When you ask people what their favorite holiday’s are, you basically know that their answer is going to come from a very short list of popular celebratory days such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter.
However, pipe smokers have a different favorite holiday. February 20th.
This day, my esteemed colleagues, is International Pipe Smoking Day. The best day to go out to your local smoke shop, hang out with your pipe smoking club or close friends, and just spend a couple of hours telling tales of pipe smoking and reminiscing old memories. The celebration of Feb. 20th is what pipe smoking is all about.
Luckily, I got to spend the afternoon with someone who is quite famous in the pipe community: Erik Stokkebye from Comoy’s of London and 4th Generation Tobacconist.
I got into conversation with Erik, and after getting to know each other fairly well, I asked him the inevitable question: “which one of your tobacco’s is your favorite”?
It may be unfair to ask someone in his position that question, but nonetheless he answered. Along with 2 other blends, Erik told me that he loved the Cask #2 Portwood (henceforth #2). So I went home with a couple of #2 tins and lit up my pipe.
What I found was perhaps one of the best aromatic tobacco’s I have ever smoked.
One thing I definitely like about this tobacco is that it comes in a 100 gram (3.5 oz) tin. Some people do not like the larger tins, I on the other hand really appreciate them. The larger amount of tobacco simply means a cheaper price per oz.
As a side note, it took me quite awhile to smoke my tin. I really commend the “paint can” lid technique used by Comoy’s. It keeps my tobacco moisture level as close to exact as possible.
The tin note of this blend is quite enchanting. There are obvious traces of Port wine which substantially increase the richness of the aroma while not at all making it unpleasant. Underneath that are very glaring hints of chocolate. If wine and chocolate are not enough to get you excited, then I am not sure you can be excited at all!
The blend seemed to be an even amount of Burley, mixed Virginia’s, and Cavendish, all ribbon cut.
Moisture level of this blend was on point, making it a pleasure to pack and to light.
This is one of the best and unique aromatic smokes I have ever had.
When lighting up, the strong chocolate note seems to dissipate and make room for the vanilla flavor that has been added to the casing. The other flavor I picked up on was simply the port, but it was not straight port; it was more of an earthy port that had been mixed with a light mushroom.
Most of the time vanilla flavoring is accompanied by a syrupy flavor that can turn sour in the stem after a few minutes, BUT #2 showed absolutely no hint of that whatsoever. Clean smoke.
Usually vanilla aromatics smoke light and leave substantial tongue bite, but once again #2 broke the mold. #2 smoked and had the feel of a non-aromatic Dark Fired Kentucky blend, while tasting and smelling like an aromatic. The tedious care in which it was made seemed to completely rid the blend of tongue bite. I failed to have bite a single time, and I am personally prone to bite when I smoke Virginia tobaccos.
The room note of this blend is no real surprise.
The note leaves strong traces of chocolate and port.
The note is extremely pleasant. There is no room here for any accusation of this blend smelling unpleasant. #2 is superb.
I believe in this case, that pairing your tobacco with like flavored food/drink is the best option.
I suggest having this blend with some form of chocolate. Personally, I love chocolate pudding and I found that it enhances the flavor of #2. Dairy, a primary ingredient in chocolate pudding, is always a good option when smoking, for it cools and relaxes the palate (much like it soothes a burning mouth when eating spicy food).
This blend seems to trick the smoker. While the blend is not overpowering and does not deserve a high strength rating, it seems more full flavored than it actually is.
#2 is a medium mild blend.
Because this blend is so intriguing on the palate, I recommend this for an aromatic smoker who wants to begin smoking fuller blends, but thus far has found them too harsh. This blend will ease you into it and almost trick you into appreciating fuller flavors.
There is no chance I am going to give this blend a low score.
I fell in love with it. This is one of those blends exquisitely made that you will remember.
I give this blend an 8 out of 10.
This blend may have very well taken its place at the top of my favorite aromatics list.
Picture’s courtesy of Comoy’s of London, Tobacco Reviews, and Edinburgh Pipe Club.