Samuel Gawith Grousemoor. A moor? For grouse, I suppose? Assuming my juvenile musings and the understated tin art aren’t descriptive enough, random online dictionary™ defines Grousemoor as:
“Grouse • moor /ɡraʊs mʊə/ noun
An area of managed moorland for the shooting of red grouse.”
It’s also the name of this tobacco, which is perhaps an allusion to the fact that one might happily smoke this while hunting grouse? Can grouse even smell tobacco? Does it bother them? Maybe the Grousemoor as a whole is a metaphor for something greater, like modern man’s inherent duality as both hunter and conservationist?
Maybe it just sounds cool and the tin art is comfy as can be.
Whatever the case, this blend first caught my eye when shopping for palate expanding aromatics a month or so back. The plain-but-beautiful tin art and exotic “lemongrass” flavors alluded to in the description might have been enough for me to pull the trigger on Grousemoor, even in spite my unrepentant Samuel Gawith fanboy-ery (see here and here and here and here for more information).
But I am an unrepentant Samuel Gawith fanboy. And so I definitely bought some. Which works out well for everyone, because now we can smoke and I can talk.
Let’s find out if we’ll be packing a tin of Grousemoor for our next grouse shoot.
Samuel Gawith Grousemoor is an aromatic pipe tobacco described as:
“This 200 year old blend is comprised of hand-stripped flue-cured Zimbabwe leaf, steamed to a Golden color then stoved into a unique melange of flavors. The aroma is of “Lemon Grass”
Virginia tobaccos steamed golden? This sounds like some ostentatious stuff we’re dealing with here. And lemongrass, I’m not even sure i’ve had lemongrass before. I like lemons, and I do like grass, so i’m hoping there is some crossover there.
Moving on, I purchased this 50g tin from SmokingPipes.com for $9.28. This blend is, as far as I can tell, still in production and available at several online marketplaces.
Open the tin and rising at once is a strong lemon and spice aroma. It has a soft medicinal quality to it, but with pine and orange peels and lemons added. It’s very reminiscent of coriander and some wonderful, moist, oily balm whose name escapes me at the moment. Carmex maybe? Whatever it is, it’s very soothing against the nose and throat when inhaled. But let it be known, this is no chloro-septic affair.
The bed of golden-yellow tobacco feels extremely soft and extremely moist, like a swamp. Do grouse live in marshlands? Maybe that’s where the name comes from. Anyway, pressing one’s fingers into the tin feels poking like a wet sponge, or perhaps a soggy mattress. I mean, this stuff feels damp.
Shiny, golden, pillowy ribbons of silk-satin tobacco. Perfumed and very provocative.
I was honestly not expecting such an exotic and, quite frankly, strange experience here. It looks, smells, and feels unlike anything I’ve encountered. The loose wisp of the ribbons once they are exhumed from the boggy tin allows a surprisingly quick and efficient dry time: after 10 minutes spread out on the table, it’s as ready to smoke as my eagerness will grant.
The first light restates the tangy citrus and soft medicinal quality of Grousemoor. There’s floral notes, but not Ennerdale’s heavy Lakeland essence. No, this is more like a single, sweet smelling flower, rather than a large bouquet. And that balmy quality is surreal. Very smooth and easy smoking. Retrohales are spicy and warm, but with a certain invigorating quality to them.
The room note is initially lightly toasty, but with plenty of Virginia tobacco sweetness and just a hint of tang. It soon becomes well perfumed with the aromatics. The sweetness of Virginia is evident on the tongue, balancing nicely the coriander/citrus sourness of the flavoring. Slight mineral tastes come out, but they can only peek up from beneath the sweet and sour that are here, and on full display.
Grousemoor has not even the slightest scintilla of tongue bite. Just creamy and round smoke with a rich-but-not-heavy body.
The second half of the bowl sees the flavorings mellow out. They’re replaced by that typically sophisticated Virginia tobacco flavor that one expects and desires from Samuel Gawith blends. Hints of orange-citrus keep company, and that perfumed room note remains intoxicating. But fantastic, classic, straight Virginia flavor is the final reward. A light smoky peat flavor takes shape at this end of the pot, though a Speyside malt would probably complement Grousemoor better than an Islay.
For this smoke, I’ve particularly enjoyed sparkling water with fresh lemons.
Grousemoor is an impressive transformation of simple tobacco that never forgets where it came from. The luxurious aroma and golden transmutation of the leaves give the impression that the original tobacco will be but a base element. However, the smoke refutes such alchemy and reminds you that Samuel Gawith makes one fine Virginia leaf.
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