A Stroll Through Old Dublin
This Peterson blend was intended for a newly acquired Mr.
Brog #14 Churchwarden, my first hardwood pipe, and was to be the platform upon
which I would learn the finer points of pipe smoking. My long experience with
cigars - preferentially being with Davidoff - influenced its purchase; the
savory notes promised by the tin sounded as if they would play to this
experience well. Alas, this was not to be the case. Those formative experience
with OD were, quite simply awful. These initial involvements were marked by the
wrong pipe, the wrong habits, and a self-fulfilling attitude of frustration at
not "getting it" immediately.
OD was carefully
jarred away for another, more auspicious, day. Time went on, aromatics took
center stage, and I learned how to be a better patron of the pipe.
OD's time came again a week or so ago. I was growing quite
exasperated at the combination of a new pipe and my standby McB Navy Flake. The
smoke was terrible, the pipe gurgling as I struggled to endure the terrible
flavors billowing forth. Agitation, annoyance, frustration! All the emotions
meant to be relaxed away by the pipe were in their full, unfortunate force.
Crying surrender, I gave up, dumped the gloopy mess of un-smoked flake, and benched
the new pipe on the rack. The time was right and I was in the mood for
A Second Chance at
Reaching for the trusty Savinelli, a decision presented
itself: What tobacco to choose? The previous nightmare had ruined my appetite
for another aromatic, so I bent down to search through the small collection of
tobaccos on hand. There was OD, quiet, unassuming, and half-forgotten in the
back of the shelf. "Why not?" I thought. After all, the advice, oft
repeated, on PM was to give tobaccos multiple chances - trying different pipes,
fill-methods, etc. before one writes off a tobacco. So, leaning in, I grabbed
the jar of OD.
I quickly noticed the time in the jar had done OD a service.
It was drier (I hadn't realized how wet it'd been in my early attempts - mostly
because I was still learning to recognize it), and the notes of its smell had
grown sweeter. A touch of spice was now detectible, instead of the intense
aroma of Latakia. These welcome aromas filled my nose as I filled the pipe,
using the standard three-step method.
Pleasant. Inviting. Good. These were the words to describe
the following experience. I was meeting OD for really the first time, and we
were enjoying each other's company.
The Tastes and Smells of a Stroll Through Old Dublin
I like OD. Smoking a bowl is like taking a trip or a
journey. When I light it up now, the smoke offers a progression of different
sensations as it progresses down the bowl to ashes.
The 1st third of
bowl is a delight of a rich Oriental aroma, highlighted by whiffs of Latakia
spiciness. It's an ideal appetizer of savory smoke dancing across the tongue,
bringing the mouth to salivate and anticipate the next course. This part of the
smoke is why I pick the jar of OD. When the mood strikes, the notes of Latakia
are what I envision and savor tasting in the charring light.
The second third
of the bowl is typically surprising - even though I know its coming. Here the
taste of Latakia begins to fade into a supporting role, bolstering a growing
interplay between the Virginia and Sweet orientals. Maple and Vanilla, while
subtle, are very much at the forefront. The character of this part of the bowl
is such a departure from the first third that stumbling into it is always a
delight - and the sublime surprise of OD - and typically induces an utterance
of, "I love OD."
The final third
bring two highlights. First, the sweetness of the orientals has considerably
reduced and the Latakia is gone completely. Instead, the Virginias are center
stage, providing that warm, honest smoke that only they can. Second, at least
in my own experience, this is the stage that vitamin "N" makes itself
known, a gentile hand guiding me along the final part of my stroll. During this
part of the bowl, I just lean back and enjoy everything life can offer, calm is
This is the character of my strolls through Old Dublin every
The Moral of the
Again I like OD. It's complex, it's subtle, and every smoke
is a stroll through those characteristics. Latakia is used well here. While not
center stage, it's used brilliantly as a spice and I'm glad this was my first
English (well Irish ) blend.
I don't think I would recommend it to the average pipe novice, as it may be a
bit too complex and subtle for those who don't really know what they're doing -
as it certainly was in my sake. But, as an introduction to English
Pipe smoking is a cavalcade of new experiences, and (to me
at least) holds the promise of a land of endless new tobaccos. Yet, whatever
happens, OD will always have a special place in my heart - and pipe.