. This pipe smoking thing might really take off – haha

    My experience smoking a pipe is vast – goes back now for 5 whole days. To say that I am going to “review” the tobacco listed above would be a misuse of the word. I don’t have enough knowledge to put together a review. All I can do is give you some impressions of what a complete novice thinks about his first few smokes. Please do not expect terms like “hint of chocolate” dollop of vanilla or a tad of cinnamon. My palate ain’t even close to that developed. Expect terms like “good” “really good” and “not so good”. I think the senior guys on the forum might enjoy the thoughts of a complete rookie, and I hope to get some feedback from you guys telling me if I’m even in the ball park with my comments.

    OK – general comment: all of the tobacco (except one) was way better than my cigar experience over the years. Not to diss my former cigar brothers but I found that for me to really enjoy a cigar I needed to spend $5 or $6 per stick… If you’re willing to spend between $100-150 for a box of cigars you can certainly get some good smokes. My problem was that I refused to spend that much money. It wasn’t a matter of being able to afford it or not, I just was not willing to spend that much on something as silly as cigars. I was comfortable in the $2-3 range and for that money it was hard to find a good stick that wasn’t harsh and stunk up about 5 square blocks – For that and other reasons, I decided to give pipe smoking another go ….

    I did all of my smoking in my home office over about 4 days. One of the first really positive things I noticed was when I got up to make my favorite drink (rum and Coke Zero) and returned to my office there was the most pleasant smell as I entered the room. It smelled like perfume compared to the acrid smell I was used to from my stogies ….

    OK – I would like to tell you specifically what I thought of each blend. Please don’t take anything I say seriously, because I really don’t know what I’m talking about, but I do know what I like and not like …..

    ANNIVERSARY KAKE
    All I can say is wow !!! I opened the bag and the smell was just awesome. If this is what pipe smoking is about, I’m convinced. People started looking at me funny because I went around for a few hours smelling my fingers because they had the lingering odor of the tobacco (only kidding – but my fingers did smell real good, haha). Like I said above, my palate is not mature enough to tell you what I am experiencing except to say that this is really good stuff. Has a wonderful “taste”, no bite, a great aroma, very smooth. I am sure that in my search for other tobacco’s I will find some other blends as good or better but if I was told this would be the only tobacco I could smoke for the rest of my pipe smoking days I would be quite happy. A really good first indoctrination to the wonders of pipe smoking ….

    CLASSIC BURLEY KAKE
    wow again – you open the plastic bag and you’re hit with this great aroma – nice sweet smell, but not overpowering – kind of like “adult candy”. Not sure if I should smoke it or eat it – This is really great stuff. If I was on a desert island and had Anniversary Kake and this one I would be a happy guy – (well maybe I would be a little bit happier if there were a few Thai girls floating around on the island – but that’s a conversation for another forum – lol) .. For me, the taste in the pipe was different than I expected when I smelled it in the bag. The lit taste was not as sweet – but that’s a good thing. As a novice I can only say that Burley Kake had a fine smooth tobacco taste with just a hint of sweetness. Maybe I was also picking up a little chocolate??? … It had this great medium strength tobacco taste which is what I was searching for in my cigar years but rarely found. There was no bite – just smooth, yummy taste. (Not very macho to use a word like “yummy”, so let me say this instead – this is one damn fine smoke) – another winner, and once again I am kicking myself for spending all those years just tolerating my cigars ….

    AMBASSADORS BLEND
    Well it seems the party is over – this tobacco stopped me in my tracks, and not in a good way. No easy way to say this – I just didn’t like it. I found it harsher than the other two blends I already commented on, but more importantly there is a distinct flavor coming through that I really can’t deal with. There is no way I can tell you what I taste but it is very distinctive in this blend and not something my inexperienced palate can deal with. My apologies to all those out there that love this blend – I am sure it’s a fine tobacco, but not just for me …. I have 8 ounces of the stuff and would be more than willing to trade with someone or just give it to someone that will give it a good home. It’s a shame to waste it, and I just don’t appreciate it so I won’t be smoking it any longer – happy to give it away guys – just ask …


    EGGNOG
    Guys – a lot of serious thought and contemplation went into this purchase. OK, you got me – I just thought the name was really cute. This was a really good smoke. I didn’t taste anything that reminded me of eggnog, but what I did taste was just really good. I wish I could be more eloquent or more specific – but this a fine blend. Flavorful, great aroma, very smooth with no bite at all. Something that would take many pounds of smoking before you got tired of it. It is a solid third place behind Anniversary and Burley Kake – in my opinion, that’s pretty good company. This was one of my longest smokes with very few relights (not sure if that’s a function of the blend or my technique is just getting better.) This may not be anyone’s “must have tobaccos” but if you tried it you would definitely not be disappointed – actually I think quite pleased. Another winner.


