Wednesday, October 25, 2006


No, this is not lashon horo - I mean it in a good sense. I guess.

This is about pipe tobacco - or actually, it's about smokers talking about pipe tobacco, and ripping into a well-respected blend with poetry and venom. Pipesmokers, as you may have guessed, are a remarkably opinionated bunch, and often penny-pinching tightwads to boot. So imagine what their reaction is when they believe they've just bought a tin of tobacco that they will never want to smoke again.

Petulant and childish.

But also brutal and eloquent.

As the small selection of quotes below will illustrate.[All examples lifted from - a website where a number of different subscribers go on and on ad puke about tobacco. Some of them wish to educate, some to egoflate, and some to praise. Others are sheerly unreadable.]

The quotes are all about pipe-tobacco mixtures from Charles Ratray, a fine old company from Perth in Scotland, recently revived by the Germans. The name of the mixture which is reviewed heads each selection of quotes. These are actually very fine tobaccos, but they just didn't work for the reviewers. Who are of course convinced that they are right, any idea of degustibus non disputandem est be damned.

3 NOGGINS"Smoked in the evening, it is just plain boring... "
"A strong moist tobacco that burns hot and harsh."
"I found nothing positive here and for the price, this was a total disappointement. "
"It gets tiresome very soon."

7 RESERVE"If you have enough tastebuds left to enjoy a well behaved, tasty, top quality mild English blend, then pick up a tin and give it a whirl."
"Denuded of any aggression, a pleasant smoke though in the latter part of the day one searches for something a little more assertive."
"Save your money this one is a real stinker. "

"I am not sure that this tobacco or any other is just cause for vulgarity; however pipe smoking is no longer exclusively for gentlemen. "
"I can't believe Rattray would allow this to be sold with their name on it - this is a perfect example of how shit in a tin will sell with the right name on it. "
"I don't dislike it. "
"This is as dull and boring as anything you can imagine. A grey taste, with very little variations or pleasant notes. "

"The Virginia is harsh and the nicotine level stronger than one would imagine."
"Wonderful to smoke while you guzzle your dad's expensive single-malt."

"Brown Clunee, Old Gowrie and Hal O' the Wynd are morning, afternoon and evening smokes respectively - all three are delicious examples of its genre; why the darker stoved Marlin Flake pierces like a cornered porcupine ( ) is a mystery. "
"There is nothing of any great interest here."
"One of the most anonymous blends I've ever tried."

HIGHLAND TARGE"This is a decent tobacco, unquestionably better than a lot of German blends out there, but I certainly will not purchase more."
"It is difficult to tell what this blend attempts to be."
"It is bland and has virtually no character. Aren't there enough bland rip-off blends already?"

"Jock's Mixture is like drinking a light beer. I know what it is when I taste it, but when I smoke it in bunches, all it does is make me pee."
"Yet another shit in a tin blend from Rattray. After smoking Marlin Flake, HOTW and Ol Gowrie, Its hard to believe the same company puts their name on this vomitous abomination."
"Another totally insipid light English/Scottish mixture from Rattray."

"I tried it and was not pleased - nearly burnt the nose hair right out of my head."
"Variations on the theme of dullness - examples of very uninspiring tobaccos. "
"The flavor is bland to the point of boredom, absolutely monochromatic and reminding of burning paper."

"Uniquely harsh compared to any other English or Oriental mixture."
"The tin aroma had a distinctively unpleasant smoky sourness to it, and the tobacco itself was damp and greasy. "
"A very peculiar smoke"
"My German Shepherd hates the smell but loves the way it smokes."

That last one says it all, doesn't it?

I wonder if the dog also likes his dram of an evening.

And a dog is, after all, a man's best friend. Those two must have a wonderful bond.


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