Quickie Pipe Tobacco Review: Capstan Gold Flake

Capstan Gold Flake tinCapstan Gold Navy Cut flake pipe tobacco is a bit of a strange bird… There’s nothing extraordinary about it, yet there’s something that keeps me going back for more.

Neither as nuanced to my palate as are some gold Virginia flakes, nor as “sweet & tangy” as others, it offers a truly middle-of-the-road smoke, but somehow it satisfies.

Opening the tin, the nice slab-of-bacon like slices offer that sweet hay aroma I enjoy. Moisture content is good, requiring little dry-time, and the slices pack and burn easily.

The charring light provides a hit of good straight Virginia tobacco flavor, and, overall, I’d say the smoke is rather full and rounded for its type with a subtle and unique flavor I can’t identify. It’s also mild to medium in nicotine.

Although I’m compelled to call this an unremarkable blend, I experience a slightly sour yet pleasant aftertaste that makes me want to load up and have another bowl — I’m just not sure it’s enough to make me load up with more tins at the premiumĀ Mac Baren is asking.

I can’t highly recommend Capstan Gold, but you certainly could do worse. You wouldn’t lose anything if you picked up a tin to give it a go, yourself.

Quickie Pipe Tobacco Review: Stanwell Vanilla

Stanwell Vanilla picStanwell Vanilla is a lightly cased aromatic tobacco that provides an enjoyably subtle vanilla flavor and sidestream aroma.

The tin holds an attractive array of light golden tans to deep browns in this blend of Dark Cavendish, Burley, Virginia and Turkish. To me, the tin note has a sharp vanilla scent, and something about it “stung” my nostrils at my first whiff. My example is not at all sticky and seemsĀ  just right for loading. I set aside a bowl’s worth to air for a good 15 minutes before filling my Stanwell #118 (with filter) and lighting up.

The vanilla makes its first muted presence known with the charring light and sticks around, drifting in and out from start to finish. I find it takes me a couple of false lights before getting the pipe going, but once going, it burns easily. The gentle “breathing with the pipe” technique, letting the smolders set their own pace, is to me the most satisfying way to coax flavor from this blend.

The nice, not too sweet, vanilla comes into its fullest beginning around mid-bowl, along with some other sweeter taste — maybe the Virginias? The sour of the Turkish provides a smoothing balance to the flavor profile. About the final third of the bowl, the Burley comes through with its toasty nuttiness. Stanwell Vanilla smokes down to a generally grey ash and leaves a dry bowl. With Vanilla, I do not experience that “candle-wax” sensation in smell or taste as I do with Stanwell Melange. Vanilla also leaves less of an aftertaste than does its apricot sibling.

Stanwell Vanilla is a light smoke in its flavor, nicotine, and in its room note. As I’m currently looking for an aromatic that fits certain criteria, Vanilla would fit the bill if only it had a bit more”oomph” in its flavor. Granted, I’ve been smoking it with a 9mm charcoal filter, which is bound to subdue its tastiness, but I choose to smoke aromatics with a filter, so in the smoke I’m looking for, the flavor essences must get through.

I recommend Stanwell Vanilla to someone who would enjoy a light, natural vanilla tasting tobacco. At its price point, it offers good value.