    DAYBREAK
    This one had a nice aroma, but not as strong as the others – just a mild sweet smell. I noticed it was also a little drier to the touch than the others. I took the name literally and smoked a few bowls starting at 8AM Sunday morning which is as close as I get to daybreak these days. I found this to be a good smoke, but certainly not a “wow smoke”. It was very mild (which I guess is what you want at “daybreak”), pleasant but for me not too much flavor. Nothing wrong with it, just found it a little boring. With all the hundreds (thousands?) of blends out there waiting for me to try, I will certainly smoke the rest of my 4 ounces but probably won’t be in a hurry to run out and re-order. For me, it was a solid OK, but nothing great.

    There you have it guys – sorry for the length of this post but I was having fun putting it together over the course of the last few days. Please give me some feedback and also maybe some suggestions based on what I said I liked and didn’t like – Really interested in what you have to say. Please go easy on me – I’ve only been in the hobby less than a week.
    Mitch (aka puchailaw)
     


  2. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    You're off to a great start Mitch! Thanks for sharing!!

    Based on this writeup for Ambassador's Blend, http://tobaccoreviews.com/blend_detail.cfm?ALPHA=A&TID=3873 I think it would be something I would really like :bing: I promise I will give it a good home!


    But perhaps you might wait a couple of weeks and try it again... that's often the way it is with latakia blends, you have to let it grow on you. Good luck!
     
  3. user0003

    user0003 Well-Known Member

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    Noob tip #1

    Keep all the weed you buy and come back to it later, You will likely find that like it after all.

    Good read too, thank you, Sir.
     
  4. PUCHAILAW

    PUCHAILAW Member

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    Dondi

    I have read so many of your posts and although you are not aware of it, you have contributed tremendously to my pipe knowledge - I would be happy to send the tobacco your way -

    For some reason the system is not allowing me to send you an email - maybe I don't have enough posts yet - my email address is puchailaw@gmail.com - Send me your address and I will be most happy to send the blend to you -

    Quick 2 questions -
    what is it that I am tasting and not liking ??? I will be in Thailand for 5 weeks starting Nov 1st.

    Would it be better to mail it from the States or from there to your location in the PI? .... once again, thanks for all your contributions to this forum - Mitch
     
  5. user0003

    user0003 Well-Known Member

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    Latakia (La Ta key ah)

    It's an acquired taste, one day you'll find yourself craving it, trust me.
     
  6. Snake

    Snake permanent ankle biter

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    Mitch,

    Welcome to the brotherhood! Liked reading your
    post and how a newer aficionado describes blends.
    Keep at it, and it will only get better!

    dp
     
  7. akohtz

    akohtz Member

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    That's the exact same thing the guys at the shop said to me when they helped me pick my first two blends. I fully intend to try it in the future, but I followed their recommendation of holding off on it for now.

    They also suggested that when I do try it I should pick up 2 ounces and a corn cob pipe to smoke it in. That way if I don't like it or I'm not ready for it, I wouldn't be out much with the experiment.

    - Andrew
     
  8. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    P-law, if you wish to send it off, that is your choice but I'm here to tell you that I HATED latakia's........all types, all blends containing, even the smell turned me away and made me want to run away.

    Several years later after my first encounter with a lat-blend, I find myself searching out toby that does have latakias in it and loving it! Tastes change. Yours will too. If you do send it off, hold onto about 1/2 oz for later tasting.........never know, you may end up getting more. Come back to it when you feel the urge and smoke her slow. I tend to prefer Syrian lats but Cyprian lats are ok too. Do what you wish, it's yours afterall.

    btw, Dondi has a wealth of info and is an incredibly stand-up member on PSF, his info has helped me too.

    btw#2, Anni kake, and Burley kake are awesome toby. So is Rolando's Own, love the stuff!

    :velho:
    Ed Puff!
    cogito ergo puff
     
  9. chambers11283

    chambers11283 Member

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    That was a great post fun to read, and dont listen to the others run as fast as you can for the evil latakia lol. Im just kidding you may enjoy it, i just despise it but everyone has different tastes. But keep up the good posting i like to read on others great experiences with the pipes!!!
     
  10. Whalehead King

    Whalehead King Active Member

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    This is the sign of a good tobacconist. The recommended a good inexpensive pipe for experimenting and they recommended a small purchase. You tell some shop staff you're a cob smoker and they won't give you the time of day. A real pipe smoker knows that a cob is an essential tool in the kit and he or she doesn't try to sell to much of something you may not enjoy. A real tobacconist wants a satisfied, repeat customer and will tailor the advice to the client's needs and expectations after consultation.

    Keep going back. Trust their judgment because they are not just trying to unload inventory and get you out of the store for the next mark. A good tobacconist is like a good bartender. You need to trust both. If you can't trust either, civilization falls apart.

    Best wishes,
    WK
     
  11. smoore

    smoore Member

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    Great post, I enjoyed it very much.
    Latakia is the tobacco that helped me transition from cigars but I can't stand it anymore. To me it just dominates every blend it is in unless it is in very very small amounts, like Bob's Chocolate Flake.
     
  12. akohtz

    akohtz Member

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    So far I've trusted them and apparently so far they haven't steered me wrong. I plan to return many times.

    - Andrew
     
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