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OMG - Samuel Gawith Sam's Flake is Awesome!

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco Reviews' started by RTOdhner, Dec 26, 2013.

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  1. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    I just finished with my fourth bowl of this sublime pipe weed, and all I can say is "OMG!" This is a monster of a flake blend! Pure tobacco brilliance!!

    When I opened the tin I was greated by some really moist dark brown flakes, and an unusual sweet fragrence. This is indeed a very moist blend, and drying time is in order before you attempt to smoke it. I've progressvely increased my drying time from 15 minutes to about 45 minutes, and it just keeps getting better the longer I let it dry. So, I'm gonna set some out to dry at about 4am, then fire it up at 7am and smoke it on the commute back home from work this morning. The sweet fragrence has got to be the Tonquin Bean. I don't know how to describe this sweet flavor, other than to say that it is sweet. Vanillaish-sorta-but-not-quite-vanillaish is the only thing I can think of. Tonquin Bean is one of those "deadly" Lakeland scents, but it's definitely not "Granny's Arse" and I don't think it will ghost any of the pipes that I smoke it in. As far as strength goes, this is approaching my tolerance level. Good, stout, but not overpowering. In a way, it reminds me of MacB ODF or Pete IF. It's something that I don't think I want to smoke in a large bowl and on an empty stomach.

    The blend itself is comprised of Virginia and Oriental leaf. Flavorwise, I think Dmkerr summed it up best in his review of it over on TR when he likened it to Pease Cairo except that the Perique found in Cairo has been traded-out for the Tonquin. However, it also reminds me of MacB ODF with a bit of Oriental leaf and Tonquin zip to liven it up. No matter what, though, the Tonquin Bean really adds to it. It's subtle but it's there, and if it wasn't there then I think this blend would suffer a bit. The whole flavor profile, however, depends on the smoker sipping it. This is a blend that requires careful sipping - not because it will bite, but because you'll miss the the full flavor experience if you puff on it like a freight train. Rich and deep Virginia goodness, a bit of Oriental spice, and a judicious dash of sweet Tonquin Bean... brilliant, just brilliant.

    Several reviewers on TR lambasted it because the flakes were not of universal thickness. OK, it's true - the thickness of the flakes is not universal. And I would have to retort "And your point is?" This does not affect the flavor, but it does reflect that house of Samuel Gawith prepares their fine tobaccos using ancient processing equipment. In fact, they have a peice of processing equipment that has been dated to about 1750 and this allows them the distinction of claiming that they utilize the oldest peice of industrial machinery still in active use. Do the math and pay attention to history - Sam's Flake is being produced on equipment that pre-dates our fine Republic by over 25 years. That means that it's pushing it's third century of continual usage, and that bit of romantic trivia makes this blend even more appealing to me. Talk about an "artisan blend"...

    I'm gonna highly recommend this blend, and I'm gonna wager that it's one of those blends that will only get better the longer I cellar it. So, I think that about 10 more tins are in order. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth every penny of the $10 I paid for it. Hell, I think it's a steal at $10 a tin.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
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  2. Mount Mandolin

    Mount Mandolin Active Member

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    Interesting. I bought some awhile back and found it strange at the time, so I jarred it up and have it saved for a later date. Maybe I should crack that jar the next time I need a tonquin fix. It's weird: there aren't many G&H blends that I don't like, but some of the SG ones are pretty unusual, like the Bracken Flake for instance, which I just couldn't get into last time either.

    Sounds like it might be time to revisit this one.
     
  3. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Shush! Keep this up and it'll go out of stock all the time! :D

    Yeah, it's a good one and yeah, just like Mount Mandolin said, it's a strange one.
     
  4. cigarsarge

    cigarsarge Active Member

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    JR Cigars sells it for $8.95 a tin...Might save you a few dollars.
     
  5. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    I try to stay at least six years ahead on Sam's Flake, one of my faves. Yes - it ages very well.
     
