Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Long ago there used to be colognes and hair tonics for men that had slightly odd scents. You would go into a barbershop where some ancient hair cutter worked, and there would be the row of dusty brown glass bottles with names like Johnson's Skin Restorative, Old Ole's Head Rub, or Shine Revival For Gentlemen.
Usually they ponged of leather, mint, and gun oil .... with a top dressing of gardenias or lilac.

Sometimes you still run across such products in out-of-the-way drugstores. When you do, buy them. By all means, buy them. Nothing keeps your female relations from trying to set you up with women you wouldn't be caught dead dating better than the knowledge that you have frightening potions in your medicine cabinet.
Their reputations as matchmakers do not need any further damage. Having a nephew whose personal aroma is best described as 'undertaker's assistant' will get them permanently delisted by their peers.

Such is the delightful aroma of a tobacco I recently purchased.
Boruch Hashem I am already taken, and my female relatives know it.

Made in England by Gawith Hoggarth & Co Ltd.

Virginias, burley, and sun-cured tobaccos with flavors of almond, vanilla and various fruits.

[Gawith Hoggarth's best selling flake. ]

What on earth possessed me?!? This product almost defies description. Not that it is bad, or unsmokeable, but good lord WHY do the English like pressed flakes with such a heavy dose of Lakeland funk?
In a word, this smells exactly like blue cake.

[Note: Blue cake is the nickname of the disc of cheap deodorizing disinfectant in urinals, especially in the seedier bars. Female readers would probably not know that.

It is strong, so that it can compete with its environment.]

Ennerdale flake smokes cool and clean with no bite; the underlying tobacco is indeed quite decent.
The perfume that Gawith Hoggarth sprayed on or steamed in, however, is ............ baffling.
No single aromatic element predominates, and apparently both rose oil and licorice qualify as "various fruits" in the nomenclature of the esteemed firm. This is a very traditional soapy type of Virginia compound, much like the darkly rancid pressed crapleaf favoured by frequenters of corner news-stands or neighborhood whorehouses. One can imagine a juvenile runaway dousing herself with this before she goes out to waggle a thigh at drunken businessmen.
It is very very English.
Or 'Continental'.

[It is most emphatically NOT suitable as a tobacco for any young ladies among my readers - your parents would suspect you of depravity and turpitude if they smelled this upon you. And rightly so. Please smoke a nice clean flake instead.]

Both as far as tobacco and for added aroma it is in the same category as Condor. But not as strong. It is vaguely reminiscent of certain Dutch products -- Sail Regular comes to mind, though there is less air-cured leaf and far more badly bathed old barmaid.
There is naught to recommend it.


That said, I shall definitely finish the tin. And request that the tobacconist order more of it.
It has a certain beguiling, not to say 'addictive' quality.
Though smoking this proves me an pervert, I find Ennerdale flake exceedingly amusing.

I should be careful not to smoke this odoriferous bastard on weekends, as Savage Kitten might look at me askance.
Besides wondering at my sanity and whether I'm seeing some skank on the sly.
Under no circumstances do I dare light this up at the Occidental.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should tour the barely open country stores of the Shawanagunk Mountains, or similar elsewhere. The type where grandma and grandpa live in back on Social Security, and the dusty canned stock sits there until its sold or everyone's death I suppose. In fact, even here, there's one closed on Francisco/Cornell, where it looks like they locked the door behind them 40 years ago, walked away, and that was that. Odd,eh?

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