Tasting Notes – Smokingpipes 20th Anniversary Blends – Smokingpipes.com


– Hey everyone, Shane Ireland here. Welcome to another
episode of Tasting Notes. It’s a very special
episode of Tasting Notes, all of them are, but this
one is particularly special. I’m usually talking about
stuff that I’m exited about, and this is something that I
think we’re all exited about. 2020, the year 2020,
marks the 20th anniversary of Smokingpipes.com To commemorate that event,
Sykes Wilford, our founder teamed up with Jeremy Reeves, Master Blender at Cornell and Diehl, to create not one, but two
very, very special blends. So, on this side, I have the XX 20 Flake, and on this side, I have
the XX 20 Flake Dark. Both of them are Virginia perique flakes, with a little something extra, and both of them feature
a very special perique, 18 year old barrel of
perique that was hand picked by Sykes and Jeremy. It’s an incredible barrel, I was fortunate enough to smell some of it and taste some of it before
it was in these blends. Really, really excellent perique. Every single barrel of perique, kind of like a barrel of bourbon, is a little bit different, depending on how it was packed, what went into it, where it was aged, where it was rested. And this barrel, aside
from being 18 years old, is just really, really great. Optimal conditions, great storage. Really, really exceptional leaf. So, for the regular flake, that perique is combined with some bright Virginias and a couple of different
varietals of Oriental. Orientals, as in Turkish, not as in
Latakia; there’s no Latakia in this flake. Now the dark flake differs
in that the percentage of perique is a little bit amped up, it’s a little bit heavier, but also in addition to
some red and bright leaf, there is some stoved Virginia
in that blend as well. So right now, my take on these, before I get into the specifics, is that this one is a
little bit more for somebody who’s used to smoking a little bit lighter of a Virginia perique flake, and this one is definitely
for the heavy hitters that really like that big perique punch. Both of them are great right now, I think that the aging potential on both of them is also very good. But I’m really excited to see what the flake does over the long term, and the dark flake, I think, is the one that I’ll
probably be smoking more now, in the short term. So, let’s get into that. I’ve got two different pipes here, both of them are Former apples, they’re both the same sized chamber, now I’m not necessarily trying to compare these blends
against each other, but for the sake of smoking
them both back-to-back, I wanted to keep like
as many of the factors equal as possible. So, same chamber size
on both of those pipes. I’ve got the light flake on this side, the dark flake on this side. So, the tin note on the light flake, not “light flake,” sorry, the non-dark flake. (inhaling deeply) Oh, wow! It’s a lot, it’s on the
bright side for sure. It’s definitely like the hay, graham cracker,
oats, kind of a thing. A little bit of some citrus-y notes. And especially when you
take a nice, deep inhale, that 18 year old perique sits right underneath everything. It is a little bit on the fruity side. Definitely pungent. Definitely those fermented, kind of barnyard flavors
come through strong. Oh man. It is an exceptional tin note and like I said, the
one thing that I noticed that’s in common between both of these, is that, that perique aroma
of that 18 year old perique really comes through in
both of these tin notes. And it’s definitely on the strong side and definitely a good indication of where you’re going, flavor-wise. Now, on the dark flake, for me this is a little less citrus-y, it’s a little more tangy. It’s on the woody side. Little bit of sweetness, a
little bit of a bready quality. And that fruity, fermented,
barnyard perique note is like really, really front and center. Ah, man, it is a very, very nice aroma. Totally natural, both of these. And I’m excited to smoke them so let me light up. So, right off the bat, first light, I’m definitely getting
a lot of those brighter, sort of grassy and bready flavors from the bright leaf here. That graham cracker kind of sweetness. Really, really nice. Really comforting,
familiar sort of a blend. The perique takes a little
while to build in intensity. I am starting to notice it now a little bit on the retrohale. The spice, like the pepperiness, of it is on the delicate side. The sort of stewed
fruit, dark stone fruits, that kind of stuff, is more forward. Also just the age of the
perique is definitely apparent. (soft acoustic guitar) It’s really sort of a rounder, mellowed out version of your typical sort of like light to medium bright,
Virginia perique flake. This one is going to continue to sort of marry and soften and
develop over the years. I think it’s going to age extremely well. But, if you’re a fan of
like the added complexity that you get from like
a slightly aged tin of Orlik Golden Sliced, or you know, some of
the Fribourg & Treyer, like Cut Virginia Plug, stuff like that, this is definitely going
to be up your alley. For me this is medium bodied, medium strength, the citrus notes are starting to come out a little bit to add to that sweetness and
that sort of savory quality that I’m getting from the perique. (soft acoustic guitar) It’s producing a lot of smoke. Really creamy. And like I said, the balance
here of the citrus notes, the slight sweetness, kind of
a graham cracker sweetness, and the perique, which
is the same time peppery, a little bit savory, a little bit earthy, very mature tasting. (soft acoustic guitar) It’s just a little bit more complexity than you would expect
from a blend like this that had just a good perique,
not a very well aged perique. It’s just a little bit something extra, it’s kind of hard to
