James Fox Provost Mixture

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.


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


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

Average Rating

3.33 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 24 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 11, 2011 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant
A nicely done Virginia/Cavendish blend that takes on traditional English undertones with the smokiness of the toasted Cavendish that would cause some folks to think the blend contained Latakia. The Virginia leaf reeks of quality and the strength and taste is palate pleasing to this cowboy.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 15, 2013 Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant
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.

The tin note is a pot-pourri of the sweet cavendish, the malty virginias and a ghosting of latakia leather, the smokiness being certainly detectable but by no means dominant: beside a tin of Nightcap, for example, Provost almost smells like an aromatic. The room note is similarly rich yet understated, neither cloying nor overpowering.

It tastes simply delicious in the bowl, opening with quite organic sweetness mellowed by the latakia with the latakia, over time, growing more assertive, yet only ever encircling the blend, warming and 'thickening' the other flavours. The latakia doesn't so much push aside the cavendish and virginia as smooth them down and present them on velvet gloves.

I have not encountered a blend quite like it. It works both as a breakfast smoke with a mug of strong tea or as a dessert to a good dinner. It should please both the smoker of full Englishes looking for a softer, milder, yet hardly less skilfull expression of latakia, and the smoker of VAs and aromatics interested in trying something more complex that's not as daunting as the likes of Nightcap (which, incidentally, I also love).

Provost Mixture is a must-smoke.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 06, 2007 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
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 (ordered yesterday from Fox's St.James shop, and delivered this morning with a hand-written receipt,four pipefuls of the mix smoked so far)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.I should add that there is absolutely no 'bite', even at the end of the smoke. I had my first three pipefuls of this mixture without cleaning my pipe at any stage, and even by the end of the third pipeful there was still no bite - if there was any Latakia in this mix, I would surely have got some 'bite.'

The mix seems an absolute 50/50 of Cavendish and Virginia. The Virginia is a dark gold, and whatever type of black Cavendish we have here, it is not too sweet. There is nothing cloying about this mix. There is a rich, full aroma from the smoke, and my only complaint is that it doesn't linger long enough! Surprisingly, it seems to mostly clear from the room fairly quickly, like a quiet aristocrat whose company you have very much enjoyed but who modestly declines to impose his presence on you.

I will update this in future days, but my initial impressions are very favourable indeed: an outstanding smoke, a real pleasure, and it must surely be as good a candidate as any for that elusive 'staple' mix which one feels one should always have near to hand. It would be an insult to give this anything less than four stars.

Update: following day: I noted last night that, although most of the aroma seems to dissipate rather quickly, as noted above, there is an underlying pleasant raisiny aroma which lingers faintly for much longer than most tobaccos; in fact it was detectable throughout the night and into this morning.

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, in the sense that this mix is utterly unlike James Baker's Sunday's Fantasy, which is undeniably a straight 50/50 mix of Cavendish and Virginia. But it can be seen that the two tobaccos in the latter mix are very different in the way they have been processed - that's evident from sight alone.

Today, the woody and leathery elements in the aroma, mentioned by others, have started to come more to the fore. I am even more impressed by the richness of this tobacco experience. One starts to have more than an inkling, one starts to have an impression of what was in the mind of Madden when he came up with this mix - his consciousness comes through to one, just as the consciousness of a writer transmits itself to one's own consciousness through the medium of his words. The richness and complexity about this mix, including an undoubted element of mystery, which others have touched on, is starting to impress itself quite deeply on day two. Madden was a true connoisseur,with a knowledge of tobacco which one can't begin to aspire to.

Doubtless, the Provost of Trinity Dublin was a Classics scholar, as Classics was the leading academic discipline of the time. I am beginning to feel as if I can magically conjugate amiable Greek verbs, despite having not the slightest knowledge of that noble ancient language.

Update: having now finished my second tin, and having also smoked a couple of pouches of UK High Street proprietaries, a tin of Dorisco and of Bankers in the meantime, I can state that Provost is without doubt going to be my staple of choice for the foreseeable future. I just don't want a day to pass without my experiencing the raisin sweetness and the mellowness of this marvellous mixture.

I would also like to reiterate that I have never experienced the slightest 'bite' from this mixture.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 03, 2017 Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
A very nice smoke that has some interesting flavors. The Virginias have a nice hit of sweet hay and a light spice that fits in very well with the Black Cav that has just a bare hint of vanilla and what taste to me like an orange citrus flavoring. The BC also adds a nice toasty note in the second half. It's nice and smooth and has a decent strength to it. A great blend.

