Published: 13 August 2013
Category: Tobacco Jar
I've laid out some of my favorite Va's in the two previous articles and just thought I'd tack on a little addendum. Sometimes tobaccos that make a big first impression lose their luster after you've acquired more intimacy with them, and sometimes tobaccos you've always liked just keep getting better and better in your esteem.
I still think the Samuel Gawith trilogy of MVF/BBF/FVF is worthy of a lot of weight in any Va lover's cellar. During the warmer months MVF definitely becomes my favorite of the three. It's as fine a golden Va as is made, and if you love Va flakes just ignore all the reviews that call this one bland. It is not bland if you have a palate for straight Va's. BBF is finicky but never bad, and when your palate syncs with it I think it's the finest Va on the planet. FVF is more forgiving and I find it to be a Va that I can smoke during the cold months moreso than the lighter flakes.
The McClelland stuff is great, but I have a love hate relationship with it. My esteem for Rich Virginia Ribbon and Royal Cajun Ebony has diminished somewhat. No. 24 is always good and perhaps the best thing they produce for my tastes.
Fribourg & Treyer Cut Virginia Plug
is just magical. Initially I was reluctant to really go after it, because I have quite a lot of Dan Hamborger Veermaster and Dunhill Flake in the cellar, and they're basically the same tobacco as interpreted by three different blenders. The F&T is vastly superior. It has a delicacy the others don't, but at the same time there is a richness and quality to the leaf that just sings. It is very likely that Cut Virginia Plug is my desert island tobacco and I think I need to shuffle some weight around in my cellar to adjust for how much I like it. Right now I think I have enough to smoke two tins a year til my projected demise, and that doesn't feel like enough.
Butera Golden Cake revisited
This McClelland tobacco is made for the Butera line and has no equivalent McClelland tinned tobacco. This stuff is great. Flavor-wise it has more backbone than most McClelland Va's. It's sweet, never gets bitter, and has a high tobacco satisfaction quotient. A way above average golden Va. I like it almost as much as MVF, but still have to give the nod to the Gawith product. Very faint honey casing, and it does not distract or detract from what a good tobacco this is. Burns hot if you push it.
Technically this is a VaPer, but there's so little perique here you could easily miss it. I've been smoking this one a lot lately, and like Golden Cake it's not quite MVF material, but it's damn good all the same. Dry like most Dan tobaccos or similar to Cornell & Diehl for those with no Dan experience. This tobacco is a golden Va flake with a faint chocolate casing. Most will miss it, it's not obvious. Just a sweet, mild golden Va from Dan, and I think it's their best Va, better than Hamborger Veermaster.
Capstan Original (Blue) Flake
This is a new tobacco for me, and this iteration is a new tobacco for all of us. Made by MacBaren, it's a Va flake that is indistinguishable in appearance from the flakes produced by K&K or Orlik. This tobacco is on its way to becoming one of my favorites. A mild, mellow Va flake with no citrus, honey or anything else that isn't tobacco flavored. Mild is not a derogatory term or an accusation here. This is mild in the best possible way. A mellow Va flake that smells and tastes like wheat toast and remains consistent throughout the bowl. Non-flake smokers will find this wimpy, but if you're a Va lover, you, like me, may become really excited when you smoke your first tin of this. This is by far the best tobacco produced by MacBaren I've ever smoked, and I think any blender would be proud to have this in their catalog. The best description I can give of this one is Astleys No. 44 Lite, and I mean that in a flattering way. If my opinion of this one holds up after a couple of tins I am going to want at least 40-50 tins of this for my own. Smokable wheat toast. It tastes like it. It makes the room smell like it. It's just a joyful Va flake and unique in all of my Va flake exploration. I love it and time will tell but I may like it even more than I like MVF.
That's it for now. As you can guess these tobaccos are ones that lately I've been feeling I need to own more of. Time to look at my cellar again and see if I have too much of anything I can trade for some of these.