When I was growing up in northern Illinois farm country, it was common to find many leftover corn cobs after the harvest. Walking through the rows of dirt and cut corn stalks, it was easy to pick up dry cobs that were missed by the farmers. My cousins and I would regularly grab a few, pull out our pocket knives–yes, it was not unusual for children to still have pocket knives–and make simple corn cob pipes. Carve out the center, make a hole on the side, and push a hollow stick through the hole. Easy. Keep in mind that these were no works of art. We didn’t even try them to see if they worked. We were still too young to consider smoking them. However, we could certainly pretend that we were Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.
Perhaps it is my early childhood playing with those missed corn cobs in the dusty corn fields that draws me now to the simple Missouri Meerschaum pipes. They are unassuming and elegant. They don’t win fashion shows, but are durable and consistent. That is something that someone like me can appreciate.
When the Missouri Meerschaum brand decided to produce pipe tobaccos, I was immediately interested. My pipe tobacco tastes are usually more aligned with an English blend than an aromatic, but I am willing to try something new. I got a tin of the new Missouri Meerschaum Independence Day 2015 blend and eagerly opened it up to taste it in a simple cob pipe.
The first thing that struck me was the tin note. It smelled delicious. It is described as having “notes of fruit, nuts, vanilla and a touch of amaretto.” The amaretto is what immediately struck me, but in a subtle way. It is not overwhelming like some can be. It is a strong, sweet tin note that kept me wanting to return to smell it again and again.
I packed a bowl directly from the tin in a typical 3 tier way, lighting the false light, tamping and relighting. This was enough to keep it lit for the entire bowl. While the smell of fruits, nuts, and amaretto were clear in the tin note, the flavor of the smoke was much more subtle and hinted at chocolate, as well. The burley, cavendish, and virginia tobaccos were excellently balanced to provide a flavorful experience that is not overwhelming and carries no bite at all. The entire bowl remained balanced and flavorful in a subtle way.
This is the kind of tobacco that could easily be an all-day kind of smoke. It is suitable for shorter “smoke breaks,” as well as longer, more contemplative times. I recommend sipping it slowly, savoring the nuances. I also think it would pair extremely well with a Blue Moon beer or something similarly light, sweet, and fruit-centric. This will bring out more of the fruit notes from the tobacco. This tobacco is definitely ideal for summer, but is pleasant enough to be a welcome addition to one’s rotation any time of the year.
As someone who typically avoids aromatics, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. So much so, that I picked up a couple of other aromatic tins, hoping to have more pleasant experiences with them. I also plan on picking up another tin or two of this limited edition blend. Missouri Meerschaum only made 1,776 tins of this blend to commemorate America’s independence. It is worth picking up a tin while they are still available.
If you are able to smoke it in a Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipe, it would certainly complete the experience. However, it is just as nice to smoke it in other traditional briar pipes–something that I have also done several times. This is the kind of experience that has made me reconsider aromatics. It seems that they do deserve a spot in my rotation. Independence Day 2015 will have a regular spot in my rotation–at least until it is no longer available.
Tin note: Pleasant, prominent note of amaretto
Taste: Subtle amaretto, nuts, and chocolate. Excellent overall. No bite.
Room Note: Pleasant
Get it at Pipes and Cigars: http://www.pipesandcigars.com/pipe-tobacco/90822/missouri-meerschaum-indepedence-day/
Enjoy your pipe.