It’s a crisp January morning. I’m standing in my office, staring into my closet which has long since become my tobacco sellar (along with part of my basement, much to my partner Amanda’s chagrin).
I’m in the mood for something classical and satisfying. I decide on a jar of Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader from 2010. This should do the trick!
The tin-note is smokey latakia, exotically fragrant Oriental/Turkish, and a touch of sweet Virginia on the end. Salty-sweet and sea-water brine, the trademark of an English Samuel Gawith blend. Very nice!
Normally the blend would require a bit of drying time, but since this one has so much age on it, it has entered into it’s Goldilocks smoking humidity.
The blend loads easily into the Peterson System Standard 307. It takes the false light easily with a burst of salty-sour Turkish/Oriental and charred-oak smokiness of the Latakia. I let the flame die and tamp, then give it the true light.
The blend comes back to life, deepening in flavor.
Curiously, the first thing that hits my tongue is the grassy hay of the Virginias, which is more prominent in this blend than your typical English blend, with a touch of lemon zest. This is followed by the woody notes of the Latakia and the tang of the Oriental/Turkish tobacco. A touch of the air, a touch of the ocean and beyond — the blend is living up to its namesake.
Squadron Leader is a sublime smoke. Evenly paced, cool and neat on the draw with a satisfying smoothness that leaves you wanting more. There is hardly any moisture in the bowl when the smoke comes to an end and no dottle.
This blend is great for those new to English. It doesn’t overwhelm the senses at all and has an average nic hit. At the same time, for the experienced smoker, it offers enough complexity to be interesting to explore on the daily without being too baffling so it can stand the test of the all-day smoke.
If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend getting on the waiting list for an in-stock notification at your favorite brick and mortar or online retailer, as this blend is normally out of stock. When you get the chance, buy some to smoke now and some to push to the back of the cellar, as this blend takes to aging quite well.
Smoke and enjoy, friends! Thanks for reading.