A few weeks ago when I started the Smoking Jacket Magazine, I approached Erik Stokkebye with the idea of sending me tobacco samples to review in the magazine. To my slight surprise, he had his company send me four of the five blends that they produce. 4th Gen. Tobacconist supplies the market with five blends, 1855 Erik Peter’s Blend, 1882 Founder’s Blend, 1897 Erik Paul’s Blend, 1931 Erik Peter’s Blend (not the same as 1855), and 1957 Erik Michael’s Blend. Erik (Michael in this case) sent to me all of them except for the 1855.
At first, I was a little confused to why his company would send us only the four, but then I look them up online and found that they came to $16.00 USD each on the average, and having sent to me $64.00 USD worth of tobacco, I suppose I shouldn’t complain. Well, in all honesty I shouldn’t complain about anything I get for free.
In any event, I decided that I would divide up the four tins among my reviewers, and have them each do a review of the tobacco, and then pass the tin to the next person so that they could review it. When all four of my reviewers in the local area have finished, I’ll send the tobacco to our last reviewer so that he can write a review of each of them as well.
So, a couple of assumptions that I’ve made about the tobacco; First, the date on the tin, 1855, 1882, 1897, 1931, and 1957 are birth dates. I have to assume this, as I’ve seen Erik Michael, and though he may have aged well, I doubt he is any older than my hubby who is 57. Also, the 1882 blend is called Founder’s Blend, and the 1855 blend is named for Erik Michael’s great-grandfather, Erik Peter (presumably the first) and 1855 to 1882 is 27 years, the perfect amount of time for young Erik Peter Stokkebye to grow up, learn the tobacconist trade, and start his own business. And the can of 1882 says that it was named for the founding of the Stokkebye Tobacco Company. So, that in and of itself, is another form of birthday for the Stokkebye family to celebrate.
Second, I assume that the Stokkebye family records, at least as far as the tobacco business went, are pretty thorough so, these are probably a fairly accurate representation of the tobaccos that these gentlemen actually smoked. I assume, that Erik Michael knew Erik Paul, and that Eric Peter knew his grandfather (although it is possible that he didn’t, his grandfather was 76 when he was born). So again, Erik the fourth could ask his father about his great-grandfather, and likely knew his grandfather (we can assume Erik Paul survived the First World War (he was 19 in 1916) and would have been 42 at the start of the Second World War, and thus likely didn’t fight). So, it was with that in mind, I realized that Erik Peter the second (Erik the third) would have been 14 at the end of the war, and well old enough to understand what that meant.
What is this all have to do with tobacco you might ask? In 1945, boys as young as 11 or 12 were regularly smoking, usually cigarettes, but also cigars and pipes. As a matter of fact, there was such a significant number of young boys smoking that statistical studies done in 1962 had to measure statistics of smokers as young as 15. So, Erik Peter at 14, and the son of a tobacconist, who was himself the son of a tobacconist, probably smoked.
I find myself wondering, if he preferred pipes or cigarettes at that time, and I can imagine him sitting with his mates, down on the train tracks somewhere, or hiding out at the swimming hole and smoking. As the boys lamented the fact that they never got a chance to kill “Jerry”, but are also relieved that the NAZI threat has been ended. I find myself wondering, if it was this navy flake that he was smoking?
So now after all this rambling, I come to review 4th Gen. Tobacconist 1931 Erik Peter’s Blend.
Well, you might ask why I started here and not with the 1882 and work my way up or with the 1957 and work my way back? The answer is quite simple, I figured I would be kicking off these reviews, so I picked the one that I was most likely to appreciate, the navy flake.
Erik Peter, my Father, was a larger than life person, full of energy and excitement for his craft. His favorite tobacco was navy flake, and this full-bodied smoke is a perfect example of his passion. It strikes a natural balance in the distinct characteristics of superior Burleys and mature Virginias by using a small measure of Black Cavendish to please true flake lovers.”
Hey!? A flake that wasn’t pure Virginia!? That had me intrigued immediately, and cemented my decision to review it first.The note in the can is one of fermented fruit that comes from the matured Virginias, hinted at sweetly by the Cavendish, though I can detect no scent of the Burley, and I’m certain that some of the fermented and sweet smells come from the rum casing.
I take one of the, otherwise unremarkable looking, flakes out of the gold foiled paper wrapping and rub it out in preparation to load my Savinelli Alligator 114 KS. I’m amazed by both how firmly the flake stuck together when I took it out of the package as well as by how readily it rubbed out. The single flake is enough to fill the ample bowl of the Savinelli to capacity. To load the chamber, I used the three layer method, though it was actually more like a five or six layer method when I finished adding all of the tobacco. Unlike many flakes, the 1931 was not overly moist and didn’t need to be aired out after rubbing.
I’m smoking alone, so I can’t say much about the room note, except to say that it can’t be very pungent, or sharp, as I can’t smell it at all. However, the taste is fantastic! Immediately the grassy Virginias are mellowed by the sweet Cavendish and the rum casing, but after a few puffs, the nutty Burley and spiciness from the Virginia soaked in rum begins to show itself and the smoke becomes truly complex.
They say the best smoke that you’ll ever have with a pipe, is the one that you forget your having, and while I generally agree with that sentiment, the second best smoke you’ll ever have is the one you can’t stop thinking about. That is how it is with the 1931 flake, you can’t stop thinking about it, the whole time you’re smoking it. So, while it’s not the best smoke that I’ve ever had, it certainly ranks up there among the second best smokes I have ever had.
Furthermore, the tobacco is fairly strong, enough so that I found myself buzzing near the end of the bowl. When I tapped out my pipe, the dottle was minuscule. Overall, this first tobacco that I tried from Erik Stokkebye is a definite win, thanks Erik, I look forward to your other blends.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!
By: Erin McRoy – Owner & Executive-Editor