James Fox Provost Mixture

(3.32)
A sweet American cavendish tobacco which gives fullness and body has been mellowed by the addition of choice bright Virginias to give a cool and satisfying blend.

Details

Brand James Fox
Blended By Kohlhase & Kopp
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Cavendish Based
Contents Cavendish, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 50 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.32 / 4
24

18

8

0

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 18 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 05, 2012 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
UPDATE 4/5/15

After reading below that the blender states there is a touch of latakia here, and after finishing up another tin recently and finding none, I sent my 3rd tin to a somewhat-known blender for dissection and to see if he could duplicate it. He actually did a pretty fair job! When I asked what the percentage of latakia was, he said "Zero. They didn't use any so naturally I didn't either". He did say he got a whiff of it, as I did, upon opening the tin, but dissection and smoking revealed no latakia, and the whiff disappeared quickly. When I asked how the semi-spicy flavor was obtained, he didn't know how Fox did it but he knows how he did... but not telling. 🙂 Anyway, interesting blend. A few years of aging elevates this to 3.5 stars... and unfortunately, although the blender was able to dupe it pretty well, the dupe is more expensive than the original! Careful what you wish for... but at least he solved the "latakia/no latakia" debate. Perhaps the "touch" was just that... Fox touched latakia and then blended this tobacco. 🙂

ORIGINAL REVIEW

Interesting one. About an even mix of black and tan and a rush of mustiness to the nose once opened, which may be why some smokers find this to contain latakia. Letting the tobacco breathe for a few minutes and, of course, smoking it, should dispel any thoughts of latakia here. I'm not sure how some smokers can completely miss the latakia in blends like Presbyterian and Red Rap, yet find it included here. Obviously latakia sensitivity is more subjective than I think.

As I said, this one is interesting. Just a batch of bright virginias mixed with a toasted cavendish, and yet a perceived oriental presence. I taste a bit of incense-like flavor and this blend has a fair bit of complexity. It even has some cigarette-like quality when overpuffed. There's even a scent of some exotic-but-light middle eastern leaf. This seems spicier than it should be, based on the actual components, so I'm not sure how they accomplish this unless they use some African VA's. The flavor itself is light but assertive, and it reminds me of McClellands Black Shag in that regard, as well their Royal Cajun series. This tobacco is better than 3 stars but the high cost brings my recommendation down a bit. Try this if you want something decidedly different and interesting.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 05, 2022 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
After reading the reviews and all the discussion about what is or is not in this blend, I decided to give it a try. While others may disagree, here are my two cents. The manufacturer states this is a blend of Virginia and black Cavendish. I trust what they say, I see no good reason a manufacturer would include a tobacco and not list it as an ingredient. Upon opening the the tin I see ribbons of black, medium brown and lighter brown tobacco. The tin note is a tangy citrus with some mild sweetness and smoke. The blend packs well and is easy to light. The taste strikes me as much like the smell. There is a pleasant citrus tang, with some mild sweetness. Towards the end of the bowl I do get hints of smoke flavor but it too is very mild. I think the confusion comes in when we forget the blenders are artist. Two wine makers can take the same grape and come up with very different wines. One like refreshing crisp apples, the other like buttery oak and melons. The blender is much the same. Many claim this must have latakia, others swear by Orientals. This is a nod to the skill of the blender. Just because some exotic meat is described as tasting like chicken, it's still not a chicken. This produces a full yet dry tasting smoke. I enjoyed it and could see it serving as an all day smoke. If you are looking for a straightforward tobacco that taste good without all the bells and whistles this is it. It will make my rotation when I am looking for that kind of smoke.
Pipe Used: Brebbia
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: 1 month
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 02, 2016 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I found very interesting DK’s review and the survey he did the last year but… I’m not convinced. Opening the tin (I bought my tin in Dublin) you can perceive a slight smell of Latakia and even letting the tobacco breathe for a long time the outcome doesn’t change. The smell endures. And then smoking. With a slow or quick cadence I always taste latakia, in the nose, in the tongue and in the mouth. A really delicate flavor (mouth and nose) of Latakia and I’m sure that this is not unflavored Cavendish and this is not toasted Cavendish. So I think there is Latakia: 1%, 2%, 3%? I don’t know, but something called Latakia is present here. Ultimately, if you are a Latakia lover this is not for you (not enough Latakia); if you are a Cavendish lover the Cavendish is unflavored and it has not a prominent role; if you are a Virginia lover you can perceive a great quality but not a real Virginia taste and for these reasons only two stars. But if you are looking for something different and above all something with a skillful balance and an harmonic composition in this case the score is four stars. In my personal system rating (from 1 to 10) my score is 8 and three stars.
PurchasedFrom: James Fox Cigar & Whiskey Store in Dublin
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 25, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
This is my first tobacco based non-aromatic cavendish, its smell in a can is not anything different from an English tobacco even to open Tin thought was another blend English by its smell and appearance but reading the description does not contain own Englishmen Latakia, is a tobacco smoking soft and does not produce you burn on the tongue , the note in the room is tolerable as it has fallen leaves burned, its flavor is intense but it is not bitter which makes it very nice, it gives you a good hint of nicotine which makes you to have a pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable smoke.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 17, 2015 Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant
I will be up front here. I like this blend just because. I have no real reason. I holds no great taste. Never makes me want to jump up for more. Nothing like it at all. Generic at best. But for me it fits like a well worn pair of shoes. I have a lot of tins of this and I always go back to it every time. It lights so well. Smokes every so good and I can be happy with it for at least an hour. It is cheap. Smokes well. Remains in my rotation until I can no longer find it.
Pipe Used: Dunhill, Peterson, Savinelli, Comoy
PurchasedFrom: London England
Age When Smoked: Tin - 2 years plus
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2015 Mild Mild Mild Pleasant to Tolerable
Black-and-tan ribbon with a notable smokiness to it (I can see how people might think there's latakia in this) as well as chocolate, cherries, prunes.

