hr...@my-deja.com wrote:It seems that many dedicated Virginia flake smokers have happened onto
> In article <37498C59.4...@ix.netcom.com>,
> After following this thread for a few days, I decided to give it a try,
> Next came Three Nuns, which I have tried several times, and was
this technique and it's good to hear to hear that it has helped you gain
access to the wonder of some exquisite tobaccos. Spread the Word!
Virginias are the sneakiest and most mercurial of tobaccos, so much so
that many pipe-smoking primers advised smokers NOT to smoke them! Ah! the
Extracting maximum enjoyment from them does require some dedication and
if not treated right, they can seem to fall flat: being either tart and
sting-y, or flavorless. But with the correct technique, they bloom!
The other wonderful aspect to the 'delayed-gratification technique' (DGT)
is that it allows exploration of the true flavors of some of the
'lighter' flakes, which incorporate a good deal of bright virginia. Now
bright virginia has the reputation of being the worst offender in terms
of sting and flatness, but it is also true that it has the most complex
and delicate of virginia flavors and aromas: getting them to reveal
themselves is the problem.
I, like many smokers, either passed them by (favoring the darker, red and
black virginia-based flakes, and those laced with perique) or smoked them
in very rich-flavored pipes in order to raise the flavor level. The DG
technique allows the gentler, but no less satisfying flavors of these
'light' flakes to come through in all their deliciousness, richness,
sublety and complexity. It also seems to maximize the aroma the burning
tobacco produces that rises from the bowl (not the smoke, but what I call
'the nose.': it underlies and envelops the smoke).
Another technique is to smoke only 1/2 to 2/3 bowls. I came across this
by accident, when because of profligate pipe-buying, it seemed like every
pipe I smoked was being broken-in. The smaller charge allows an often
welcome shortening of the smoking time (sometimes 2-2 1/2 hours is just
too long) while still maintaining the classic crescendo/climax of the
tobacco: you just get there sooner!
Once in the climactic 'zone' the technique of 'breath smoking' comes into
play as a means of maximizing the flavor and aroma. This involves slow
and regular respiration (preferably seated and relaxed) through one's
nose, while taking only the slightest, slowest of puffs of smoke with
one's lips, to which the pipe is held constantly. Occasionally the smoke
can be released into the pipe very gently, raising just the faintest wisp
of smoke from the bowl. The 'nose' of that wisp is heavenly!
Flake smoking also seems to benefit from smaller pipes - the intimacy and
control just seem to synergize. It's also the reason why so many UK pipes
are so small: you don't need a big honker of a pipe to get a long smoke.
2 1/2 hour smokes are possible from small half-filled Peterson bulldogs
and Group 2 and 3 Dunhills. Since the US is so size-obsessed, buying the
smaller, lower-priced pipes can be a real bargain.
Finally, there is the problem of taste acclimatization. Many smokers of
very robust, very obvious flavored tobaccos (English and aromatic alike)
sometimes find Virginia flakes too 'light' or flavor-less. McClelland
used to recommend that smoking up to 4 oz. of flake Virginia was
necessary to allow the palate to adjust to the more subtle and gentler
flavors. Once adjusted to, and smoked correctly, they don't seem light at
The coming of summer and its associated desire for lighter flavors in
food and tobacco is a great time for smoking straight virginia. I've just
ordered 9 new (to me) flake virginias and scored 3 Savinelli Capri/Sea
Coral/Coralo pipes along with 2 Ardors: it's going to be a good summer..
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