THE PROFESSOR'S PIPE TOBACCO REVIEWS

Blatter & Blatter Tobaccos

365 President-Kennedy Ave.
Montreal, QC
Canada H3A 1J5
514-845-8028
http://www.blatterpipes.com

Not just a tobacco shop, these folks are also known for the excellent pipes that they make. And no, their pipes don't all have flat bottoms... It just seems I've developed a weakness for that feature. Apparently, their flat-bottomed pipes are quite popular, so I guess I'm not the only one who likes them. The one on the left has a somewhat wider bowl than the side view would suggest. The one on the right is an excellent smoker as well. They carry a wide range of English and aromatic tobacco blends, including many Rattray's blends in bulk. They also do mail order.

Baker Street
This is actually a Lane mixture sold in bulk. Dark brown and black, it has a rich, almost sweet, latakia flavour and a strong, pleasant, woodsy aroma. Wide cut that burns slowly to the extent that it is rather difficult burning if smoked indoors. Despite its full, rich flavour, which is smooth and not at all sharp, this is not one of those tobaccos whose strength knocks you off your feet. It would be ideal for someone who loves latakia flavour and aroma but finds latakia blends too heady in general. Its wide cut makes it a bit difficult to get lit and keep lit. Probably best smoked in a wide-bowled pipe. '96

Blatter Reserve
This is one of my favourite tobaccos ever; I just never tire of it. It's as good in the morning as it is in a big pipe in the evening. The fragrance and sweetness of Virginias wed perfectly with rich Turkish tobaccos, a generous helping of latakia, a dash of spicy perique and some black Cavendish for extra sweetness and aroma. This is a dark English blend, almost black with reddish medium-brown pieces, that smokes exceptionally smooth and somehow manages to be both full-flavoured and light at the same time. Mark Shelor put it most succinctly when he commented that, "It leaves a very full impression without being overwhelming." It has a natural sweetness and almost flowery flavour at certain moments (probably due to one of the Virginia components), which would even make it appropriate for aromatic smokers who are interested in trying English blends. Its flavour is fairly complex and sometimes it tastes different from pipe to pipe or from day to day (it sometimes varies slightly from batch to batch as well). For anyone else who enjoys this quality, try Legacy (from The Smoker, Albany, NY) or Dobie's Four Square Green. A friend of mine says the aroma smells like chocolate, while others have picked up on its brown-sugar pouch aroma. Its aroma does at times remind me of baked goods, but at other times I just pick up on its heavy-latakia aspect. Medium to large cut that burns slow, but well, and smokes dry. I've never had anything quite like it yet. '96

Blatter 1907
The Blatters sometimes suggest this one for new pipe smokers and I can indeed understand why. Essentially a mild cavendish with a bit of light burley thrown in for spice, it is mild and slightly sweet and aromatic, yet quite satisfying because it provides some natural tobacco flavour as well. Too often, from what I hear, tobacconists will often suggest insipidly light blends for a new pipe smoker. This one gives off a beautiful vanilla aroma that is fairly strong and lingers for some time, but has a toasted aroma to it, not a cloyingly sweet one. It burns well and smokes dry. The burley component gains strength towards the bottom of the bowl, which surprised me the first time I smoked it, given the blend's overall mildness. '95

Burley
I generally don't like burley blends all that much, but here's a major exception. This is a Lane's blend that is supposed to be burley in its natural state, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that it has been sweetened a bit. This light, fluffy and dry tobacco is an attractive orange-tinted medium brown and cut into short, wide pieces that don't stick together. Its appealing pouch aroma suggests the slightest hint of coconut to my nose. On the palate it is light-tasting, nutty and just barely sweet, but the flavour is ultimately more distinctive than the smoke's light body would first suggest. The good news is that it doesn't bite, although it might start to if you insist on smoking it too hard. The room aroma is a strong, almost sweet, toasted aroma that does linger for a while. Typical of burleys, it contains a good amount of nicotine, so you'll probably know if you're smoking it a bit fast. A very nice simple smoke. '95

