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.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

GREG PEASE REVIEWED - A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLING OF HIS OEUVRE

One of the nicer things to happen in the last twenty years is Greg Pease deciding to sell his own products. It has raised the bar in that field, and we have all been enriched in consequence. Yet there is such a large selection available now with his imprimatur that a little oversight might be helpful.
This post is an attempt to address that need somewhat.

GLP

Many of Greg's blends recall a time when all bright young men walked around with a pipe, and aspired to own a tweed jacket. The pipe likely represented a teenage experiment that had been marvelously successful, and the tweed jacket was a desire to emulate older relatives and family friends whom they respected and of whom they were fond - men who were worth emulating in many other ways, but the tweed jacket at least was relatively easy.

That paradigm shifted to dross in the fifties, was corrupted by the sixties, and destroyed by the wide lapels and shoulder pads of the seventies and eighties.
Pipes and tweed? What?

I still dress rather like that; decent professorial jacket, slacks, collared shirt.
And, you will understand, I eschew most aromatic mixtures.
Consequently I can only think well of Greg Pease.

Please note that bright young men should still smoke good pipe tobaccos and aspire to tweed. Women too.
Well, perhaps not the tweed.

[Note: Some readers have cocked an eyebrow at my insistence that women should smoke pipes, and wondered at my sanity for suggesting that the young must also be invited to take up the habit. But really, this is all easily explained. The female of the species is quite as capable of enjoying fine tobacco as the male, and if people in their early years do not learn to enjoy the fragrant weed, then who will push our wheelchairs out to the legally permitted smoking zone four blocks from the old-folks home when we are in our eighties?!?   This blogger has NO desire to smoke alone in the rain when dotage comes. It’s also fairly certain that Nurse Hatchet will cut off our balls if she catches us lighting up in the bathroom. ]


CAPSULE REVIEWS


ABINGDON
Full Balkan: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Meaty and Latakia-rich, with more balance than Odyssey (one of his other blends), woodsy and broad-reaching.
Exceptional.

ASHBURY
Medium Oriental: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
This is a complex blend with a balance between the Virginia and Turkish, fairly light on Latakia.

BARBARY COAST
Burley, Virginia, and Perique. Faint addition of Brandy.
It can bite.

BLACKPOINT
Oriental type mixture: Virginia, Latakia, Perique, Turkish.
This blend centers around the Flue-cured spectrum. It is complex, medium, airy.
Even a little busy.

BOHEMIAN SCANDAL
A finely balanced full Balkan: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Really showcases how different Syrian Latakia is from Cyprus leaf. This tastes particularly fresh and clean after some of the pointless Latakia dumps that other blenders produce. Unfortunately it is no longer available. Smoke Westminster instead.
Exceptional.

CAIRO
Medium-mild Oriental with Perique.
A complex milder blend which changes considerably with age. This is a very Berkeley product, what all college boys should smoke. Especially when going to tea at the dean’s house.
Intriguing, but not an overload.
Excellent.

CARAVAN
Medium-full Balkan: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Understated, even uncomplex, in some ways a German-style Balkan. Orientals to the front, and almost old-fashioned; the type of tobacco which, if discovered in a dull provincial town makes the visit a memorable experience.
Excellent.

CHARING CROSS
Medium-full Balkan: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Good interplay between the Turkish and Latakia. A very fine tobacco for Autumn.
Do not trust the smoker of this around your kid sister.
A truly outstanding mixture.

CHELSEA MORNING
Light English: Virginia, Latakia, Perique.
A rather sparkling tobacco which evokes fresh-faced young ladies.
Who, I shall insist, should also smoke this.
The Red comes through nicely. It has softness.

CUMBERLAND
An American mixture – dark aged Kentucky and span of Virginias with Perique.
Nutty, and it smells better than it smokes.

EMBARCADERO
Pressed Virginia and Turkish.
A splendid product, but not very exciting to me. Pressing Virginias and Turkish together always seems empty. As with all such, I have an urge to add Latakia.
It might suit a smoker with a palate more finely attuned to Reds.

FILLMORE
Broken Flake.
Complex and sherry-like, very well made. Often satisfying, sometimes not sweet enough.
Smokes slow.
Excellent.

HADDO’S DELIGHT
Virginia and Perique, small amount Burley.
Ideal for lovers of American blends with spicy qualities, and much like many fine products available before the war. It will not appeal to a great many smokers who cannot appreciate the older style of blends at local tobacconists. The aroma upon opening the tin is rich, robust, and evocative.
Excellent.

JACKKNIFE PLUG
Plug: Kentucky and Virginia.
This is not for the faint-hearted. But it is very good. There is depth beside the nicotine wallop, and it smokes cleanly and enjoyably down.
Burly truck drivers might quail, but I can imagine a lovely little teenage miss with laughing eyes thoroughly enjoying this. Later, when she comes back in the house, her parents will ask “what’s that smell?”. And she’ll reply “no idea, maybe fumes from the bakery fire near the school today”.
The mischievous girl will be hard pressed to come up with more excuses as time goes by.
But her grades are excellent. And she is considerate and very well behaved.
She’ll get a scholarship to an East-Coast college after high-school.
A pity, as I would love to meet her upon graduation.
Exceptional.

