After falling heavily for the other blend in this series - the VA/OR - I was delighted to find an old tin of this, its lineage tracing back about 15 years. I understand that G. Smith & Sons is no longer in business but their demise was fairly recent, so tins of these blends may surface from time to time. This blend was not a broken flake as it's listed here, but a fully rubbed version. After 15 years, this one becomes almost totally black in color with a tin aroma of dark fruit.
In the bowl, this behaves admirably, as it's a medium strength blend with excellent flavor. It is more tangy than sweet, it's sweetness being more like a cashew nut than a plum, but also leans toward the fig and raisin side. No real high notes, but this covers the lower end magnificently, which is where I find most of my favorite VA's. I couldn't determine if this was topped - I assume it was, but I couldn't make out the flavor. It just tasted dark and luxurious to me, with the flavors mentioned above. Not as much of a tastebud zinger as the regular Old London was (I'd love to get my hands on more of that!) but it's still a solid 4 star blend. I got the impression that this is what happens to SG FVF or BBF when they get 15 years of age on them, but sadly my stash of those are not that old. Something to look forward to, for certain! Highly recommend this one as an excellent example of a straight virginia tobacco. If you find some, buy it. It'll trade nicely if you don't like it. But you will.
Kudos! The G. Smith & Sons range is an excellent example of the utmost craftmanship in pipe tobaccos, and perhaps one of the last truly English manufacturing houses. Thanks for including this blend in tobaccoreviews.
Together with Astely's 44, Hal O' the Wynd, the older version of Dunhill's Light Flake, and Bjarne's Luxury Flake, I would say this is one of the best Vriginia tobaccos ever made. It has that tangy sweetness from the natural sugar of the leaf, at times with a dry raisin undertone and at times with a roasted chestnut denouement. It also shares a common trait with top quality, well processed and truly matured Vriginias: no tongue bite! I kind of suspect this is what Dunhill tried to achieve--and failed--with their Three Year Mature blend.
Medium in strength, easy to pack, easy to light, and with a lovely burning rate, this Virginia is truly luxurious . It's a shame its so difficult to find even in England! It is produced under the name of a famous tobacco shop in London, and belongs to a range of "Old London...." varieties (including a Latakia mixture, an English Cavendish blend, and other excellent products). This is what pipe smoking is all about!
If found, make a not of it. An excellent Virginia. Highly recommended.
I have not tried the newer version but the original sure played sweetly in my pipes. This old world all Virginia leaf is very dark and bold with a bottom note toward the end of the bowl that is to die for. I can understand why it is so coveted by the long-time smokers who remember the quality of the Virginia in this one. Smoke it slowly to savor each puff.
Tantric?s review aroused my interest, and I was fortunate enough to secure a 50g tin of OLV through an exchange with a great guy via the Smokers Forums. The tin art sports a nineteenth century carriage with a pair of rearing draft horses and a scroll bearing the tobacco?s name, my kind of tin. The tobacco?s appearance is loose cut in very dark shades of brown and put me in mind of fully rubbed out Full Va. Flake, Marlin or Wessex Brigade Dark. To me, in the tin it has no defining aroma, but after having been opened and airing in a sealed, bail top, preserving jar for a time, the tobacco develops the scent of raisins. It came in good condition for immediate smoking, but could benefit from a little drying. I was unable to resist opening it and am about half way through the tin. It is smooth and flavorful right from the initial match. This tobacco possesses the deep, rich Virginia flavor I am looking for. It has no flavoring additives, but I am guessing it has a light, neutral sweetener added, just enough to enhance the Va. flavor. There is no hint of bite. It has a strong, straight Va. flavor all the way from start to finish. It delivers plenty of nicotine and a dandy tang. You will need to be a tobacco lover to enjoy the after taste because it is pronounced and enduring. Oddly, this reminds me of Royal Yacht without the flavoring. I understand this tobacco is difficult to obtain, but I want to keep it on hand even if it requires going to some lengths to do so. Fours stars, and highly recommended to the straight Va. lover. Paddy. P.S. It is exceptionally good with a jar of Guinness or an English bitter.
I recently reviewed Samuel Gawith's Full Virginia Flake and said it's probably my favourite Virginia blend. But then a couple of days ago I found a small jar of Old London 100% Virginia at the back of my drawer. It's been there about a year since I bought it in London. I must've forgotten it and put it away.
Opening the jar provides a lovely rich smell of sweet dried fruit. I packed it into a pipe and from the first puff the quality of the blend is obvious. It's full flavoured but smooth as silk and as I smoke down the bowl the flavour becomes rounder and sweeter.
I have to say I actually prefer this to Samuel Gawith's FVF, which until now has been the best Virginia blend I've tried. I'll be ordering some more immediately and this is going to be a regular smoke from now on.
judging from the previeous reviews, i may not have recieved the right tobacco. what i got was a predominantly virginia blend, with perhaps a bit of burley added. but first of all it reminded me very much of royal yacht, including the pronounced chocolate-berryish flavouring. now, i do like royal yacht, but i was expecting a 100% virginia blend, and this one certainly isn't.
This is an excellent Virginia tobacco. It comes from G. Smiths & Sons, London, and it is very difficult to find ouitside England (and for that matter, even outside London). IMHO it is far better than Peterson's Sherlock Holmes, and it rivals both with Dunhill's Light Flake and Rattray's Marlin Flake(though this one is ready rubbed).
The tin aroma is spicy and enticing. It packs easily into any pipe, and it burns smoothly, vrtually with no tongue bite. If could get it more often (there is not much choice of good tobaccos in Mexico), I would smoke it all day long. As it is, I have to look after the few tins I get now and then from McGahey , the tobacconist, in Exeter.
Highly recommended for all VA smokers. Great stuff!
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