James Fox Provost Mixture

(3.33)
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

3.33 / 4
24

17

8

0

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 49 Reviews
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
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
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.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2003 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Well, I don't know. (I bet you thought you would never hear me say that !)

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. Yet the tin calls it a "Full Mixture", and several persons, including Mr William Serad and other knowledgeable and esteemed connoisseurs, have compared this to the potent DUNHILL My Mixture 965! My reaction on reading that was to exclaim, HUH?

The English [mostly the Irish, now] take great pride in the things they can do to Virginia tobacco, without resorting to flavourings, to change and adapt its taste by affecting the sugar content through pressure and temperature. The combination of unflavoured Cavendish, red (mildly stoved) and mahoganny (more so) Virginias give this blend the sec, mildly astringent flavour of a medium-weight Balkan blend, with the darker leaf suggesting some of the smokiness of Latakia. (There is no actual Latakia here.) The result is pleasant, but slightly bland.

For my taste buds, this does not resemble DUNHILL's 965 in any way, shape or form. It tastes, if anything, like a blander, lighter version of FOX's great Dorisco blend, a favourite of mine for its pungent, mouth-puckering zest, and delicious and intensely apt application of Périque.

This blend does not bite. I smoked it quickly and impatiently, in a large Don Carlos calabash, an immense Castello oom-paul, an old Charatan Supreme with decades of latakia burnt into it and even my fake albatross-bone Butz-Choquin The Thing. It never hurt me. It is perhaps this forgiving nature that made me find it boring.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 08, 2015 Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
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. It could be the way the tobaccos are prepared, but I have tasted bright Virginia that has some floral and spice notes, so I suspect they come from that. Has a mild nic-hit. Burns at a decent rate, but a little warm, so it needs to be puffed at a slow or moderate pace. I got some cigarette notes when I puffed beyond that. Leaves very little moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. More of a two and a half star smoke.

-JimInks
6 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.
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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.
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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
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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
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2016 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
James Fox - Provost Mixture.

I ordered this in loose pouch form so I don't know about a tins moisture but this is good. Although it says it's in ribbon form, my pouch's contents look to be a lot closer to a coarse cut/mixture; I can see a selection of ribbons, both chunky and slim with there also being a few pieces of broken flake in there. It looks as though it contains quite an equal amount of each of the tobaccos. The aroma from the pouch offers only a tobacco note, it doesn't appear to have any casings or toppings included.

On to the actual smoking now: It lights up easily, exactly as I expected from the moisture content. I find the flavour a little perplexing; normally, blends that are heavy with Cavendish can taste sludgy and thick but this has a slight citrus/lemon freshness to it which makes it taste more sprightly than clumsy.

Sadly, this gives me a bit of a kick with tongue bite. This is one of the main reasons for it getting a 'not so positive' score. But as we all differ with that from blend to blend it could just be me!

This has quite a large amount of nicotine. It's not got a huge quantity but it does air more towards strong than medium.

This has a good flavour and gives a good burn. If it weren't for the bite I would rate it higher!

Two stars.
Pipe Used: Rattrays The Cave
PurchasedFrom: James Fox
Age When Smoked: New
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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!
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