OLD GOWRIE: PERFECT PIPE TOBACCO FOR BADGERS
Its chief settlement is the town of Perth. Today it is most often associated with the Carse of Gowrie, the part of Gowrie south of the Sidlaw Hills running east of Perth to Dundee."
[Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gowrie.]
The reader will now recognize a resonance; this explains why Charles Rattray named one of his tobaccos thus.
Perth is where mr. Rattray opened his own shop after several years in the trade elsewhere.
There is no tobacco grown in Gowrie, the climate is unsuitable.
The product is described as Virginia with a hint of Perique, and fully rubbed out. That isn't strictly accurate, as to my mind it requires a little more reduction to make it pack properly in the pipe. Fortunately it is moist in the tin and can be handled without crumbling.
Let it dry a while ere lighting up.
As with most of the Virginias I have been enjoying of late, the best smoke is the one I have after having a bite to eat in Chinatown on the weekend. These are the contrast, the capstone, and the dessert rolled into one.
Virginias have a sweetness on the tongue and a sparkle on the palate which can be utterly enchanting, and I have long associated them with young ladies of wit, charm, and strong character.
Sparkling eyes, expressive faces, and a hint of fruits and herbs.
There is no young lady in my life at present; a relationship of many years came to an end in 2010.
I wish it hadn't. But what is done is done.
While there is nothing else, good pipe tobacco ameliorates much.
Mr. Badger had a chicken bun and some siu mai for lunch today, followed by a full bowl of Old Gowrie while sitting in the sun. Old Gowrie has a sweetness similar to Marlin Flake, albeit with a somewhat browner profile and broader flavour-spectrum. The smell in the tin is fruity-spicy, definitely reminding one of the colonies.
A very fine product made with much more flue-cured tobacco than some of the popular English pressed tobaccos, and consequently no need for the degenerate funkums which mass-market manufacturers spray on their leaves.
It isn't really a VaPer ("Virginia - Perique blend"), and therefore might not satisfy the afficionados of that type.
Who are troll-like people of ursine build, with fur on the outside of their chest, and hair on the inside.
No, they will likely not be pleased.
But civilized creatures, like badgers, beavers, and even some ferrets, will find it quite delicious.
On sunny days they will leave their burrows, wearing a nice tweed coat or a jaunty cap perhaps, and amble through the tall green grass of early spring, humming to themselves while whisps of smoke trail behind them. Life is good, that siu mai was truly excellent today, very juicy. Then they will sit for a while on a fallen tree trunk (in my case, a concrete bench), enjoying the warmth and brightness, while the remainder of the bowl attracts their attention.
Sweet, fragrant, soft.......
A suggestion of plum, of prune, of apricot. Tea or chocolate.
Old Gowrie possesses an almost syrupy quality.
The Perique is just a subtle hint.
Flue cured dominates.
If Old Gowrie were a human, she would be youthful, slim shouldered, and vibrant. Possibly wearing a dark blouse and a pale skirt - one can imagine a little black brassiere underneath, with a matching pair of panties....... nothing visible, but she knows about them, and she can feel the smooth cool fabric against her warm silken skin.
For innocent middle aged men like myself, thoughts of such things provide a sweetness to the day as delightful as Old Gowrie itself.
And at least I've got the pipe tobacco.
That is a reason to smile.
Emptied out the ashes after my smoke and headed East along Washington Street, past the insane man standing on a bucket chanting "happy happy happy", past the park where a Chinese violin prefaced an air from a Cantonese opera. The singing sounded better when I got a block further down, distance having mellowed the static from the amplifiers and softened the edges of the song.
It was one of the most enjoyable lunches I've had in a while.
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