|Like the old faithful mastiff with a keg of brandy around its neck, DTM's St Bernard Flake brings comfort to the pipester in the cold. Due to the stupid legislation, most of my smoking takes place among the fresh winds of the external atmosphere. During the cold portion of the year (appx. nine months) the subtleties of Va flakes get wasted and something with more strength is to be preferred. Here we have a tobacco that actually benefits from being smoked outside in the freezing breeze. Of course this applies to many a VaPer out there, but rarely in this price range.
The 7x3 cm light and medium brown flakes came packed in a 9 cm round tin of the cheap type DTM uses for several other of their own mixtures, e.g. Hamborger Veermaster. After opening, the low quality threading does not allow the tin to be closed tight. This is the single drawback I can find with this tobacco. The smell is intense, of rotten hay und das Sauerkraut, ripe tobacco. There are no fruity notes. Moisture level is perfect.
The folding method is not for me but I assume the flake will behave that way as well as slightly rubbed, which I prefer. At ignition there is the typical punch in the nose from the generous portion of Perique. The sharp VaPer taste has a fine rural nuance, that of cattle dung to be exact. Towards the end of the medium strength bowl the dry Virginia taste takes over. Usually there is little need for relighting or other tampering with the pipe during the St Bernard pass.
St Bernard flake does not quite push McClelland Beacon or SG St James down from the VaPer podium but Dunhill DLNR at a third higher price is one tobacco that will definitely have to watch out. The sturdy St Bernard delivers quality that you wouldn't expect at the medium price range. Will order more soon.
|I got this blend about a month ago as part of a package from Dan Tobacco. Given the usually rather dry tobaccos I normally get from DT, this was a bit of a surprise.
A nasty one, at first: this flake was actually wet enough to drip when I took a bit of it in my hand and pressed it. Now, I do realize that any tobacco blend is somewhat different from tin to tin, but how could any tobacco be _this_ wet?!? So, for my first impression, this one went down the drain from the start.
St. Bernard is the first tobacco I have ever experienced that reached me in a state impossible to light. After a day or so of drying out, I found a somewhat broken flake in a medium-wide cut. I endeavoured to rub out a bit and stuff it in one of my VA/Per pipes, and the experience was just horrible. Condensation was uncontrolleable, one third down all I could taste was tar, and my pipe was on the brink of glowing cherry red.
I won't give up that easily, though. I tried this blend throughout the next few weeks, as it kept drying down to normal moisture levels, and a few more pipefuls were discarded prematurely, because when overly moist, this blend does come up with a rather noticeable note of tar, especially when smoked outside.
Inside, once dried down enough, this blend is quite palatable; much more dark in taste and aroma that most VA/Pers I have thus far experienced (maybe it will brighten up a little with more drying out? --I'll let you know); the taste does not go to pure tar until the final puffs, and there are notes of dark chocolate, some gentle green pepper and lots of sweetness. The room note is OK, but nothing to write home about, and I still need several re-lights to get to the bottom of the bowl.
I've tried this 'baccy in all sorts of bowls, usually more than once as it dried out (unusually, I'm leaving the tin open so I can hopefully enjoy its content later this year...). It shows promise, but at this time, I much prefer the likes of C&D Exhausted Rooster or Bayou Morning fresh from the tin.
-- update, 09-08-18 -- My tin has finally dried down to what I am used to from the moister flakes. The end of the smoke is still pretty nasty, though the first three quarters aren't really bad.
-- update, 11-10-30 -- after another visit to Dan Tobacco's facilities I became convinced that the two tins I had based my review on were out of the norm. I tried the St. Bernard from the sample jar, and it was quite good, so I bought another tin. Quite acceptable; yes, moist, but not even near the levels Sam Gawith get away with. The smoke is quite good, and so I stand converted; this is really a good blend. Recommended!
|a "deep" tin aroma. quite a bit of perique, with its sour/sweet notes.
dark brown flake cut with lighter and even yellow streaks. packs and lights easily.
this is a fine tobacco indeed, with a very "clean" taste. the virginia is only semi sweet and with deep flavours akin to the fine lakeland virginias; it also makes me think of the kind of virginia used for will's medium capstan. or is it rather a bit like the ancient cut blended plug? medium/medium-strong. the perique gives it the typical stoved fruit taste and flavour. it burns slowly, as will all quality flakes, and it dgt's beautifully. i will certainly get hold of a lot more of this, for smoking as well as for aging.
a bonus is the kinda old fashioned tin; the same size, i think, as cope's escudo. very charming
ps: i should add that in spite of the fine flavours, it could probably do with a couple of months more in the tin, as there's a kind of rough edge to it. a bit of aging will no doubt even out that edge.