|^^ - well? ;i hate to be cruel and i almost thought why waste time explaining an unfavourable baccy?,,i feel sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind though...
This was probably the second example of pipe tobacco i purchased when my initial jarred aromatic which i purchased with my first pipe(a peterson bent apple rustic 303)was consummed..
Anyway my written memories combined with afterthoughts:
Packet:50g gold foil pouch
Aroma sweet honey virginia - like when you take your watch off on a hot summers day and sniff your wrist,,,slightly honeycombish.
Taste:Mild but sickly - chemical undertones ala artificial sweetener,,,chemically fortified impression of poor pale tobacco which perhaps has not been cured properly - it gave me a head ache,,;"lemon squeezy" dish washer liquid,,,steamy very hot burner,,big white clouds like a steam engine,,,"johnsons baby shampoo" in the mouth taste,,,and a glycerine taste.
Consistancy:Wet and due to chemical moisturiser agent within it possibly,,it seems to stay so..
Pedestrian comments:None really ,,,except from others i know in the pub who had smoked it in the past and i will mention their oppinions as well..
Room Note:Acceptable,sociable,rich sweet honeyish - the room note is better than the smoke - nicer if someone else is smoking it(a useful incence perhaps)
Tongue bite?:HUGE!;even a peterson lip on my pipe doesn't divert this enough! - a weekend on this and you will taste it till thursday - this is not an exageration -comments from others with experience who have smoked this tend to say the same thing ;- it totally kills your tongue and you will develope a dead spot whereby you can feel your food but you won't beable to taste it,,,all you can say is what shape your food is(alphabetti spagetti becomes the only interesting food)
Worth the money?:That depends entirely on what you want out of a smoke;this is still a popular or stocked over the counter blend. look; you can do a lot better than put this in your pipe;its popularity is down to one reason;lack of imagination to search for anything better or;brits are tight fisted and buy the cheapest shit that burns in a cheap pipe..The difference 50p sterling makes in the quality of other tobacco's that you can purchase(and even a tin you can keep afterwards)makes this a desparado purchase.
Comparison with other blends:"StBruno" is closest i can think off - i prefer this to StBruno and that is saying something!(update i now like st bruno ha ha)
Aftertaste: Pff! if you have got any taste buds left! This actually burns but you do recover eventually if you let it heal..
Reasons for purchse:Ignorance,,,seen it as a kid and i suppose i wanted to be grown up as well - call it delayed nostalgia - i had to try it..
Smoking performance:HOT - VERY HOT! burner - i had to puff to keep it going against its moisture level otherwise its relight after relight;consequently something you do for relaxation turns into hyperactivity and a lot of white smoke/steam - it will not smoulder,its all or nothing like a 2 stroke engine.
Buy it again?:I did once when i was desparate but it was a smaller packet,,,never again;i was even a bit wiser this time because i had been smoking other brands and i had developed my technique and handling better;this still bit like a ferret too easily to be a friend..
Type of pipe used: It was my "peterson bent apple rustic medium 303",,my only pipe at the time and it has a moisture trap system but;this baccy carries so much moisture it was like smoking a bong "gurgles",,and at one point i got a proper mouth full of shit liquid gunk which i spat out immediately and forthwith tipped this uncompromising shit out of my pipe ;-it was a total waste of time.
Tobacco type:Aromatic maybe- it has a chemical sweet lemon grass taste meets barley sugar sweets,,,but it has a chemical soft metal metallic-ness underneath like strong cigarettes that makes your eyes sting and clothes stink..
This was my second experiment with pipe smoking and you don't know you have smoked crap until you have tried better.
Texture of tobacco:golden pale yellowy brown - needs rubbing out a bit to free it into a smokable condition(like you do on most tobacco,,this is my earliest review)slightly sticky,lick your hands..(?)
Consistancy:Stayed consistant from beginning of opening to end(a sod)
Mental images evoked:Youth i suppose,as i can remember the smells of pipe smokers of the 1970's who are possibly all 6ft under by now,,(don't see as many pipesters these days and it seems to be dying visually) Grease,john travoltra,olivia newtron bomb,the smurfs,raleigh choppers,bazooka joes,eval knieval,nostalgia etc
Season:remind me of summer due to its musty grassy mowed lawn in the mower bucket smell,,,also it was the time of season that i first smoked this.
Complimentary food or drink:Hubba bubba bubble gum to shift the flavour or fruit polo sweets,,,ice pops to sooth my tongue or bailey's irish creme liqueur,as this has a neutraliser effect on tobacco acids or whatever that causes tongue bite..
Seriously:When i smoked this i was an ameteur and had no idea what i was doing yet,and what tobacco smoke was supposed to do in my mouth;i have more experience now and i give all my tobaccos a good thermodynamic punishment to see what they are made off to gauge their performance; and so i know that it was probably 20% my bad technique and 80% gold block being crap..
This actually burnt the skin off the roof of my mouth,which wrinkled up,blistered and peeled raw,then grew back all soft and smooth - was this a bad packet or standard?..Speaking to another hardcore old smoker in the pub said that it was a bastard but he liked it but had to walk away from it sometimes because it was a bastard..