Takes a light well and burns very steadily/evenly/cleanly.

I find it a bit sharp and monodimensional through the first half of the bowl. Not a lot going on besides an interesting soapiness and some mild tongue bite. If you can stick with it, it does open up nicely through the last 2/3rds to half of the bowl.

Doesn't blow my socks off, and I don't find it all that intriguing (I'd much rather fire up a bowl of Rich Virginia Ribbon, for example), but it's still an enjoyable smoke.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 12, 2013 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant
This blend is quite the hybrid. It's tastes/flavours lean towards an english but there is no latakia nor oriental in the mix. I've been cellaring this since 2002 and it just keeps getting better. I think the trick is to get it out of the can and into a sealed mason jar. It has a very suttle flavour that demands a slow puff. A fine smoke.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 16, 2012 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Provost is no aromatic. I expect most Cavendish to be vanilla flavored, so I was expecting a sweet smoke, as stated on the tin description. Nope, this blend is not sweet. It's not smokey, either, though I don't doubt that a shot of Latakia would make this a more interesting smoke (I've tried that and it works perfectly).

The confusion surrounding the inclusion of Latakia (similar to Presbyterian) is understandable. In the tin, this is a dark mixture, with black leaf approaching well over fifty percent. It looks very much like an English blend, until you light it up and note the very neutral, non offensive nature of the smoke. Provost has a spiciness to it, and yet the description makes no mention of Oriental leaf. I recently opened up a tin of McConnell's "Oriental," and I find that the two have similar profiles in taste, strength, and looks. That blend is also quite dark in the tin, with a limited expression of Latakia.

As it is, Provost is rather boring and indistinct. I wouldn't quite go with medium on this, it's a little milder, to my tastes. The roomnote is quite nice, it has that toasted marshmallow scent that one often associates with aromatics like Captain Black. There's just not enough here to keep me coming back for more, and as I work my way through the last few bowls of my tin, I've grown fatigued. I have this feeling, like there's a quarter tin of Lemon Meringue pie left in the fridge, and I have to finish it off. It's not my favorite, or worst flavor, I'm simply averse, but looking at the thing sitting in the fridge annoys me.

A note on the tin art...

I loved the original packaging of Provost, and looked forward to the wonderful, bright reddish/orange tones of the Fox label. Some pay no attention to packaging, but I admit, I am more compelled to buy a blend that looks beautiful on the outside. My tin arrived with a generic white label and green print. There was a nasty sticker attached to the bottom, which I promptly removed, to absolute horror upon what it revealed--an anti smoking blurb common to the European market (where it was manufactured) that somehow destroyed the allure. I grabbed an old Sharpie and gave it coat after coat, which served no purpose in ending the madness of these anti tobacco forces. I'd like to grab that Sharpie and write nasty warning phrases on their foreheads. So I plopped the contents into a mason jar and tossed the tin. Oh well.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 29, 2024 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
James Fox
Provost

Blend notes: “A sweet American cavendish tobacco which gives fullness and body has been mellowed by the addition of choice bright Virginias to give a cool and satisfying blend.”

Now THIS is an interesting blend of tobacco!

Provost has … Cavendish and Virginia. Apparently, that’s it. And the Cavendish is the ‘English’ type, which means, it is the Cavendish process applied to Virginia leaf. So, we have, Virginia and Cavendish (process) Virginia.

As of late May, 2024, there were 49 reviews on TobaccoReviews and a composite score of 3.33 out of 4. In my view, anything exceeding 3.25 is pretty darn good, especially as the review count goes up.

After my few words, I will include comments from some of the reviewers om TR. If you can handle this you will understand some of the confusion regarding Provost.

On my palate, I get a medium to strong full straight Virginia taste profile. The difference is that the Cavendish here (the English kind that brings the ‘cavendish’ process to Virginia leaf, not Burley) gives up a bit of smokiness, almost like a dark-fired Kentucky, and ‘almost as if’ there is Latakia here, which I doubt is the case. Though you would not be alone in believing there is Latakia from the tin note.

I think Provost is a 3.5 star blend out of 4.

Other Reviewers Comments:

In 2011, Pipestud said “A sweet American cavendish tobacco which gives fullness and body has been mellowed by the addition of choice bright Virginias to give a cool and satisfying blend.”