put your finger on it. A little bit richer than I typically find bright flakes with perique to be, especially without any significant
age on the flake itself. Now that I’m a little
further down the bowl, the sort of like nuttiness
and floral quality from the Oriental varietals is adding to the complexity factor. Overall it’s a really,
really comforting blend. Really well balanced. The kind of thing that I could definitely smoke all day long. It’s going to fade into the background if you need it to, but in my experience, and in my opinion, this is one that deserves your attention. This is best enjoyed when you
have no real distractions, maybe some good company, maybe a good beverage alongside of it. But this one really does
deserve your attention. The depth of complexity
here is astounding. (soft acoustic guitar) Almost a little bit chocolatey at moments, but like I said, you know, graham crackers, maybe
a little bit of cocoa, a little bit of hay, a little bit of like lemongrass, or a little bit of lemon
zest kind of a thing. Slightly, slightly floral quality from the Oriental varietals. And the perique is just ever-present and ever-changing and extremely good. So, right off the bat,
with the XX Flake Dark, big difference here, this one is definitely
more on the earthy side. Definitely a little bit
stronger, even right off the bat. I get a little bit more of the perique’s influence immediately, which isn’t surprising
because of the percentage of perique in the dark flake
is a little bit higher. So, for me, th is one is like really, really more of a… It’s really rich. It’s got a good amount of those sort of darker side of the spectrum, both perique-wise and Virginia-wise. A little on the tangy side. There is a nice,
supporting sweetness there. The perique is sort of center-stage, right from the beginning of the bowl. And again, it’s the
same sort of, you know, a little on the delicate side, in terms of the peppery quality, a lot more dark stone fruits. A lot of earthiness, kind of
that mushroom sort of flavor. (soft acoustic guitar) But that tingle is definitely there, especially on the retrohale. Medium-plus in strength,
medium-plus in body. This, for me, is definitely
an end of the day, after dinner sort of a
digestif kind of a smoke. Or paired with like a strong
coffee or a strong whiskey. Really, really, really nice. Definitely complex. Both of these are incredibly complex. (soft acoustic guitar) there’s like hints of
this sort of woody flavor, at times it almost feels like a mesquite kind of a flavor a little bit. But like I said just very, very rich. (soft acoustic guitar) A little more herbal
than the regular flake, it’s really hard to describe this one, because, honestly, almost
every puff that I take is completely different, and
it really is that complex. It’s constantly changing. The perique is center-stage. The amount of sweetness
and the amount of tartness, tanginess, from the Virginia sort of kind of weaves in and out. But those real earthy and
almost umami kind of flavors are center-stage the entire time. Now that I’m a little further into this, it’s definitely on the darker side of the flavor spectrum,
whereas this is kind of bright, kind of citrus-y, a little grassy. This is much more earthy, mushrooms, like I’m having a hard time
explaining it, honestly. But it’s silky smooth, even
though the strength is there and even though the flavor’s
there and it’s very rich. The whole thing kind of
hinges on this like fermented, really deep, really rich kind of a flavor. There’s a little bit of
some chocolate notes. Like I said, it’s tangy. I’m not getting much citrus
at all out of this one. Roasted and toasted kind of flavors. Yeah, like toasted nuts
and truffle or something. But like I said, it’s a very, very, very, very nice smoking experience. Super rich, super smooth. A little bit over-medium strength. Again, for me, this is one that deserves your full attention. I think if you like stuff
like St. James Flake, maybe even like a Solani
Aged Burley Flake, like things along those lines, this is going to please you for sure. Fans of Escudo, fans of Haddo’s Delight, things like that. ‘Cause that’s another thing too is at about this point in the
bowl, I’m about halfway through, the sort of like dark stone fruits and you know, stewed fruit,
and like fruit leather kind of notes, definitely
amped up a good bit. The honey sweetness
that I was experiencing in the beginning of the
bowl, has kind of subsided. So, at this point, it’s
definitely on the sort of earthy and savory side of the spectrum, more so than the sweet side. (soft acoustic guitar) Just the tiniest hint of
pepper on the retrohale. It’s mostly just smooth and creamy, earthy, complex, rich, that kind of stuff. Excellent, excellent blend, both of these. And like I said, for me, this is sort of an all-day mixture, this is sort of like
a nighttime, you know, digestif, after dinner kind of a treat. I think both of them have really, really good aging potential. These are going to be absolutely excellent after five, 10, 15 years. By the time we film this, quite a bit of these are already gone, so if you haven’t tried them yet, do yourselves a favor and
jump on it and grab a couple. If you have tried it and
decided that you like it, now’s your chance to stock
up, ’cause these’ll be gone, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. I, myself, am stocking up
quite a bit of both of them. And, like I said, I’m really
excited to sort of check in on them and see how
they do over the years. But the 18 year old
perique in both of these masterfully used by Jeremy. Really, really special blends
out of Cornell and Diehl, and we’re really, really
fortunate that they were happy to work with us on our
20th Anniversary Celebration. So, thanks everybody. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do and thanks for watching!