Lost At Sea (Sutliff Private Stock Navigator Blend in a John Hines Custom Skater)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was in the Navy, I was a considerably better pilot than I was a navigator.  As a matter of fact, 25 years later I could still pilot any boat they put me on, but I can barely remember the merest basics of my navigation course.  What I do remember, is that no matter how advanced navigation at sea becomes, they will still always teach you the old-fashioned way, with compass and sextant.  This is because, even with advanced instruments, with no landmarks, indeed, no land at all and nothing to track where you are, if your instruments fail you have to find your way home.

What in the gall darn cruddy B’jebus does this have to do with pipe tobacco?!

Well, the tobacco IS called Navigator Blend.

The tin note of the tobacco hints at a plum topping, and the all black Cavendish, coarse-cut presentation is quite tasty looking.

The tobacco is not too moist, or at least I don’t think it is, but it will prove me wrong, and packs easily into the gigantic bowl of the John Hines skater, though this is not the first bowl that I’ve smoked in this pipe.

And that’s where this ship begins to go off course;

Tobaccoreviews.com says this about it;

Chart your course for an adventure in smoking pleasure with this mild all Black Vanilla flavored blend. Perfect for fans of Argosy Black.

And www.sutliff-tobacco.com says the following;

Chart your course for an adventure in smoking pleasure with this superior mixture of all Dark Tobaccos. This soothing, sweet Aromatic lends itself to relaxation, allowing the imagination to soar.

So with the bowl packed, it in a beautifully smokable pipe, and the pleasant scent of, apparently, vanilla, not plum, the ship sets off into some chop; the tobacco presents a false light.

Waves crash as a storm begins to roll in; the tobacco won’t light, again!

And now, our instruments go dead and we are lost at sea; repeatedly, I find the tobacco will not stay lit.

Finally, after the third or fourth try, I get the weed smoldering and begin to smoke the pipe.

In order to keep the tobacco lit in the chamber I have to repeatedly puff hard on the bowl of tobacco and I find that it loses all of the subtle flavors of the topping.

Time to halt, wait out the storm, and take out the compass and sextant and get us back on course!

So, I scrap the bowl altogether, and take out a new bowl of tobacco, and leave it on the table to air for 20 minutes to half an hour before loading it in the pipe.

Course plotted.

After packing a new pipe, I strike steel to flint and light the pipe again.  Was that just the eye of the storm?  Apparently, half an hour of drying out is not enough to keep this tobacco lit, as once again it sputters and threatens to go out unless I continually puff on it.

The tobacco will stay lit, but only by repetitively puffing and smoking the tobacco so damn hot that it has no flavour at all.

Well, with the storm passed and the bowl finished, I check out where I finally landed, and determine it must be tropical; for all that puffing, and the volcanic heat that made the pipe almost unable to be held, the tobacco didn’t have any bite, nor did it have any dottle.

So the tobacco is too moist, doesn’t smell like it’s supposed to, won’t stay lit, and requires that you smoke it like a volcano so that it has no flavour, but doesn’t bite and has no dottle.

I don’t think I’m going to smoke this again, what a waste of time!

Sorry John at Sutliff, this one’s a strikeout.

If you do want to get it, Sutliff will help you do so at their website www.sutliff-tobacco.com

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

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