Ted Hockin reviews Gawith Hoggarth’s Rum and Maple flake pipe tobacco
Rum and Maple Flake pipe tobacco
25g – £4.95
The Cumbrian based Gawith Hoggarth have been purveyors of fine tobacco blends for three generations, roughly speaking since the reign of Edward VII, and, according to J.B. Priestly, (the sometime author, full-time curmudgeon and lifelong advocate of the pipe) the golden age of pipe tobaccos. While the treacly appearance and heftiness of the ribbon cut may be off-putting to those accustomed to the lighter blends, the scents of Rum and Maple could win anyone round.
In appearance it looks like beef jerky, in smell it’s like a bounteous Christmas cake. The rum, of course, adding to the seasonal feel and the shades of caramel, raisins and toffee are delicious. Being of the ribbon cut variety, it takes a little longer to pack, requiring some ripping and slashing, but it all adds to the ritual of smoking.
Well, my bowl is packed and the matches are ready. Let’s spark this beauty. At first it can be a little high maintenance taking an average of two or three matches to get a really good burn going. Once lit though it burns at a wonderfully languid rate, and requires little or no relighting, lasting on average for thirty minutes. Its smoke is thick and has a very rich, sweet taste. The rum notes are the most robust and that strength of flavour really lasts a while before giving way to subtler, fruity, almost floral flavours. The aftertaste of the pipe is excellent. For well over an hour the palette rings with the ghost of a fine cake, as well as sating any cravings for smoke that shameless addicts like myself possess.
Long after you’ve tapped the bowl out and readied it for the next blend, the Rum and Maple flake stubbornly loiters on. Even when unlit, a pull can resurrect the most glorious memories.
If I have any criticism, it’s that 25g of Rum and Maple costs £4.95 and at most one can get twelve good smokes out of it. That said, the smokes are extremely satisfying and good value for the quality. This blend may better suit the weekend smoker, rather than the habitué.