|Reviewed By||Date||Rating||Strength||Flavoring||Taste||Room Note|
|StevieB (1776)||Mild||Extremely Mild||Mild to Medium||Very Pleasant|
J. F. Germain & Son - Virginia Goldleaf.
It isn't much of a surprise where the colour of the blend's concerned: just a bit lighter than medium brown. But what does come as more of a surprise is the cut. I'd expected a blend composed of fine ribbons, which the majority is, but there's a few bulkier broken flakes in there too. The hydration makes it ready to pipe straight from the pouch, so on we go:
There's no question from me regarding the high quality of the flavour: sharp, citrusy, and lively. The burn from G.V. is very even and steady for the whole trip, it doesn't really need much attention, at all. I couldn't detect any orange at first, and didn't really believe the description, but towards the end of my first bowl what began as a nebulous citrus taste transpired into quite a clear orange one. To be negative, it can bite a touch if I over-draw my pipe, so I puff gently.
The room-note's nice as it's pretty light, and the nicotine's mild.
This is a cracking straight Virginia:
Pipe Used: Butz Choquin Super Junior Calabash
Age When Smoked: New
Purchased From: My Smoking Shop
5 people found this review helpful.
|Reviewed By||Date||Rating||Strength||Flavoring||Taste||Room Note|
|Pryhosm (163)||Mild to Medium||Mild||Mild to Medium||Pleasant to Tolerable|
Another fantastic topped Virginia from Germain! Before I dive into this review I wanted to share my observations on the Germain blends in general. They seem to have a few "classes" of blends that they put out under their own name and under others. Like McClelland, you will know if Germain is the wizard behind the blend by their approach to the genre. They have the "straight" VA class which seems to fall into 2 types: Heavily topped (maybe cased) but called straight VA and some actual straight VA's (although one might say lightly topped/cased). For example I would say that BK Flake Brighton and Brown Flake are actual VA's with light to no topping. Then you have the sweet topped VA's like Medium Flake, Goldleaf R/R, Peacehaven, Dunbar and Dorchester. This latter group are the ones that I think I enjoy most since they are so unique that it almost exalts Germain into the stratosphere of premium blenders. The reason I say this is because the flavors that they use REALLY enhance the natural tobacco flavor without masking or polluting the tobacco with flavors that do not actually enhance the flavor of tobacco. For example, Cult Blood Red Moon to me is the pinnacle of a "tobacco" blend that is trying to make a pipe into a lollipop. That to me is not smoking pipe tobacco. Don't get me wrong, to each his own but when you are trying to make a smoke taste like candy I'd think it would be easier and more enjoyable to just eat the candy. This latter category produces some fantastic smokes in the VA family.
Just for the sake of completing my thought the other categories for Germain, and each has it'd own unique take on tobacco blend calssics, are: Oriental forward English (this can be further broken down into topped and untopped, e.g. untopped are Penzance, Margate, Special Latakia Flake, SH In Btween Mixture, Balkan Sobranie and Krumble Kake. The topped are And so to Bed, Pembroke, SH Cognac Mixture, King Charles, Plum Cake, etc. They also have an aromatic line with heavily topped and stoved blends like Kingsbridgh, Ramsgate and Blackpool. These are heavily topped tobacco's but still allow for tobacco and flavoring (lots of licorice) to compliment one another for a unique smoking experience (these for me are rare smokes and are smoked rarerly) Finally you have their Burley based blends like Stonehaven, Rich Dark Flake and Tillbury which are each unique within this class, mostly topped but I think Tillbury might be pure tobacco goodness.
My last point on the Germain blends is a bit of a complaint I have with both Germain the manufacturer and it's hoards of fans that write reviews for the blends: When something is topped or cased just admit it!! I read review after review, tin after tin and web storefront listing after listing that state that these blends are all uncased or unflavored. I do not really understand why but it seems that there seems to be a stigma associated with toppings and being the equivalent of a pipe smoking millennial, as if smoking a topped tobacco somehow soils your soul. I dont' get it and for the record, you ain't fooling anyone.
Climbing off my soap box...on with the review ( I hope someone finds the above useful or at least entertaining). Goldleaf R/R is very similar to Germain Medium Flake and Esoterica's Peacehaven. In fact I have a hard time telling the two apart in the pipe, out of the pipe I find that Peacehaven and Medium Flake are lighter in the tin note and Medium Flake is in a loose broken flake like Peachaven while Goldleaf R/R is rubbed out. The rubbing out may be the only difference between the GR/R and MF. The tin note is quite pleasing, it is light and sweet as well as slightly grassy with at hint of sour. The presentation is a golden, burnt orange in a thick ribbon that looks similar to Dunbar. Like all Germain tobacco's this one comes on the damp side and requires some dry time. Be careful here! I thought that it would need 30 min to an hour to dry and came back at the 40 minute mark and it had dried out very fast, almost to the point of too dry. However as the odd man out I don't think tobacco can be "too dry" so I packed it with a crinkle and some crunching. This had no effect on how it burned or tasted but I have since dropped dry time to 15 minutes for a briar, less for cobs and Meerschaum's. This will burn with few relights if you are paying attention. The flavor is really, really nice. Germain always uses top shelf leaf and this is no exception. I cannot really tease out one VA from another but the description says that it is made up of Gold Leaf VA...I am not sure if that is one leaf or a variety of bright Virginia's and I would not bet my life on the actual make up but I think I detect some Red Virginia as well as the brights. There is an earthy undertone to the smoke that I normally attribute to Red VA so I think it is there and it gives a nice foundation for this otherwise sweet and light smoke. The first flavors I get are citrus, and light, fresh dry hay. The topping is at least partly orange or orange essence. I would almost say that this is infused with Campari or Aperol as the hint of orange is there in the tin note and the smoke but it is NOT like some nasty artificial or even natural syrupy orange. It is an essence and it really boosts the tobacco flavor as opposed to masking it. The flavor is consistent throughout the bowl and the smoke is pretty one dimensional, but that is what I like and want when I smoke this. This is really good stuff and worth a try if you like Virginia pipe tobacco.
Pipe Used: Briar's, meerschaum and cobs
Similar Blends: Germain Medium Flake.
1 person found this review helpful.