Peterson of Dublin University Flake. Now that is a good name. There’s a certain authority to it, like I should consult Peterson of Dublin University Flake whenever a difficult disagreement arises, and unquestionably trust whatever knowledge it grants. It’s also a very well known and widely reviewed pipe tobacco. Reviewed quite well, all things considered. Which is good, because I have a tin right here.
This was also a sort of “gateway” aromatic for me, and my first foray into the perfumed halls of the standard Virginia/Burley + light casing style of tobacco after having briefly explored a snug library’s worth of English style blends (I started with Nightcap and like to hit the ground running).
University Flake is considered a bit of a classic, at least according to the voluminous, and often verbose, dissertations of fellow tobacco reviewists. So I bought some. Characteristic of my early tobacco purchases, my memory of that first experience is too dimly lit and too hastily conceived to offer a proper ride-along review. I remember it being quite good the one time I did smoke it, but I had also been drinking lagers that evening (sans red cup).
This won’t do. My notes are looking far too sloppy. Let’s review, shall we?
Peterson University Flake is a Burley/Virginia blend whose tin describes its own contents as:
“An easy smoking blend of fine Virginias and Burley tobaccos, made the traditional way.”
Though not classified as an aromatic in any online market, there is apparently a plum topping added, which we will soon discuss. I purchased a 50g tin from SmokingPipes.com for $8.10, though currently the price is up to $9.00. University Flake is still in production and should be easy to find for those with access to an array of online tobacco retailers.
As noted in the captions above, this batch of University Flake has about 3 months of jar time on it. Despite the bright pictures, the jar spends 95% of its life in a very dim and dark atmosphere, even on the sunniest of days.
Moving on, the note is more berry than plum, at least initially, and at least to my senses. My brain tells me to call it plum, because I’ve read that it is plum, but if I’m honest with myself, it smells like berries. There’s also raisins and a sugary syrup aroma that is very rich and pleasant to inhale. Breathing deeper, one finds bright, almost peachy fruits and a slight maple undertone. Toffee attends the tail end of heavy whiffs.
The moistness here is substantial, though not soggy. The flake has held on to its juice admirably for enduring 3 months in such a dead-air-filled container. If you favor a dry, crispy smoke, some serious drying time is prescribed here. The flake is velvety and pleasantly thick, with a meaty quality that lends itself to a sense of almost dietary satisfaction. It certainly smells good enough to eat, this stuff.
I’ll let the intact flake dry for an hour and then pack a bowl.
The first few lights fall dim against the still-damp flake. Wood and grass notes arrive early, with a spicy citrus companion. Underneath it all is a first hint of berry. The Virginia tobacco flavors on display here are prominent and reminiscent of a certain Samuel Gawith creation. Light toffee shows up fashionably late with a creamy attendant, and the faintest nuttiness awaits the observant smoker.
Retrohales at this end of the bowl are spicy but clean, offering no nostril-burn and plenty of sweet aromas. The room note is also sweet, the plum casing doing its job to suppress the smoky funk of lit tobacco.
Peppery and round, there is no hint of bite here. The tangy citrus and spicy elements exist in perfect balance.
The second half sees the berry and plum characters go home early. More earthy wood and mineral flavors take their place. I think there’s almost an exotic mushroom quality to discover here. Lingering fruit in the room note keeps everything pleasant and placid.
The body has remained creamy throughout, the mouthfeel full and round and almost chewy.
No sticky aromatic glop. No burnout spiciness. No ashen gloom at bowl’s end. Smoke University Flake right to the draught and then pack another.
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