Tonight, I finally get to the tin of Penzance which Jeremiah so generously sent my way. This elusive tobacco has been on my list for a long time.
I apply my pipe tool to the indents on the side and–aha!–the satisfying suck and pop of a virgin tin.
Peeling back layers of oily paper reveals a mass of almost greasy crumble cake. Perhaps it’s just the lighting, but it strikes me as having a grey hue.
The aroma in the tin is woodsmoke, yet without any sharpness–cool and mellow, something like a fireplace recently doused with water. There’s some beef jerky. It’s all very earthy: think of the rich soil floor of a pine forest after a good rain.
It rubs out extremely easily. Actually, it just sort of crumbles, but moistly.
I might let a bit dry out, first–the moisture is natural, fresh, and pleasant, but may prove problematic. Then again, nah: I’ll pack the pipe anyway and give it a try. If it isn’t ready to take to the match, I’ll just let the pipe sit overnight.
Well this is nice: after an initial char, the weed lights well enough. You know, I somehow think that this tobacco would lose something distinctive, if dry.
I’m shocked not to taste more Latakia. It’s there, but not like the tin aroma led me to expect. Virginias and Orientals are in play–Orientals are foremost–but they don’t fully account for the experience, either. The overall taste truly is more than the sum of its parts. In fact, I’m tempted to say that it’s other than the sum of its parts. It’s a fruit wood fire on a peaty moor. Yeah, that’s it. Deep, earthy, true, natural, full, rich, thick, creamy.
As the smoke gets under way, I do get a little gurgle going; but, not enough to bother me at all. This Ben Wade–a straight pot–tends to gurgle, anyway.
I just realized that I’ve been puffing too hard. Still, the leaf has not gotten hot or nippy at all. I’m slowing down to see what very slight sips might reveal. Huh, a mellow nougat flavor now wafts around my mouth. Maybe a little toasted marshmallow, too.
This is somehow more real than other tobaccos. Like the finest cakes of the most natural leaf put away in clay pots ages ago by Tobold Hornblower to ferment in a moist, earthy cellar.
I step out of the room and back in:
The note is pleasant: nutty and nougatty and creamy, with a little incense mingled in.
After smoking, I feel like I’ve just eaten a steak: heavy and sated. There are even steaky flavors left in my mouth. Too much of this might turn my stomach; but, one pipe in the evening is just the thing.