Saturday, February 6, 2010

Man check

Before we get to the important business covered at today's meeting, we have one bit of little business to get to: Who manned up and smoked Mixture No. 79?

Yes, I smoked it. We all knew that was going to happen. And I was joined in my act of daring by Frank (pictured) and Allam. This group represented barely a quarter of those gathered. (Honorable mention goes to Neil, who arrived after the meeting, couldn't stay to smoke the nasty stuff there, but took a sample home that he actually seemed excited to smoke.)
Nine people put their tails between their legs and covered their bowls rather than live life on the edge and smoke the 79.
The stuff isn't as bad as it's been billed. Really, it's not. It's better than people give it credit for, but that's nothing to be proud about either. I lit the bowl way too easily. For a blend that disastrous, you wouldn't want it to come easy too. I wanted to struggle through the bowl, fighting to keep relighting the bowl and fighting to force myself to keep smoking it. Sadly, it smokes rather easily.
But an easy smoke is not substitution for a good smoke, and this is no good smoke. The pouch reeks (in the worst sense of the word) of black licorice. Even a bag of black licorice isn't as strong as the aroma in the pouch. But the pouch aroma, thankfully and mercifully, fails to carry though into the bowl. Upon lighting, the licorice is replaced with the distinct aroma of a heavy, flowery perfume. It's right there in the bowl, as if someone took one of those old-fashioned perfume bottles (the ones with the long hose and rubber pump) and spritzed it all over the tobacco. At least, I hope it was all over the tobacco, because the tobacco's gone. If it was all over the bowl, I may have to retire that pipe, and I like that pipe.
The perfume, as it turns out, is a necessity for this tobacco. It really helps the blend. Because the base tobacco is apparently cardboard. At it's heart, Mixture No. 79's flavor is a combination of stale wood, construction paper and a childhood's worth of arts and crafts.
This is a tobacco that goes in phases. The above was the first phase. Halfway down the bowl, the tobacco briefly turned sour. it was probably sour already, but for a minute or so, it got much worse. Maybe I was smoking it too fast, but it's not possibly to reach the bottom of this blend too quickly.
After the sourness, I lost all flavor through the bottom of the bowl. That's right, absolutely no flavor. I've gotten more from a Marlboro Ultra Light, back when they were still allowed to call them that.
Honestly, it wasn't a terrible smoke. It was the worst I've had so far, but I'm sure it can easily be beaten. It could have been much worse. But does that mean I'll smoke it again? Not unless someone's life depends on it.
Of course this doesn't mean everyone shares my thoughts on No. 79. Apparently a lot of people smoke it, since Frank immediately recognized the aroma as the same one permeating some of the estate pipes he has for sale.

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