Review by docwrite
An Academic Delight
I've been working on my new dissertation most of the day, and smoking flake after flake, bowl after bowl of a new old friend, Peterson University Flake.
The tin I've opened is dated Feb. 2001, and the Orange and Brown Virginias have aged nicely, marrying well with the sun cured Indian, the Mahogany and Kentucky Burleys, which add full body and gives a slow, cool smoke.
A good tobacco for when one is engrossed in study, writing, and research, in my case, or for any other occupation in which one might find oneself immersed, smoking round and smooth. A fine blend of Virginia flavours, including a touch of nuttiness from the Brown, plus the slightly earthy but never muddy Mahogany, and almost imperceptible cocoa originating with the Kentucky Burley. None of these notes are loud enough to demand notice unless one is looking for them, though, providing an ethereal, but constant, pleasant, full presence and flavour, the India leaf providing a nice addition.
Rubbing out a new bowl offers one a good excuse to take a short break, necessary for retention, letting all the nebulous ideas floating around one's mind to become cohesive thoughts, as one goes through the Ritual of the Pipe, without the distraction of getting used to a new blend. One of the joys of finding an all day smoke.
The well pressed sliced cake, each flake being about right for a group 2-3 sized bowl, is a pleasure to rub out to whatever consistency one prefers. Rubbed out coarsely, with the slow burning Burley, it's perfect for outdoors, with body and taste enough to easily hold its own, not allowing the breeze to smoke it away.
I rubbed it out to a medium consistency, finding it easily packed. After the third preoccupied bowl, I was surprized at not wanting another blend. The charring light was even and tamped down nicely. I found it required a minimum of care, requiring only one tamp and relight per bowl, though it smoked slowly and completely. A very low maintenance blend. I found the fullness and round taste to be constant while indoors. I rubbed it out a bit more coarsely for a bowl going outside, and during the trip to the store, I noticed some flavour change from predominantly Virginia to a more Burley taste. I believe I only noticed the change because I was looking for it, and I think it had more to do with the coarser consistency than anything else. It still smoked long and cool in a light breeze. Very good for outdoors.
University Flake has a pleasant complexity when sitting back and enjoying it, and provides a great full bodied. smooth smoke which doesn't tug at one, demanding to be noticed, when working away at something.
A friend found, as did I, that the blend will make known its preference for one pipe over another. It seemed to like my usually VA pipes, but I noticed a blandness in a Barling used mainly for very mild English and strong VA/Perique blends.
It's a rare and happy day when, after 34 years of smoking and blending pipe tobaccos, I run across a blend I can happily smoke all day, that is interesting when ruminating, yet not distracting while working. A fine, unassuming and understated though very personable blend which grows upon one as does the ivy on the walls of Trinity College.
Hmmnn...I wonder if smoking University Flake in a Savinelli Academia could spontaneously generate 3 credits toward a degree...
For me, it's an auspicious find, one I plan on stocking up and will remain one of the blends in my 'everyday' group. I'm enjoying it right now in a Pete 'Kildare' billiard.
H. Doc Burns, PhD