Trial by Fire : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

Trial by Fire


by Tad Gage and Bobby Fabian

Were reviewing exciting newer blends this round, including entries from Cult (Scandinavian Tobacco Group), the reintroduction of the classic Bengal Slices, new 4th Generation offerings from Erik Stokkebye and a jewel of a red Virginia from Cornell & Diehl. With all the talk about what Food and Drug Administration regulation might (or might not) do to new tobaccos, it seemed a good chance to review some classics from Ogden’s (brought back to life by Sutliff/Mac Baren) and Fribourg & Treyer, a name that has been around longer than any regulator or any of us. — Tad Gage


Stokkebye 4th Generation 1957

Gage: Another recent introduction to    the 4th Generation lineup, 1957 celebrates blender Erik Michael  Stokkebye’s  birthdate  (just a year from mine). A short ribbon-cut Burley and bright Virginia blend, spiked with vanilla, generates sweet smoke and an appealing room aroma. Without any Cavendish, the mixture leaned  toward  flavors  of  fruit  preserves, orange peel and almonds with an  undercurrent  of  raisins.  I  loved the clear sweetness delivered by the Virginia leaf. Intriguingly complex, the  mixture  offered  up  light  flavors of cantaloupe, cinnamon and almond milk as smoking progressed. Excellent base tobaccos drove the flavors of this light aromatic, making this a fine choice for those who enjoy flavored leaf but want to enjoy real tobacco flavor.

Fabian: This blend seems to follow a very similar approach to 1897, in form and function. However, I found 1957 to be a much more even, subdued blend. The tin note is predominantly vanilla, though a very slight hint of berries or figs is present in the background. Once dried,  lit  and  burning,  1957  retains a good deal of the vanilla sweetness present, though at a very nice, subdued level.  The Burleys  dominate  most  of the flavor, with a nice richness consisting of roasted nuts and a hint of earth developing the bulk of this blend. The Virginias  and  vanilla  casing  float  on top of the Burley base, adding a light pick-me-up in the form of a citrus zest, with the vanilla adding a slight creaminess that wouldn’t otherwise be present in this blend. I found 1957 to pair well with a mild cider (hard or not), with the fruit and spice introduced by the cider mingling with the depth of body and creaminess of the casing into a lovely finish.

cult-abacusCult Abacus
Gage: Burleys, Virginia and black Cavendish combine for an easy- lighting,  smooth-smoking aromatic where the vanilla flavor  comes  through  but  does  not overpower the base tobaccos. Abacus offers a pleasing Captain Black aromatic vibe with a good dose of Virginia flavor and sweetness that shines through. Easy to smoke to the bottom of the bowl without goop, it’s a nice vanilla aromatic that stands out in the very crowded field of vanilla aromatics.

Fabian: Like the other Cult offerings in this batch, this blend is a bit on the wet side in the tin. The tin note did more to remind me of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate treat than anything else—very strong notes of cocoa, with what seems to be a decent helping of hazelnut. After allowing the blend to dry a bit, I found that the notes still remained. Upon packing and lighting, this blend retains a good portion of its flavoring, though I did find it to be a bit on the sharper side in regard to tongue bite. The Burley and Cavendish present in Abacus make a wonderful support for the cocoa and hazelnut flavors, while the Virginia helps to brighten up the overall product. I found this tobacco to pair very well with a decent vanilla porter; the darker  beer’s  base  grains  supplement the hazelnut topping, while the vanilla flavoring does the cocoa present in this blend a huge favor by cutting down a bit on the depth and bringing out the topping, making it more akin to a rich milk chocolate bar.

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Category: Fall 2016, Trial by Fire

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