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Old 02-11-2018, 03:01 PM   #1
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First Name: Todd
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Default 37 year progression

I am not sure if I wrote something about this before (it seems familiar in my mind), but as I cannot remember if I did or not...

I was blessed to win the January pipe lottery and so was just sitting here thinking about tobaccos that I have smoked. In so doing, I realized (not for the first time) that my tastes are nowhere near what they were when I lit my first pipe.

I remember being a student in college when I got my first pipe (a cob) and some Middleton Cherry (Fall of 1980). That was almost the end of it as it absolutely roasted my tongue. And then I ended up in a 3-week class (winterim) intensive, Second Century World Wars. The prof was a great man who used to smoke a Falcon pipe and always filled it with Borkham Riff Black (he was very content in life). He taught me how to pack a pipe and “sip” smoke it, and for that tidbit of helpful information, I am forever grateful. I was not like him though, I needed different things to tantalize my tastebuds, so I sampled all sorts of different tobaccos. For those first few years, I smoked aromatics – and I hated just the smell of anything with Latakia in the tin, much less when it was being smoked.

I kind of got tired of all the flavorings. I also enjoyed a good cigar during this time, but I smoked a pipe more often – it was simply cheaper. I never really enjoy burleys though, they just didn’t seem to do it for me. I found Latakias to be my next step. I had stated at my local shop (Iwan Ries), as I walked and smelled the different open tins/jars, that I did not know how people could enjoy Latakia blends. I was told to fill my pipe and try it. I was reluctant, but finally I did. Wow!! I could smoke a bit more aggressively, and the flavors were so much more rich and developed.

It was a gradual weaning away from aromatics as Latakia blend came more and more to predominate until I wasn’t smoking aromatics at all. I really enjoyed “English” blends (I use the term inappropriately to mean those that have Latakia in them, not simply all natural tobaccos), anything with Latakia in it was found in my pipe; Oriental/Latakia, Virginia/Latakia, VA/Oriental/Latakia, etc…

But now my interest was piqued. I did not like Orientals without any Latakia in them, and that still pretty much holds true. But I did go went on to try other tobaccos without top notes. I found Virginias need to handled with kid gloves, but if sipped appropriately the flavors are incredible – yes they are subtle, but wonderful – and all from natural tobacco w/out a top note or processing (Latakia, Cavendish, Perique).

In this experimental/transitional time, I also discovered Virginias with Perique. It is true that Perique obtains its unique flavor through a form of “processing” which helps develop a unique spicy and prune flavor. I personally do not consider it a true top note (like an applied dressing as in aromatics or from sitting in a smokehouse which is how Latakia is processed). It is that prune & spice that I really enjoy, in fact, I have been known to cut up some whole leaf Perique and smoke that straight up.

There was time from about 2003-2012 that I smoked English blends, VaPers, and Virginias. It pretty much depended on my mood. I was sometime between 2012-2014 that I notice that I did not have anything with Latakia in my rotation, and it had not been for a while.

I would say that today, I smoke more Virginas or VaPers. I have however sampled some other things, even finding a couple aromatics that I will allow in my pipes upon occasion, but they are those that I have found which are first quality Virginias with a top note done with a very light hand.

If you were to look at what tobaccos I have cellared, you would find Virginias predominate, some with Perique. You would also see a couple aromatics, and even a couple “English” blends in my cellar.

Yes, I do not mind sampling something new, I have come to appreciate what I like to call comforability, smoking what I know I will like.

I wonder how many have gone through a similar progression: aromatics, Latakia rich, Virginias. I know I am not the only one who has gone through this progression as I have spoken with others who described similar movement.
Todd__ "Smoke what you like, and enjoy it!"
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