Some days you just get on a roll, so I decided after doing my review on Fourth Generation 1882 Founders Blend, I waited about an hour and then decided to do my review on another Fourth Generation tobacco, the 1897 Erik Paul’s Blend.
As I so often do when doing reviews, I try to get into the head of the tobacconist who created the blend. What were they thinking? What message were they trying to get across? It is one of the most wonderful things about pipe tobacco and cigars, recognizing the theme behind the blend.
So, I opened the tin of 1897 to take in its aroma. The heady scent of vanilla and honey brings to mind mom’s kitchen, and dad’s pipe. Erik Paul Stokkebye, I assume, was born in 1897. That would have made him 17 in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War. So, it is highly likely that when Erik Paul was smoking his pipe, as a young man, he was doing so in the trenches somewhere in Europe.
Now, you see where the title of the article comes from. Just the smell of the tobacco alone fills one’s mind with home, and if Erik Paul had this tobacco with him in the trenches, I am sure it exacerbated his homesickness.
The oldest pipe I have is my WDC Milano Cutty, so in honour of Erik Michael’s grandfather, I loaded a bowl of the blend named for him, while I read the back of the tin;
Erik Paul, my Grandfather, was an entrepreneur and collector who loved to travel and experience many things. The 1897 blend is a colorful combination of light, golden Virginias, bronze Burley and a touch of Black Cavendish. The base of rich vanilla combines with notes of mild, sweet honey for a gentle aromatic sweetness.
The taste is quite good, and brings to mind afternoon tea on the back porch of my grandmother’s with vanilla wafers and honey. I find, after smoking for about 20 minutes, that the tobacco is not too strong, though strong enough to satisfy, and the grassy Virginias, and nutty and peppery Burley are mellowed nicely by the addition of the Black Cavendish.
The room note is very pleasant, and scented enough that I can pick it up with my limited sense of smell.
As other reviews have stated, and I will reiterate, the 1897 is too moist out of the tin, and needs to be aired out for at least 30 minutes before smoking. Alternatively, just leave the can open for about a day, that’ll take care of most of the excess moisture.
The great thing about this WDC Milano Cutty, it is that I bought it from Keith Keller about six or eight months ago, and thought I had wrecked it by getting a pipe cleaner jammed in the stem. My best friend spend hours with drill bits and a Dremel tool getting the pipe cleaner out, and fixing my pipe, so I enjoy it that much more. Besides, it’s just a great smoker! He has done in such a great job in restoring this pipe that it remains one of my favorites.
Another 20 minutes, and the bowl was finished. I tapped out the pipe to a small plug of dottle, and reflected on my childhood with my grandmother.
Erik Michael, I hope you knew your grandfather. If this was his favorite blend, I’m sure he was a very interesting man.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!