|50g pouch OTC
Pouch aroma:None really.
Appearance:Light tan and brown,broken well rubbed flake ribbons,quite dryish but smokeable.
Tried first in a Falcon bent with a brand new rustic Plymouth bowl;started off a bit steamy with no real taste,then tasted what i guess was a rough virginia/burley mix - it was roughish and seemed harsh - borderline bitey - and no whiskey came through either..At this point i was thinking that if you are not keen on whisky and are short of baccy;this doesn't seem to contain any real whiskey essence that was tasteable or would ghost a pipe.
I swapped to a vintage 'Airo',french aluminium stem system pipe similar to an early falcon made'alco'pipe(an ebay purchase): This produced a denser,smoother,cooler smoke;it has a narrower draught smoke tube near the bowl end which possibly works better for taming brighter baccies(Falcons work well on dark Kentucky's),but i think this 'Players Whiskey' was vexing the briar because this is a bit of a hot burner(typical of bright coloured mixtures)i thought i could taste the first stages of that 'smoking briar' taste - slightly.
For a second bowl in the Airo pipe i jacked up the bowl volume with some 'Wilson's-chalk philt pads'halfway,and loaded the top half of the bowl only,so any excess heat would be nearer the top for dissipation and easy escape,and that the freshly reamed briar beneath could collect some carbon deposit for a time before having to deal with a direct hot cherry contact.
Its the nature of system pipes when breaking in a new bowl; in certain cases the moisture condensor trap steals vital moisture that would otherwise collect in the heel of a conventional briar pipe(its just doing its job)that protects the briar from being too dry and exposed to the cherry heat where it is likely to scorch the briar.(but in a well broken in system pipe,you get no dottle,a dry smoke,and no tobacco wastage..baccy is expensive these days!)
Post pipe inspection revealed some heat vex again which could of been this session or from maybe usage in its past life(i didn't check the bowl before i used it).
Decidng that this pipe wasn't worth chancing with a baccy which wasn't suited to a fresh briar,and my own impatience to just get a good smoke without messing about,i grabed an old 'Colombo' brown bakelite system pipe with ceramic pop-in bowl(similar concept to the old 'Buttner' pipes);ceramic can take more thermodynamic punishment than a fresh briar and acts like a briar with a well built up cake already.
Packing harder this time because i am not breaking in a briar,but to keep some heat down as well and get a longer smoke duration;i am getting a better smoother smoke (less bite as well).
There is no soap factor in this blend for those that care,and this time i get a light whiskey perfume come through which is passable..Its a passable OTC at this point - i think i prefer 'Players' other 'Navy Flake'i thinks,but will give this 'Whiskey' some more chances now that i have a more sympathetic draught of pipe..
Its sweetish,sweet and dry - hayish - basic,with a slightly sweet vineous/winey tang which i am liking more,and its giving a soothing corn flour creaminess now which is healing the damage done by the first couple of abrasive trials.
This baccy joins a few others of my 'OTC' tobacco odyssey ,which since purchasing some vintage system pipes i have been able to tame quite a few lower rated hot or wet baccies into regular choice smokes..
Kind of prickly and earthy,Players Whisky leaves a mouth feel not dissimular to having had a Bells Scotch Blended Whiskey actually.The only comparable whiskey aromatics i have had so far are ,Petersons 'Irish Whiskey' which i wasn't keen on the first time but since a recent revisit,i think it has improved. Petersons is currently a more forgiving smoke but its a heavier Kentucky.
(I am conscious that i have spent most of this review talking about pipes rather than the baccy,but that is the baccy fault)
A few bowls later:Having had a few more bowls in this more sympathetic 'colombo' bakelite pipe and having tried different packing and lighting methods,i am at the point where i can give it a 2.5 stars;its better than some aromatics i have had in the past,although a tendancy to burn hot,it is dry and burns to a fine ash and doesn't leave a mess,
Some more bowls later:Initially i thought this was a once only purchase but having had it jarred for a day or two it seems to be one i keep going for..I can't leave this baccy alone,although i think most of that is because i want to solve its difficulties than because i am really enjoying it(although its alright).
Sometimes it smokes creamy smooth and othertimes a little bitey.Obviously there is some unseen dynamic atmospheric variable creeping in to my preparation method;i would like to find a pipe that ultimately solves this for me mechanically(i probably have one but am wondering if the baccy is worth it,and if i will have any baccy left after all the taste trials), but i think this baccy will have to be tamed via active human effort instead to smoke around its quirks.Its got something likeable though,but i dont really want to use a filter pipe.
I have found as well that if i dont pack it 'too' hard that it burns down cooler when not tamped into a flapjack,otherwise i gets a hot central core cake with the bowl walls taking all the core heat;backing off on my tamping the heat is more able to dissipate vertically up through the baccy.(with hot baccies packing too hard just moves the same heat elswhere,best to let the baccy suffer itself rather than the pipe,packing less densely allows a venturi vent effect).
Also it seems that lighting this with matches just enough to get it going without a full surface area cherry and letting it burn down centrally,then relighting to catch the outer and bowl wall remant later in a two stage smoke is a much cooler and gentler delivery.
Rolling on a few weeks:Having this jarred and fluffed up a bit, and allowed to breath since leaving the pouch has made this gentler again,it could also be due to the fact that this bakelite and ceramic bowled pipe has built some carbon in it that is maybe neutralizing the bite factor(this was a vintage but completely unused pipe before this test);i have had a few gentle bowls now and think it has settled into a reliable consistant and pleasant smoke..
The bright virginia delivers a light creamy custard/earthy sweet new potato factor and lemony/cider apple zest,with the light malty whisky popping in and out as a surprise support rather than a full front headliner.
Patience has paid off and its now worth 3 stars*** to me. I think its pipe sensitive and likes a tight draught pipe for smoothness and taste,and also probably needs an already broken in and well caked briar to remove bite.I havent got time to dedicate to this baccy alone because although i think its ok now,i have about 50 baccies on the go and havent got time to dedicate a briar for caking with this alone,the ceramic 'Colombo' pipe has solved that problem for me. When its good, its a mellow, easy, non-complicated smoke, good for breaks when i fancy something stronger than a roll up,it has that certain 'all day' and anytime factor which although its not my favourite smoke,i am more likely to grab this for its 'get on with it' ease.