At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Note: There is nothing Jewish in this post – unless you are a pipe-smoker. In which case you should know that shalom beis may be seriously disturbed by smoking these pipe tobaccos, and that the author considers all three of these mixtures excellent for fragrantly lengthening the last whisps of Shabbes into twilight, far better than a container of cloves and nutmeg.

[How you resolve the conflict is your own affair - but I'll gladly read how you did it.]


MacBaren is known for their spuncuts and mild Danish Aromatics, some sauced, some top-cased. They are not at all known for doing anything daring with Latakia or Orientals. Their previous foray into wife-repellent was ‘Latakia Blend’, which despite the name failed to deliver the promised punch, though it was a decent cut roll-cake Cavendish . Not a bad smoke if you expected typical MacBaren tobacco, but a Syrian would not have recognized it.

The Vintage Syrian is different. Indeed, there’s a hefty measure of Latakia in it – by MacBaren standards. And Oriental. But it should not be considered a full blend, being more on the cross-over point between mild English, light Balkan, and Scottish-Oriental. The grassy component in the tin aroma indicates some air-cured leaf.
By my guess, roughly forty percent Latakia, about twenty percent Oriental, ten percent fire-cured American, and the remainder a mild-medium base of Virginias. All steamed to meld. It is not tinned wet, and can be smoked with little or no drying once the tin is opened.

It does not smoke particularly richly, being a pleasant old-fashioned European mixture with Oriental leaf. Which is shockingly new for the Danes. It is affordable and will not scare away women and children. There is a nice touch of sweetness. By Danish standards it is both risqué and balanced; no mean achievement.

Recommendation: buy a few tins to mature for a few years, but don’t go wild.


This blend is reminiscent of Samuel Gawith, both the Squadron Leader Mixture and the Skiff Mixture. It has the fine underlying Virginia tang of Skiff, and the Turkish dominance of Squadron Leader. Latakia-wise, it is right in between. It is a very good blend. Set aside a few tins to age.


This is a typical old-fashioned English mixture, and a good exemplar of the type, being a medium-full Latakia blend with a healthy dosis of Turkish leaf, and a shot of black Virginia to round-out the sootiness of the Latakia. It has more Turkish than Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe, more of the Virginia tone than Dunhill’s Standard Mixture Medium. That would put it in the range of Dunhill’s 965, but it is far better behaved.
Lovers of the Dunhill mixtures will find much here that appeals, as will also the smokers of Esoterica Tabaciana's Margate and Germain’s Latakia Mixture (virtually the same as Margate, which is not surprising, as both are made in the same factory), but it is less wet in the tin. It does need a little drying.

If your wife hates your favourite tobaccos, you wil probably love this.


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  • At 10:34 AM, Blogger Lemuel said…

    Hello The back of the hill,

    You remind me of something I read a while ago. A man sat on a chair at the seaside. He was smoking a sigar, no, he was no pipe-smoker. He only had the sigar he was smoking, and while smoking he thought te be in heaven. But the sigar became smaller and smaller. It seamed to him that heaven faded away. When he had only one pull left, a passer-by stopped and asked him a fire. After he gave it, the man offered him a sigar.
    You said that there is nothing Jewish in your post. I'll try to see the Jewish link. No, the passer-by was certainly not Elia (though for that man on the beach it might be him). I saw some old people chewing tobacco. Since I cannot imagine smoking on Sjabbes (see your note) I think that these old people might suck a mixture of G.L.Pease-Kensington and Peterson's right before havdala, and use HH Vintage Syrian as besamim. There Sjabbes will last , and last, and last.....

    OK man, at least I tried.

  • At 8:31 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…


    But they could light up AFTER havdalah, at motzei shabbes.


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