About 5 or 6-years ago I wrote a blog regarding a tobacco that, despite being loaded with Syrian Latakia and other high quality leaf, somehow emitted a horrific odor even though the taste was very good. I’ve smoked some tobacco in the past that had a beautiful bouquet in the tin, and smelled extremely alluring when other people were smoking it, yet to me, tasted so bad that even duct tape couldn’t fix the flavor. Scientists call the phenomenon “chemical make-up.” Every person on the planet has a chemical make-up that is as unique as their fingerprints. That’s why some people love a particular blend that others hate. I happen to love the added flavoring that makes the old London and Murray’s era Dunhill Royal Yacht an exemplar in my book. Yet, I’ve talked to many other pipe smokers who say it is the foulest tasting tobacco that they’ve ever smoked. Shame on them!
Moving on… or, in this case, moving back; here’s the blog I wrote a few years ago where I detailed an experience I had with a tasty pipe tobacco that, for some reason, had others ducking and running for cover. Enjoy!
A Real Stinker of a Story: The only time I can ever smell the tobacco that I am smoking is while the contents are still in the tin. Once lit, I just can’t smell what I am smoking although I can taste it. And for me, the worse the tobacco smells in the tin, the better I like the blend (well, 9 times out of 10). I have, of course, smelled the burning tobacco of others. I well remember the wonderful aroma of many aromatic blends being smoked by fellow pipe smokers as well as the burnt rubber smell of still others who were smoking Latakia laden blends. But again, regarding what I am smoking, only the smell of the tobacco in the tin prior to first lighting is what I pick up.
Last night, after Thanksgiving dinner I went to my tobacco cellar to pick out something different than my usual smokes. I guess I was in an adventurous spirit. The Cowboys/Eagles NFL game was just about to come on and the family was still at the in-laws, so I was looking forward to a nice quiet smoke with only the sound of the TV and the snoring Bulldog sleeping at the foot of my easy chair breaking the silence. I looked through my stash and for some reason, chose a blend that I had bad memories of, although deep in the recesses of my mind. It was a blend made by Dan Tobacco called Gordon Pym. I knew it to be a Syrian Latakia blend, so I grabbed an old Ser Jacopo smooth Billiard that seems to smoke Latakia blends well, and headed back into the house. I sat back down in my easy chair, got out my cell phone and went to tobaccoreviews.com to re-visit what I had written about Gordon Pym way back in 2002. Here is that review from 18-years ago:
“William Serad once reviewed this blend in P&T Magazine and called the blend an exemplar. So, I quickly bought a tin and loaded a bowl. Gordon Pym was, without question, one of the foulest smelling blends I have ever put into my pipe. The Syrian Latakia was overpowering and harsh. The Orientals and Virginia were far in the background and for some reason, the Maryland leaf did little to provide strength. I will say this for Gordon Pym, if you like to watch the smoke escape from your pipe, this blend will provide plenty of it. Thick clouds of green, ghastly looking smoke with a big white cross bone X in the center!… “
After re-reading that long ago written review, I do admit that I had second thoughts about my choice of tobacco for that Thanksgiving evening. But heck, everyone and everything (except a dinner comprised of liver and onions) deserves a second chance, right? So, I popped the tin and took a look at the tightly packed, ribbon cut contents. Almost coal black due to the aging as the tin was at least 12-years old at the time. I liked the look. I then brought the tin up to my nose and took a whiff. I immediately reeled backwards with eyes starting to water and my upper lip curling back over my mustache. The putrid smell was overwhelming!
After recovering from the initial blast from the Gordon Pym contents, I sat back down in my easy chair in front of the TV and loaded up that Ser Jacopo with some trepidation. Just before lighting up my family surprised me by coming home early. Like me, they are also Dallas Cowboys fans and my wife and then 12-year old son and 6-year old grandson eagerly jumped onto the couch across from my chair to watch the game with me. There went my peace and quiet. Oh well… As we sat and talked a little, I lit up the contents of my pipe. Immediately, huge clouds of thick smoke began pouring forth from the tobacco chamber and my mouth. Gordon Pym is a cool burning blend and I puffed rapidly to get a really good fire going. Actually, that stuff was tasting a lot better than I remembered from the many years ago experience when I had smoked it fresh. So, I puffed even more and soon the living room was filled with a thick cloud of smoke.
Then, what was going to be an enjoyable evening rapidly came undone. My bulldog, sleeping by my easy chair, jumped up and headed to the back door and started pawing at it furiously, hoping someone would let her out. My wife and kids started screaming in watery eyed terror and raced down the hall to the back of the house. What the heck?
To make a long story short, I was banished to the garage where I sat all alone listening to the Cowboys/Redskins game on the radio while I smoked my pipe. It was not the best smoke I ever had, but certainly better than the game (my beloved Cowboys were hammered by those dastardly Redskins). And, before retiring for the evening, my wife made me put my clothes in a covered hamper and brush my teeth three times followed by a good gargling of Listerine (talk about awful), before she would let me in my bed.
I still have another tin of old Gordon Pym in my cellar and when the time’s right, I swear to you that I am going to take my revenge!