Danish Slices
I am surprised at how much I have enjoyed these thin medium- and light-brown Virginia slices in my Genod 3/4-bent, curved-bore pipe on weekend mornings. Judging by their earthy and slightly sweet aroma in the pouch, I first expected something rather dull-tasting. True, the flavour is indescribably neutral in character, something along the lines of Rattray's Old Gowrie, but less full, green and creamy tasting. Still, Danish Slices has some interesting qualities: its vaguely honey-like aftertaste that is without bitterness, and I like what I might call its transparent flavor. By transparent, I mean that the smoke is clear-tasting to the point that I sometimes get the false impression that I can taste the briar pipe itself as I smoke. Oddly enough, its mild flavour doesn't get totally flattened if I smoke it while drinking strong, black coffee. I really like the room aroma after smoking this, which is a bit stronger than one would expect. There is nothing perfumy or incense-like about it; instead, the aroma reminds me of my great-grandfather's old house with its pleasant, subtle mustiness, with just a hint of sweetness, and a note of something toasted. For a light Virginia blend, this smokes fairly smooth (much smoother than Dobie's Curlies, another very mildly flavoured blend), but I suspect that, if I were to smoke this all day long, it would bite my tongue. '96

Executive
See Lane's 1Q.

London
This mixture of reddish brown and blackish tobacco, dominated by darker tones distinguishes itself by providing a flavour that is mainly a blend of black cavendish and latakia. A bit of Virginia and perhaps other Orientals have been added to balance the blend a bit better. Which of the two dominant flavours you pick up on will largely depend on your palate and what you are used to smoking. I, being a smoker of a lot of heavy latakia blends, notice the black cavendish much more than the latakia. However, one Virginia smoker (Ben Soo) mentioned that he found the latakia flavour to be stronger than that of the black cavendish. I personally consider it to be a black-cavendish blend, but not a typical one; the added latakia gives it an extraordinarily heavy body for what is essentially an aromatic blend. It is a slightly moist tobacco, like most that contain black cavendish and burns well and smokes very smooth. It is not at all harsh blown out through the nose or inhaled. It probably would appeal most to black cavendish smokers who would like something a bit more gutsy than the usual black-cavendish blend, but who don't want to sacrifice the familiar flavour and sweetness. On the other hand, it might be equally appealing to English smokers who enjoy the taste of black cavendish, but would like to experience an aromatic smoke that is not completely devoid of the body that latakia provides. This blend resembles Blatter Reserve in some ways, except that the intricate complexity and almost chocolate-like flavours in the Reserve are supplanted by the dominant taste of black cavendish. The room aroma is similarly affected; a black cavendish aroma prevails, but the presence of latakia makes it heavier and not so sweet. For my personal taste, I find this a little too sweet and too uniform to be one of my regular smokes, but it's one that I have immensely enjoyed many times when I have a craving for something sweet. '96

Mild English
As an aficionado of the darker English blends, the very name of this one turned me off somewhat, and it was only because of the recommendation of a customer in the shop one day that I ended up trying it. And I'm glad I did! It is overall a medium reddish-brown, but contains some latakia and some blonder tobaccos as well. Some of the Virginias in this blend have a natural sweetness that reminds me a little bit of Erinmore Mixture, but without the perfume. The body of the smoke is distinctly on the light side of medium, and would be quite a bit lighter were it not for the smattering of latakia and perhaps other orientals in the mixture. The balance of flavours is very pleasant, with the subtle Virginia sweetness dominating over the less abundant, richer, heavier elements. It is an exceedingly smooth, almost creamy-tasting smoke with no bite whatsoever, a quality I don't expect from a tobacco so mild in flavour. Its mildness makes it a perfect smoke for exhaling through the nose, and it's not harsh if inhaled either. This would be an excellent all-day smoke and a good choice for either a new pipe smoker or an smoker of mild aromatics who wants to try out an English blend that is neither excessively rich nor earthy in flavour. Its room aroma seems quite pleasant as well: natural, a bit sweet-smelling, and with just a hint of latakia to pass on an English character. It burns cleanly to an uneven white-grey ash. I also found this to be a nice tobacco for breaking in a new pipe, its flavour being quite compatible with the slight woody taste that one experiences when smoking a brand-new pipe. '95

#11
A smooth, medium-full, English-style blend with a rich flavour that is marked by chocolate-like notes, more or less along the lines of Rattray's Accountants blend. Contains a fair amount of latakia, but its flavour is less dominant than in Baker Street (above). Burns well and slowly. Excellent. '95



Here is a pipe by the French pipemaker Genod. A very nice smoke indeed. The distinctive feature of this pipe is its curved bore, which permits the unusually graceful curve at the bottom of the shank. The Blatters occasionally have a couple of Genod pipes in stock. I've seen them both in natural finish and that dark burgundy colour.


And here are a couple of Blatters' flat-bottomed pipes.