Winter is waning, although the cold is still making its way in through the cracks. I’ve reached the point where I am ready for warmth again. It’s a frigid morning, and I gaze at the frosted tips of the Kentucky bluegrass out my window flickering in the morning sunrise, scattered by strong, cold winds.
Before I talk about the tobacco, I want to mention the unique presentation. It comes in a fragrant, neatly pressed plug. The cutting process will be relaxing and will allow you to prepare the tobacco to your liking, as I discussed in Zen and the Art of Prepping Your Own Pipe Tobacco.
Comparing it to the ready cut variety, this one is already one point ahead for the cut alone.
I sit down at my desk and grab my trusty Folding Tobacco Mat, knowing from my experience with Le Petit Robin that, when I prepare this kind of tobacco, it does tend to spill. It is best done over a mat because you don’t want to lose any of your precious tobacco in the carpet as you work.
I flip open my Buck Knife and cut into it. It cuts relatively easily. I slice two medium-thick flakes. A pleasant aroma releases from the plug as I cut it; a tin note of tonquin beans, a light dark-cherry licorice, vanilla-bean, hay and dark earth. It is a sophisticated scent that I find pleasing, and I spend some time just enjoying the aroma straight from the cutting board.
I grasp the freshly cut flakes in my hand and wonder at how perfect the humidity is. It is dry, but not brittle. Not too dry, not too wet, just right. Goldilocks. I gently rub the flakes, releasing more of that curious aroma and I pack my pipe.
As I pack the bowl, an earthy tin-note of burley floats into my nose, sitting just under the topping. I also make out hints of Dark-Fired Kentucky with a smokey note and more of the sweet hay Virginias. All the tobaccos in the blend come through past the topping in the tin note. I give it a medium pack.
I fire up my hemp wick.
The false light takes quickly, and immediately I taste the tonquin-like topping, mild vanillas swirl around with light cherries and vanillas, all very mild and never over-powering the sweet earth of the bold burley.
Now the true light comes in. Above the burley are further hints of the topping that tastes like fermented cherries mixed with fresh leather and salted; sweet, tart and piquant with a touch of anise.
The campy smoke of dark-fired Kentucky comes in next, never to be overshadowed. Reminiscent of campfires and spice, firm but not lashing out.
Deeper into the smoke, at mid-bowl now, the topping begins to wear off some, making room for other subtleties to be detected. The Virginias hold everything together at the base of the smoke with sweet hay and light citrus as well as a further sugar-tinged note.
The smoke is thick and inviting with a strong room note that is deep with the burley scents but what it does put out there is nicely flavored and scented with the topping.
I finish the bowl with fine gray ash, all the way to the bottom with no relights. It is delightful.
War Horse Bar is another great smoke. Lightly scented, but not an aromatic, more likened to the way Lakeland essence sits on the tobacco, but this is not floral. Between the Bar cut and the Ready Cut, I would go with the Bar unless you do not have the time to prep it. Not only is the prep process an excellent addition to the smoking experience, but the taste and aroma of the Bar outweigh the Ready Cut. I didn’t notice a different taste among the two, just a more pronounced, better-defined taste with the bar.
I will always have some War Horse Bar in my cellar. Due to its complexity, I wouldn’t say it is an everyday smoke, but rather a weekly visit to an old friend in the stable.
Other Tobacco Notes:
Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania’s Warhorse Bar is a solid, quality crossover tobacco-forward aromatic with strong burley and dark-fired Kentucky notes. It burns nice. No goop or doddle. And it remains enjoyable for the whole bowl.
Strength Notes: For medium strength both in nicotine and smoke density.
Cut: A sturdy bar with perfect humidity straight from the can that requires no drying time. I smoked it straight from the tin with no problem.
Nicotine Strength: The nic hit is medium with a slight tingle on the tongue.
Drink Pairing: I enjoyed this tobacco with a cup of coffee.
Smoking Time: Best enjoyed at night when you are ready to reflect on your day. It has a medium burn time and took about an hour to smoke in a medium bowl.
Pipes Used: Mr. Brog #89. It works well in a medium to large bowl. Otherwise, it will smoke in just about anything. There is a chance of ghosting with a blend topped such as this, so keep that in mind.
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the tin.
4/4 Stars. A very well-crafted crossover aromatic with a memorable aroma.
|Brand||Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania|
|Blended By||Russ Ouellette|
|Manufactured By||Sutliff Tobacco Company|
|Contents||Burley, Kentucky, Virginia|
|Flavoring||Other / Misc|
|Packaging||50 grams Tin|
|Where to Buy||TobaccoPipes.com|
All photos are the property of Justin Day at Photography By Day Studio. You can find more of my work here.