Medium in body. Mild to medium in flavor. Flavoring is very mild. Burns very well.
Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: fresh
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 02, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Fox's Provost Mixture has been in production for over 100 years. This is the same blend that was first created for Trinity College...i forget the blender's name. It is a storied blend that is very old school and this unsweetened Cavendish and Virginia type is not as popular as it was sixty years ago. In fact when I first started smoking a pipe I knew older pipe men who loved the non sweet cavendish blends (McClellends Navy Cav is another example and JF Germain has one I believe). This kind of smoke has fallen out of popularity for some reason. I cant figure out why exactly. I love it. I really find the earthy toasty and yeasty Cavendish very addictive. The nic hit is moderate but certainly NOT mild. If anyone thinks this stuff is mild Id like to know what they consider strong. Now...its not strong, to be clear. Its medium. The taste is about medium too. Fox is blended by K&K now I think. But they are pretty scrupulous in keeping to the original ...as with other labels they now blend. This is the only Fox blend i smoke...the only one that really reflects the original. Its a very different sort of smoke for some newer smokers. But it will habituate you if you let it. There is no cigarette taste.....whoever says that is wrong. its high quality leaf, too. Give it a try.
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 30, 2002 Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable
I definitely agree with the esteemed P.Tatum as to the misleading description of this tobacco. There is nothing sweet about the toasted Black Cavendish used in this blend, to the extent that one can easily think of it as a Latakia of sorts?But it isn?t. The only other blends I have found that use this particular type of Cavendish are Larsen?s Selected Blend N° 20, and Two Friends? Redwood. And yes, this tobacco can easily compete, in strength and richness of flavour, with Dunhill?s My Mixture 965 (take away the Latakia), or Elizabethan Mixture (substitute the Perique with the toasted Black Cavendish). It?s that good.

Provost is a wonderful, natural tasting, sober and almost religiously austere smoke. The initial harshness that seizes the palate upon lighting gradually subsides, evolving into a full bodied Virginian flavour that only gets better as you progress through the bowl. By the second half, and especially towards the end, the whole blend acquires symphonic proportions, with the Virginias expressing a full blown maturity emphasised and underlined by the rich, dark, earthy undertone of the Black Cavendish.

Better than sweet,and within the austere limitations noted, this blend can be opulent, intense and palatably nutty. The Virginias are treated and processed in a completely different vein from those used in, say, Light Flake. They are bolder, almost aggressive, with quite a vigorous density. The Cavendish provides a deep, roasted touch that fires up a splendid steamy and woodsy texture. Not a cool smoke (the tobacco is quite moist in the tin and airing is highly recommended), it lends itself as an excellent autumn/winter smoke, and as an alternative to any Latakia mixture. Not as pungent nor diverse in flavours, it nevertheless provides enough punch and body to satisfy a well seasoned palate. Great stuff!
2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 15, 2012 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Oh what an enigma this blend is! When you look at the tin description it says American style black cavendish. Immediately I think aromatic sweet. Then I open the tin and smell....Oh my, no aromatic sweet, now I am thinking of a dark latakia laden english blend. Then I put flame to leaf. At this point I dont know what the hell to think. It is not anything like an aromatic. Although the tin note is an english, this is nothing like an enlglish blend. OK, I GIVE UP. I just like it. Whatever the hell this blen is I like it.

It seems a little moist a first, but I think that is the nature of this blend. Drying didn't seem to help much. This one tastes great, and is very very unique. a nice dark flavor that pairs nicely with coffee.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 18, 2011 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Provost is one of those gems that seems to fly under the radar of the pipe world. Made with high quality leaf that arrives a bit too moist. This English blend, like Presbyterian, can have be mistaken for having Latakia however it has none. My tins have a couple of years on them so there may some additional sweetness to an already slightly sweet smokey blend. Provost is rich in flavor and while not a powerhouse, it's not whimpy either. The mix of Virginia's is masterful and the Cavendish is used very smartly, not any easy thing to do in an English blend, but Provost nails it. The hefty dose of quality Virginia's should make this a great blend for aging too. Highly Recommended!
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 07, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Full Very Pleasant
The only word to describe this tobacco is "delicious"! It's like smoking a slice of a very high-quality Christmas cake. The Cavendish is the overriding flavour but the sweetness of the Cavendish is brilliantly toned down by the excellent Virginias to a perfect level. You get the occasional smokey touch, reminiscent of Latakia and it smokes out completely. Absolutely no bite. Wonderful!
Pipe Used: Homemade ash, homemade blackthorn
PurchasedFrom: Gem, Tralee, Co Kerry.
Age When Smoked: New tin, no date
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 27, 2017 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
James Fox - Provost Mixture

Never mind the hokey tin descriptive posted at the top. It was obviously written by an uninformed marketing type. I'll tell you the truth about Provost Mixture:

This is the best pipe tobacco ever made, bar none. Smoking it will cause your wallet to swell, your IQ to double, the calendar to roll back at least ten years on your wife, and your kids to do all the housework. And that's all I got to say about that.

Now that's what the tin descriptive should've said!
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