Review by Cortezattic
Cool Hand Fluke: a real deal VaPer
As a blend, Cool Hand Fluke flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that Perique is strictly a condiment tobacco that just isn't used in quantities much above 5%. It was developed by John L. Patton, an inveterate corn cob smoker whose formula, calling for a whopping 40% of Perique, is deftly executed by blender Rich Gottlieb. You needn't be a devotee of the rustic cob to love this blend; it shines in any pipe. I've been periodically tapping my supply from the Mason jar where it's been aging for nearly two years. Its bouquet is slightly pungent, subtly sweet, ethereally spicy, and redolent of raisins or other sweet dark fruit. From the moment you pop the lid you will be enticed, and your taste buds will be piqued by detonating salivary glands. Strap yourself in, because you're in for a real VaPer treat!
This mix of four Virginias, mostly orange and red is my guess, is dominated by the darkly fruity and somewhat musty Perique. Well, dominated is not exactly correct: for sure it is a Perique-forward blend, but the sweet, bready, and sometimes citrus notes of the Va.'s not only stand up well, but they work with the strong flavor of Perique in a synergy not often found in the VaPer genre. If the "symphony of flavors" metaphor ever applied to a blend, it does so quite well in Cool Hand Fluke. As you would expect, the Perique is strong and in your face, and the Va.'s hang in there pumping out fruity sweetness in close harmony; but the peppery tingle for which Perique is renown is practically nonexistent. Above average nicotine strength, luxuriantly rich flavor, and exceptional body, or whole mouth feel, are wonderfully balanced -- resulting in as smooth a blend as you'll ever encounter; and maybe the "fluke" is that all this is accomplished rather unexpectedly in a 40% Perique blend. I thought it would be overwhelming, but itís not!
Cool Hand Fluke generates a great volume of tasty smoke with above average room note appeal; nicotine level is on the high side, and may require some rest past mid bowl; no gurgle or bite; the flavors are medium on sweetness and above average in the stewed fruit and somewhat musty character of Perique; it is a joy to channel the smoke stream from palate to nose and sinuses; and it has a lasting and very satisfying finish. I think this makes an excellent pick-me-up morning smoke, and a luxuriant late evening indulgence.
On the off chance that you find the Perique content too high -- and I really doubt that any VaPer lovers will think so -- one can always cut it with John Pattonís Quadruple Virginia, also available from 4noggins. Doing so would be very easy since "Quad" is simply Cool Hand Fluke without the Perique, which makes the percentages easy to control. Cool Hand Fluke takes the VaPer genre to a new level -- if not a totally unexplored territory, and I highly recommend it.
Now, if y'all will excuse me, I have to switch tabs and order another pound or two.