KENSINGTON
Medium Balkan: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
There are very fine Virginia notes here. By no means top-heavy in the dark department. A well-balanced go-to blend, especially for smokers who favour products that aren’t too tarry.
A truly outstanding mixture.

KEY LARGO
Cigar leaf blend: Virginia, Latakia, Shade leaf, Turkish.
Flaky, of medium strength. A very good tobacco, which should be more popular, as the layering of flavours is masterfully done, and will awaken memories you didn’t know you had..
Recommended.
Exceptional.

LAGONDA
Pressed full English – Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
This is the kind of naughty mixture that all zesty girls should smoke. Indiscreet, but utterly charming.
Yes, this goes with a nice cup of tea, and will make doing your homework a pleasure. Such a pity that your parents will scream bloody murder if they follow the smell and find you smoking.
Exceptional.

LAUREL HEIGHTS
Virginias and Latakia.
Complex, and great with a tawny Port. Not a domineering presence, perfect for the thoughtful man not blessed with a chattersome wife. On the other hand, great consolation if that is his good fortune. Cool, mostly Red.
Excellent.

LOMBARD
Light English: Virginia, Latakia, Perique.
Very American. Old school. Some people will like this very much.
It is pleasant enough for a while.

MALTESE FALCON
Medium – full English: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
From the same era as Westminster. There is something else here.
During my last trip to Vancouver this was a constant smoke. Alluring in the crispness of winter, and it grows on the smoker at other times. Cellared several tins. Tangy, sweet, a little spicy. Balanced.
Excellent.

MERIDIAN
Pressed medium English: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Very nice, and something I would smoke late at night. When everything is quiet and dark, one is more attuned to subtlety.

MONTGOMERY
Virginia mixture: Virginia and Kentucky.
Top notch basic tobacco for someone who does not like Latakia or drenched Cavendish mixtures.
A decent simple smoke.

ODYSSEY
Full Balkan: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Quite an overload of flavour, hence sometimes a challenge. Too much Latakia to be universally splendid, but in the right bowl at the right time it sings.
Very smoky. This blend dominates the discourse.
Excellent.

PICADILLY
Light English: Virginia, Latakia, Perique.
Good and mild if puffed slow. It may appeal to people who are less adventurous than they imagine themselves to be. Those who like the herbal effect of Virginia dallying with the dark elements will find charm here.

QUIET NIGHTS
Pressed full English: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
Complex, and better in late afternoon than the name suggests. This is the kind of tobacco that reminds you what vacations are all about: late tea, good roast beef, a spot of sherry or port in early evening. You might want to have another bowl after ten with a bit of whisky.
It is very endearing.
Excellent.

RAVEN’S WING
Dark English: Virginia and Latakia.
This was oddly Scottish. Hard to smoke at the time, though great fun. It is now unavailable.
You will probably like Maltese Falcon.

RENAISSANCE
Medium English Mixture.
Now unavailable.
Smoke Westminster instead.

ROBUSTO
Cigar leaf blend: Virginia, Latakia, Shade leaf, Turkish.
Spicy. As with all cigar-leaf pipe tobacco blends, age mellows it.
Fine for rainy days.

SAMARRA
Medium Oriental: Virginia, Latakia, Perique, Turkish
There is an interesting interplay here, marked by the Red Virginia and the Latakia, very much like something I would blend.
But I actually like some of his other mixtures more.
Excellent.

SEXTANT
Pressed composite: Virginia, Kentucky, Latakia.
Sooty, rich, and orgasmic.
Deep, dense, and an excuse to light up. Again.
Really? Really.
Highly recommended.
An outstanding mixture.

STRATFORD
Virginia mixture: Virginia and Perique.
Noticeable spiciness, mild Virginias. But if smoked carelessly or hot-boxed it will bite.

TELEGRAPH HILL
Virginia mixture: Virginia and Perique.
Not as assertive as some other VaPers, but it is complex and will age well.

TRIBUTE
Virginia mixture: Kentucky, Virginia, Perique.
Spicy, with a broad flavour spectrum. Though rich in Virginia content it isn’t overly sweet.
A bit much at times.

TRIPLE PLAY
Plug: Virginia, Kentucky, Perique.
A jolly good smoke, this. It has a sweeter note than the Jackknife Plug, but is in the same league.
Smokers of the British VaPers of yore will definitely find much to like.
This is a clean pure product, however. It might baffle them at first.
Recommended.
Excellent.

UNION SQUARE
Classic Virginia Flake.
This is a flake-lovers flake.  I have several tins stashed away.  In addition to being a great good smoke on its own, it is also a fine blender for luxurious experiments.
Straight Virginia needs coddling.
Excellent.

WESTMINSTER
Medium-full English: Virginia, Latakia, Turkish.
One of my absolute favourite tobaccos. Very old-fashioned, and quite delightful.
Dense, broad flavour spectrum, complex, and rich.
It is everything an English mixture should be.
Highly recommended.
A truly outstanding mixture.


One could do far worse than to smoke the tobaccos I have characterized as excellent, exceptional, or truly outstanding, in the list above.
But it would be hard to do better.


Other posts mentioning Greg Pease may be found here: GLP




TOBACCO INDEX


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