(UPDATE 20/03/12) Recently i have gone on a small OTC tobacco odyssey to revisit and make friends with a few old enemies and some newbies which i overlooked 1st time round,which either burned my mouth out,kicked my ass or scorched my briar when i was a novice. This new curiosity comes from a few years experience of different tobacco types and their pyrodynamic properties combined with different pipe design thermodynamics.
For about 8 months i have been on a serious pipe buying binge(ebay)and surrounded myself with an array of vintage metal and nylon system pipes(i really like how these perform). These new aquisitions have replaced my old clays which were initially a solution to my discontent with briar and kept me interested in pipe tobacco tasting because of their low maintenance and easy cleaning(on the fire or boiling water)
Having new pipes with varying bowls,stems,varing draught hole diameters,materials and gimmicks has reopened up a few closed doors and thrown the book wide open again on what i previously considered unsmokable crap(its been a good trip i might add).
Gold block was for me the most volatile tobacco i had ever attempted to get any pleasure from,my previous review is no exageration and i won't take any of it back.
Fact:Gold block burns hot and wants to burn hot no matter what pipe you put it in.
Tried it first in a falcon international bent filter pipe which although i got the best smoke i had got out of it yet(which was still a bit spikey and bitey(trying to break in a freshly reamed bowl as well),it was scorching the briar.
2nd; tried it in a "the pipe" pyrolytic graphite liner jobby which can handle space to earth re-entry temperature on rocket nose cones;it handled the heat but the wetness was more than the venturi effect could cope with.
3rd; meeting halfway after a few recent combination experiments with simular baccies brought me to a theoretical solution:Narrow tall small bowl and a tight draught smoke tube(3mm/1/8") with the baccy packed 'hard'.
I am now using an alco universal narrow gauge smooth spool bowl with meerschaum liner and now getting a cooler mild utilitarian basic smoke with smoothness and no bite(hurrah!)albeit with a hot bowl still.
I wanted to like this baccy first time round because you see it everywhere in the UK,and even for its bastard nature it had in good moments a unique sweet simplicity which no other baccy i have tried immitates. I am not sure i totally understand its popularity given its traits,but it must have something golden within which pipesters are willing to persevere for.
Gold block depending what you are smoking it in, possibly has an alkaline factor after burning which may of caused my tongue bite the first time round.Adding some mixing perique to this could turn that property around and i may experiment with what that may achieve being this is the most volatile virginia i know of,it might with the right perique amount become the supreme extreme VaPer?I will later try mixing with St Bruno as well to produce that"50/50 ogdens salesman rep mixture"
This goes well with a shot of gordons dry london gin i might add,it seems to have a neutraliser effect.But its really working well in this pipe and so i am not sure i want to mess with it. (update 26/03/12 ,half a pouch later)
If you stick with it it grows on you! It now makes even my other basic smokes seem over complex?:Maybe its because the meerschaum lined bowl has some Gold block carbon on it which is helping to neutralise the alkaline bite or the tight draught produces a denser smoke which gives a different internal reaction before it reaches my mouth?
Anyway^^it now has an addictive sherbert citric acid sourness with a slight sucrose sweet limey or white grape essence and the mouth feel is like a lighter weight St Bruno. The perseverance and experimentation has paid off and instead of blaming the baccies,i am now inclined to question the pipes themselves which i think have had a lot to awnser for in the past. I cannot believe i am liking this so much,it is doing waht i wanted it to do first time round and is giving me all of that momentary sweetspot i would get from it in my early endevours. A consistant mild grassy sweet and sour,slightly bitter hayish honeysweet fruityness. On lighting up i get a dryish burning wine cork,after tamping an oaky burning/smouldering green grass,followed by a lemon grass as it settles down,beansprouts,lychee,sometimes a pvc car seats in a vintage car on a sunny day bitterness(likable for the memories of my mums old hillman superminx :¬)and the sweetish honeysuckle and limey grape aromatic overtones.
Knowing what i can get out of it i can easily give it three stars now even if it would only give most people a two or a one;what you get out of it depends entireley on what pipe you smoke it in and how well broken in your pipe is. It may not be what it once was,but i never smoked the original incarnation,but i can get it to taste how i wanted it to taste which is good enough.Persevere and see what happens. I will definately be getting more for its sour juicyness. UPDATE 30/04/12 It really goes to show how pipe sensitive some baccies are and how an at first seemingly horrible smoke can turn into a 4star smoke in the right pipe.Experiments with different pipes has paid off and in a 'Ronson 3 way'this stuff is nectar.Gold block needs a pipe with a tight draught tube,small exaust hole in the bowl(moisture trap system pipe)to reduce the back draught chimney effect which would otherwise aid fast burning. It burned cool and tasted like a can of pineapple and grapefruit lilt with no tannin-esque bitterness whatsoever. I got to give it four stars now because it is consistantly delivering the best of its sweetspot and no bite. Seriously; anybody with an old vintage ronson 3 way laying about should try gold block in it,i have just bough a few more pouches because it is a great alldayer in the right pipe.