  6. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    I smoked it on the way home, and the three hours worth of drying was a bit much. I think it lost some of it's flavor. So, I'm gonna dial it back an hour on the drying and see how two hours does.

    On a related note, the resistance was futile so I cracked a tin of SG Kendal Cream Deluxe Flake. Ah, another sublime tobacco. I think I'm beginning to get a feel for Kendal tobaccos. The GH blends have a very floral quality to them. It's nice every now and then, but really too much for me to enjoy on a regular basis. SG blends also have a unique signature to them, but from what I can tell they have a more earthy character to them. They're blends I can see myself smoking on at least a weekly basis. I suppose the SG blends that I've tried so far might be described as floral by some, but I think of them as having a more sweet, earthy, and mossy flavor profile. In away, SG blends seem to have a similar character to Nicaraguan cigars (which I also think have an earthy quality). Obviously, we're talking about pipe tobacco and not cigars here, but I really like the earthy vibe I get from these SG blends that I'm exploring.

    Just like Nicaraguan cigars are my favorite cigars, I think that SG is becoming my favorite pipe tobacco line. It's never gonna replace MacB or SRW as a daily workhorse smoke; however, I can see a tin of SG always being out on the tobacco bar for those weekend end-of-the-day smokes when I want something really deep and rich. Small wonder SG has been in the pipe tobacco business since 1792.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  7. Mount Mandolin

    Mount Mandolin Active Member

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    Interesting yet again. You're just Mr. Interesting in this thread, lol. I find G&H blends to definitely have a strong Lakeland taste to them, although not always floral. Sometimes it's just kinda "what the hell is this", but almost never in a bad way. I smoke their tobaccos regularly, and I keep a lot in my cabinet, but that is a pretty recent development. A couple of our fine friends here corrupted me, naturally. The only one I've found so far that I just can't smoke is Dark Flake Scented. It tastes like burning rubber with botanical oil and perfume on it. But yeah, SG is great stuff, most of the time. Luckily it's not hard to get these days. Now I have about ten times as much FVF as I'll ever need, lol.

    And my favorite cigars are from The Bad Place. So maybe that's why you and I differed on this blend. Nicaraguan cigars are clearly inferior. :D But anyway, two things: why do some of you guys smoke things like SWR and Mac Baren when you actually enjoy the non-OTC stuff? (Not meant as a cheeky question, just never have understood that, since why smoke if you aren't going to smoke something "deep and rich"?) Second, you're the second or third person I've heard mention a "tobacco bar"? Now just what in the world is that? I'm not exactly new at this anymore, and that is still a puzzler to me.
     
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  8. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    And still more shat from the shallow mind of "Mr. Interesting"...:thu:

    Tobacco bar is just a shorter way to say "A bunch of different blends sitting out at the same time that I pick at until they're gone." (It takes a lot less verbage that way). Seriously, I tend to keep a tobacco pouch full of my beloved "commoner" tobacco that I smoke thorought the day. Generally SWR or one of the MacB brothers - and right now it's SWR. I also keep out a duty Latakia blend (currently Dunhill Standard Mixture) and a flake blend (currently PS LTF). I'll also put out another blend of some sort - could be a VaPer, could be a Lakeland, could be a Virginny. (Right now it happens to be GH Best Brown #2). I cracked the tins of Sam's Flake and Kendal Cream Flake, and that pouch of M79, because the curiosity was just too great, so I've also got those sitting out on the tobacco bar.

    I can't speak for all the other smokers here at PSF, but I've rarely met a tobacco blend that I haven't liked. However, I tend to like them in different ways. Stuff like Dunhill MM965, SG Sam's Flake, Peterson Old Dublin, GH #7 Broken Flake, Pease Cumberland, McClelland Navy Flake, Escudo, and a host of others, are all sublime blends and each is awesome in it's own right. But for me, they would cease to be as awesome if I smoked them all the time. These are blends that I smoke when I'm in the mood for something really special and I feel like focusing on nuance or whatnot. Besides, these are on the pricyer side for me so I can't afford to smoke them all day.

