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, June 02, 2013


This blogger is a severe puritan. I disapprove of other people's perversions, bad behaviour, and absolutely horrible taste. Though not, of course, of my own. Of which there hasn't been any.

In particular, I loathe public displays of affection (and groping). There has been no affection (or groping) in my own life for so long I would probably throw stones at it if it were to happen, and when other people do it, they lack the sheer panache and sparkiness that I believe is necessary.
So much for perversion and bad behaviour.
I do both of those much better.
Or at least I did.

Now for the bad taste.

I do not smoke perfumed tobaccos. Aromatic pipe blends -- mixtures with strange fruity fragrances and syrup-sauces added, thus bollixing-up what would have been perfectly decent leaf -- are utter anathema in my world, indicative of bestial tendencies, moral turpitude, and a complete lack of manners, standards, sound judgement, and a value system.

Disgusting, horrible, depraved..... never touch them.

This, then, is a review of two such products.

MIXTURE with Honey & Orange
Made in Denmark by Scandinavian Tobacco Group

"The orange & honey recipe consists of 30% Black Cavendish from Africa, India and Europe mixed with 70% Virginia from Argentina and Africa. On top of that sweet orange flavour is added.
Flavour: sweet honey combined with orange notes."


Once lit, the smell combines with the actual taste of the tobaccos to remind one of an excess of low-grade bottled bee-bottom and cheap perfume, in a way that is strangely reminiscent of horrible blends one smoked as a child when one did not know any better.
I cannot describe the room-note, as the first time I puffed this was in a cigar store, and the next several times were at home with every window open for ventilation and my apartment mate off at work and not due home till long after I had gone out for an evening's stroll with some real tobacco.
Other than the absurd additives, it's not a horrid product. Seventy percent Virginias dictate slowness lest it bite, and it stays lit fairly easily. A perfect choice for utter degenerates and other Northern Europeans, and dumpy hausfraus will probably think that it smells just ever so nice, much better than that crap from Niemeyer that Jurgen or Olaf used to like.....
It's not that bad. Decent tobacco.
A bit too nauseating.
Odd soap.

MIXTURE Special No. 8
Made in Denmark by Scandinavian Tobacco Group

"The special no. 8 recipe consists of 40% Black Cavendish from Africa and Argentina which is mixed with 60% Virginia from Brazil and Europe.
Flavour: hints of nuts and vanilla."


To start with, Vanilla is a fairly traditional inclusion in tobaccos as well as perfumes and bakery products, and it duplicates in some ways the effect of maturing the leaves. So it isn't as objectionable as it sounds. The tobacco itself is high quality, and the percentage of Black Cavendish contributes mightily to the smokeability of this blend. The aroma brings back very pleasant half-memories.
This is not something in which I would indulge on a daily basis, but it performs nicely, and I don't mind it at all.
The bowl is over a bit too soon.


Neither of these blends will spur me to test the rest of the Borkum Riff line. But I will probably finish my pouch of the Special No. 8 within a month or two. It may take me over a year before I've smoked even half of the Orange and Honey thing.

Both of these pouches were freebies, I spent no money.
I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
But this horse is a fruit.

If I were stuck on an island or in the middle of Kansas, special number eight would be a more than passable option. In all likelihood I would probably smoke less, though.

I wonder what a blend of 35% Black Cavendish, 60% Virginias (mostly flake with a little red ribbon), and five percent Perique would be like.


The title of this blogpost is taken from the handsome pouches in which these tobaccos came. In golden script right above the brand name Borkum Riff is the phrase "the glow of discovery".
I've always been keen to explore new things.

Curiosity killed the cat.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



  • At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Arno said…

    I admit, I am a latakia-whore but nevertheless I like a good aromatic once in a while. Especially in the summer. Or in the winter when the girlfriend can't stand the latakia smell any more.
    Did you ever try Planta's Black Vanilla? I find it a very, very good aromatic. I even get hints of "balkenbrij" (still know what that is?) from it. Sweet and spicy :)

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Hints of balkenbrij? I made that a couple of times, it's very mediaeval style recipe. Slightly sweet, a little meat, toasty-nutty, and hints of licorice and anise.

  • At 10:10 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    One of the aromatics I occasionally smoke is Germain's Plumcake (very odd smells, baffling almost). Another is 1792 Flake by Sam Gawith - I'm convinced the recipe started off as an alternative to similarly-flavoured snuff, for people who smoked instead of putting tobacco powder up their noses.

  • At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Arno said…

    Oooh you make Balkenbrij yourself? Nice! My grandma used to make it herself. That and "zult". I think both typical "Brabantse gerechten". Since her death I almost haven't eat those dishes. Butchers just don't know anymore how to properly make them..
    By the way, balkenbrij is not so much in the taste of Black Vanilla but in the scent of the smoke from the bowl.
    Never had Germain's Plumcake... 1792 I have smoked but the nicotine in there.. Whoaahhh...

  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    For a long time I was obsessed with recreating the tastes of everything I had when still in the Kempen. I've made balakenbrij, zure zult, bloedworst, and a number of other things you can't find here, as well as some very tasty imitations of frikadel. With that letter, the key is proportion of reasonably fatty meat to other ingredients, the fine grind of the meat, spices (nutmeg or mace are essential), and lastly double dipping in paneermeel (fine grind rusk/beschuit crumbs) before and after egg-white. The exact proportions are still an issue, but sofar I'm happy with the results.

    Bloedworst was a bit of a problem. Fortunately Philippino markets will often have dugo na babui (varkensbloed) for making dinuguan, and Chinese butchers can also be relied on.

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    By the way, zult is called 'sulce' in some parts of the East Coast. Folks in Pennsylvania make a version of it, and 'scrapple' is rather similar to balkenbrij, using cornmeal instead of buckwheat flour. But scrapple is much simpler, not nearly as interesting.


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