In 2015, an Emeritus Account said, “After reading below that the blender states there is a touch of latakia here, and after finishing up another tin recently and finding none, I sent my 3rd tin to a somewhat-known blender for dissection and to see if he could duplicate it. He actually did a pretty fair job! When I asked what the percentage of latakia was, he said "Zero. They didn't use any so naturally I didn't either". He did say he got a whiff of it, as I did, upon opening the tin, but dissection and smoking revealed no latakia, and the whiff disappeared quickly. When I asked how the semi-spicy flavor was obtained, he didn't know how Fox did it but he knows how he did... but not telling.”

This person also said, “Just a batch of bright virginias mixed with a toasted cavendish, and yet a perceived oriental presence. I taste a bit of incense-like flavor and this blend has a fair bit of complexity. It even has some cigarette-like quality when overpuffed. There's even a scent of some exotic-but-light middle eastern leaf. This seems spicier than it should be, based on the actual components, so I'm not sure how they accomplish this unless they use some African VA's.”

In 2003, Eulenburg said, “American Cavendish implies cased, caked burley. But there is no burley in this mix, and certainly no casing. This might contain English Cavendish (pressed Virginia, steamed) which could account for its mild taste and lack of bite.”

In 2015 Jiminks said, “The Virginias are a little citrusy and grassy with a touch of earth. There’s a little spice which I think comes from either a bright Va., or a honey-like topping ala MacBaren Va. #1, but without the bite. The toasted cavendish is slightly earthy and mildly sweet. There is a mild smokiness and floral woodiness that I associate with Orientals, but I don’t believe they are in here.” — I would add, his review is untypically befuzzled. Is befuzzled a word? He gave it a lowball score of 2.5 stars rounded down.

In 2013, dryseason91 said, “Having contacted James Fox directly I can confirm that Provost contains a 'touch' of latakia but not enough for it to be classified as a full English. (Like many here, I had assumed that the suggestion of latakia was actually a characteristic of the toasted cavendish; but to me this is testament to how well the latakia is integrated with the other leaves.) I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion about what's really in here. I think this uncertainty is intrinsic to the mixture and one of the reasons why I rate it so highly: being a mellow, sweet VaCav with that extra muscle from the latakia it quietly eludes categorisation, and this subtle, tasteful contrariness translates beautifully to the smoke.” — Is this to be believed?

In 2007, Contemplative said, “This tobacco was specially blended in the 1870s for the Provost of Trinity College Dublin by legendary blender James Madden. Given that start, and the fact that the same mixture has been on sale for over 130 years now, you might reasonably expect this to be something of an aristocrat among pipe tobaccos. In my short experience of this mixture, you will not be disappointed if you have such an expectation. Upon opening the tin I was hit by a heady, full-bodied aroma of raisin and rum. My initial impression, on smoking the first pipeful, was exactly that: a delightful raisiny-rum flavour, which burned with almost indolent slowness and a very satisfactory evenness, right down to the ash - I don't think I've ever smoked anything that went as slowly and evenly. Further pipefuls made me realise better the pleasant and authoritative Virginia fullness in the mix. I'm not usually a great fan of Virginia, but in this mix one can properly appreciate the qualities of that tobacco. I must say that I don't detect the Latakia that others have mentioned, and there's no reason why Fox shouldn't mention Latakia if it is in the mix. They only mention Cavendish and Virginia.”

Contemplative, in the same review, also said, “Yes, there are woody and spicy elements in this mixture which make one think there must be some oriental involvement - but so far I am convinced that they come from the Virginia, or rather its particular reaction with the Cavendish. Very odd ….”
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 03, 2021 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant
I obtained three tins of this blend, Provost Mixture by James J. Fox,, in a 2017 "thin-down" buy out of another pipe smoker. Two tins were older, 2002 and 2007, and one tin was dated 7/9/14; the tin I opened for smoking and reviewing. I promised to open a tin of this blend in my "Similar to" section of my review of Drew Estate Luxury Flake, as both are Cavendish/Virginia blends of current or recent production. After a normal tin opening I found a ribbon-cut blend of relatively dark overall color. Though sealed in a normal appearance, the tobacco inside was surprisingly dry and ready to smoke. Now comes the contested part; lighting this blend up and tasting it. Some feel that there is a Latakia component, some feel that there is a Perique component and some feel that there is a Burley component. I don't. My tin sniff test detected something that was stoved , but nothing smoky. That would be the Cavendish coming through two different Virginias. This blend is much simpler than it is reputed to be and smokes in a no-nonsense manner. The stoved Cavendish and the Virginias play well together and provided me with an above average smoke in that huge category of non-English blends that I have been trying so hard to catch up on after a life of English blend living. On the other hand, I found it to smoke a little inconsistently down each bowl with pleasurable runs of richness punctuated by lesser areas. This was a characteristic of this blend from pipe to pipe. As to the comparison with Luxury Flake, well, there really isn't that much. Provost is much darker in color, more heavily stoved and smokes with a lower register than Luxury Flake. I liked them both about the same and gave each three stars.
Pipe Used: Ashton LX Brindle Dublin
PurchasedFrom: an Ebay seller
Age When Smoked: tin purchased 7/9/14
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