Properly Judging true VAs

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Grim_Puffer, Jan 2, 2011.

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  1. Grim_Puffer

    Grim_Puffer Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    For all you purists out there who enjoy an excellently aged VA or just a damn good VA flake what do you consider to be a proper and true to the style VA.

    Now I realize different blends use a wide spectrum of diff VAs from light all the way to dark.

    I know some that ive had seemed to go from being very tart all the way to sweet and sugary with an almost Diet Soda pallete appeal.

    Noticed others that can be very grassy or hay-ish to just organic and earthy ( if that makes since )

    On you guys scale of judging when you are smoking a VA for the first time what criteria must it meat to statisfy your tastebuds.

    I know the only real criteria a blend must meet is does it taste good to you and do you enjoy it, thats usually my rule but for the purists of his form of pipe tobacco what are the specific criteria you judge a blend on.

    I know with my oriental blends Im looking for first the initial impression to showcase the semi-sweet to nutty orientals while the Latakia and Virginias just play in the background for a smooth mellow sorta sweet smoke without being too much like an aromatic.

    With just Latakia based blends I look for the Latakia to stand out but also to compliment the other tobaccos in the blend. I hate an english where all that comes through is Latakia and nothing else, I know others prefer strong latakia blends.

    So anyways what makes a Great True VA blend for those of you who only enjoy an exceptional Virginia Blend?

    Cheers and Happy Late New Years everyone 2010 sucked for me but 2011 is looking to be a little better.

  2. Snake

    Snake permanent ankle biter

    Jun 13, 2010
    Personally, I like a sweeter VA as this kills
    two birds with one stone for me. The
    sweetness replaces the need for an
    aro, and it still fulfils the VA type of
    smoke I love. An excellent example
    of an all VA flake is Dunhill's Flake.
    The other VA blends I smoke have a
    burley contingent in them, so I
    wouldn't call them a straight VA;
    although, they're close! Hope this
    is somewhat of an answer you were
    looking for, GP.


    edited to add Capstan Gold (medium)
    is also a straight VA. I judge all
    other Virginias on this tobak alone.
    I only hesitated to mention it before
    as it is not available stateside.
  3. Grim_Puffer

    Grim_Puffer Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    well was just wondering, not as a pipe tobacco snob, I just usually get into things I love and I love pipe smoking lol.

    I know the only thing that really matters is whether or not you like a blend but I always like going the way of a sorta connoisseur though.

    I also rarely take everything from tobaccoreviews to heart because some of those reviews are kinda swayed.

    People giving blends 1 star because they never liked an english ever so they think they should give a good blend 1 star because they hate english blends and so on.

    Thanks though for the reply.
  4. Brian

    Brian Member

    Oct 26, 2009
    I would say my preference in smoking is for VA's. That and the danish style VA-Burley + Cavendish blends.

    But your question is really hard to answer. There are several styles of VA, and I like to walk around among them. Generally, I'm with Snake. I prefer a sweeter, lighter VA like Dunhill Flake. I like others too. I have a local blend called Georgetown Flake that is younger (less aging) and it has more of the grassy-vegetal and a sharpness to it (in a pleasant way). I also like FVF which is quite dark and nicely aged.

    To me, two main qualities:

    1. I like it to have a natural tobacco flavor.
    2. Some other highlight that is interesting -- sweetness up front, or perhaps hay, or a dark earthiness from aging.
  5. Burner

    Burner Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Some of the reviews are hilarious. Particularly the chap who gives every macbaren blend the one word review "Macbite". Hand slap forehead time.
  6. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hi All,

    It's amazing how you often don't think of something you quite take for granted ... until someone thinks to ask what on the face of it looks a simple question...and then you find yourself scratching for a reply!

    For most of my career, Virginias have been the mainstay of my pipe smoking experience, though I have occasionally “played away” and for a while been seduced by the the likes of Balkan and Oriental tobaccos.

    The Virginias I like fall into three main categories

    1)Typical British Style cased and topped Virginia Flake – Old School Tobaccos like Condor, St Bruno, Erinmore, Walnut Revor etc. Good sound everyday robust outdoor smoking tobaccos.

    2)Straight Virginias – smelling like new mown hay or summer grass and appearing light bright yellow with darker spots and tasting of ...err...tobacco! Sadly many of my Old Favourites of this style have gone – Players Gold Leaf being a particular loss even yet after all these years. There are two examples of this style, both very different in presentation however that I do love Mc Clellands Beacon Flake and John Patton's Quadruple Virginia. These are my “mixed” or “polite company” tobaccos and also my first pipe of the day type of tobacco.

    3)Sweet/ Aromatic Virginias. Whereas many would opt for an “English Mixture” as an after dinner smoke I prefer a sweeter tobacco along with a strong white coffee – after all these years again for me it is still Benson and Hedges Mellow Virginia and Carven Aromatic that take the trick,

    As in all tobaccos, I seek at least a medium strength, a noticeable taste, cool smoking qualities and consistency as regards quality.

    Done me 'umble best to answer the question Guv, can I go now?

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