    SWR, MacB Golden Extra, MacB Burley London Blend, and MacB Scottish Mixture are blends that I can enjoy day in and day out. They have a soft and mellow flavor that appeals to me, they are kind of one dimensional and don't require much thought or effort to smoke, and are there for me when all I want is just an enjoyable bowl of tobacco - which is usually all I want most of the time, since I'm rarely looking for an "experience" when I'm smoking. Just a bowl of tobacco that places no demands on me. Kind of like background music, or a comfort food like Mac & Cheese. These blends are also very inexpensive, so the "Secret Scrooge" part of me doesn't flip out by imagining that the trail of smoke coming from my pipe looks like dollar symbols floating off into space.

    I've got a pretty broad taste in tobacco, and it's not limited by exclusivity, price, or difficulty in procuring. Well, it's limited by price if I can't afford to cellar it in quantity... and it's limited by difficulty in procuring if I can't find any. I take each blend on what I think are it's own merits, it's just that I find that some of those merits make it an everyday smoke while other merits make it more of a treat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  9. KleinToit

    KleinToit Member

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    Now that is the kind of thinking I can get behind... With tobacco and just about everything else in life, not all are created equal and for very good reason. My favorite at the moment is Dunhill Nightcap, but I can't smoke it all day for various reasons, price being one. Its funny that one can never compare OTC's and expensive blends except when you consider them in their 'natural habitat' and use a scale that measures how good they do the job they were created for... on that scale my beloved Van Erkoms Fox (much like Carter Hall) can sometimes wipe the floor with NC.
     
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  10. enigmaticbriar

    enigmaticbriar Member

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    SG Sams flake didnt do it for me the first time i smoked it. so i jarred it up and left it for a few months and that sure did make a big diff. it could also have been the pipe i smoked it in. RTOdhner whats your favorite shape of pipe to smoke it out of?
     
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  11. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    An Apple, Rhodesian, or an Author. I have this habit of cupping my hand over the bowl of any pipe I use to smoke flake blends, and these shapes fit my hand best.
     
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  12. MikeInMaine

    MikeInMaine Passes for human

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    I really like Sams flake. I just ordered 3 more tins from 4 noggins.
    I wish it came in bulk.
     
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  13. LBauer12

    LBauer12 Member

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    How does Sam's Flake compare to 1792?
     
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  14. ryan65

    ryan65 Member

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    I was curious as well and looked it up, sounds like Tonquin is the only thing these two have in common, according to reviews, its a mild tobacco.
     
  15. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    No comparison. It's quite a bit lighter than the 1792, with much better flavor (IMHO). I thought that I would really like the 1792 flake, but I don't. It does have some starch to it, and a nice bit of Tonquin Bean, but it's a real PITA to prepare and smoke. I've jacked with damn near a whole tin of the stuff, and still can't get it down. I shouldn't have to work that hard at getting an enjoyable bowl of tobacco, so I've written off the 1792 for now. Sam's Flake, OTH, is a joy to smoke. It does require a bit more care in the preparation than other blends, but nothing near what the 1792 evidently requires - at least for me. YMMV.
     
  16. LBauer12

    LBauer12 Member

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    1792 is a very unique blend that I sometimes enjoy, but usually I don't crave that peculiar tonquin flavor. And you're right it is a pain to keep it lit. I have some cellared that I will revisit a few years down the road...word on the street is this one gets much better with age.
     
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  17. gd9704

    gd9704 Member

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    Stopped at my local B&M to pick up pipe cleaners, and guess what was winking at me from the shelf? :D

    You're right that this stuff is REAL moist fresh from the tin! I fought had for 10 minutes and finally got it lit--good stuff!

    Looking forward to a bowl with some dry-time before hand.
    Thanks for the tip
     
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