Hope everyone had a great New Years and are healthy and happy. This winter sure has been unusually warm. It also has been very busy for us but better busy than not, I guess. However, tell that to our worn out bodies! Life is good though and today is no exception. We have a unique blend to review today made by a great blender and a great guy, Glynn Quelch from GQ Tobaccos. The blend today is called Swamp Flower. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, put up your feet and relax and enjoy this review!
Pipe: Meerschaum straight billiard
Tobacco: Virginia, Perique, Kentucky, oriental, Turkish, topped with floral essence.
Cut: Mixture mostly ribbon cut.
Pack method: 3 Tier
Strength: strong to very strong
Flavor: Floral with sweet grassy earthy notes.
Taste: Smooth, spicy, full body with some tanginess.
Tin Note: Nice pungent floral notes that has some sweet grassiness, complex aroma.
Room Notes: Reminds me of a walk through the country with grassy sweet aromas of a flower field near a hay barn.
Notes: Swamp Flower, right out of the tin has a pleasant sweet floral note that’s not overpowering with a nice earthiness to balance it out. For me, during the first third of the bowl I was immediately hit with the floral essence. It also had a nice hit of the spice from the Perique and paired well with the natural hay like sweetness from the Virginia. The Kentucky tobacco also compliments this blend with body and richness while imbuing a dark roasted chocolate coco nib flavor in the background. Swamp Flower has a cool taste, with no tongue bite and a strength I feel will get more full-bodied as I continue, as it’s medium full at this stage.
During the second third of the bowl, true to my suspicions the strength is getting stronger with more spice prevalent. That said, the spiciness never overtakes the floral notes. I unfortunately had some gurgling even if smoked slowly but I am really enjoying a nice tang as this blend progresses. I didn’t think I would enjoy a floral blend but this one has me intrigued for sure as I can’t quite pinpoint what floral essence it has but it surely is pleasant to the taste and aroma. Now I find the Virginia is coming a little more forward. The tobacco is heating up more and therefore the Virginia is releasing the sweet, grassy hay-like flavors while the Kentucky intensifies its richness and earthy notes of a dark roasted coco nib to transform into a nice tangy bitterness that I am enjoying greatly.
Finally the last third of the bowl; wow! The Swamp Flower has now matured into a nice strong to very strong blend has a nicotine hit for those that enjoy this type of blend. That said; don’t get me wrong it’s done very well with full body richness and a complexity and progression that is extremely well-balanced. I never have gotten any tongue bite and it stayed smooth and cool throughout the entire bowl. Yes for sure, it has tang and bitterness but it actually compliments the floral sweetness. Please also note, by sweetness I’m not saying goopy fake poured all over sweetness. I’m saying a natural sweetness that comes from the tobacco leaf itself. The Virginia at this stage is coming more forward that at this point the blend needs to help out the strength to not be overpowered by the sweet and earthy notes. The Perique also helps out a lot with a constant level of spiciness and richness counter some of the strength to help keep it a smoother blend.
So what do I really think of this blend after all the details? In a single word “Unique”. I don’t mean that in any regard as a bad thing. I will admit with Swamp Flower I was initially skeptical of the floral notes. My grandmother always instilled in me to always try new things, so what the heck I dove right into this headfirst and you know what I found? It’s a nice blend to try for sure! I did have a few relights, some minor gurgling but over all it stayed a cool, full-bodied, rich blend with a strength that will please any full strength smoker. So give it a try to see for yourself as a nice change to the normal blends you enjoy, a very nice treat for sure!!
Rated: 3.5 out of 5
The Good Wife’s Review: My husband lit his pipe a full five minutes ago. I just looked aver and asked him when he was going to light this little darling. Oops, my bad! On the bright side it tells me that Swamp Flower will not chase your friends away and it also will not overwhelms you immediately. Just now, almost ten minutes later I am starting to get an earthy odor, with a hint of sweetness. The name matches this blend exceptionally well. It is leading me into a swamp, or a marsh in high summer. It is rich, with a dark earthy scent, tinged with the sweetness one often associates with flowers. Imagine for a moment, walking into a greenhouse in August, rife with composted vegetation and juxtaposed with a strong floral scent that softens the sourness of compost. That is the scent of Swamp Flower in a nutshell. It is not a bad odor, just extremely distinctive for anyone who has wandered deep into a wet wilderness on a sultry, hot summer day. If I had ever been to Louisiana swampland I’d guess it would smell like this blend, but I have a vivid imagination so it is not a far reach.
So, in literary terms, Swamp Flower is a southern gem, it is Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire” steeped in colonial garb and dripping in swamp vines with flourishes of lace and hard rock guitars, exquisitely rich in verbosity and with a touch of sweet tea. It is dank and cloying but subtle and gentle, with an edge one could only expect in historical fiction of that caliber. I definitely can’t wait for a hot summer day when I will make the Piper smoke it once again.