Where to begin? It smells like candy. The flakes are comically small. In fact I just grab 2 every time I go to smoke some of this puzzler. There is all kinds of lore/speculation about the topping and the pineapple on the tin. Is it a full on aromatic? Is it a sort of hybrid like some people consider University Flake to be? Let's dive in!
The tin.....The tin design is delightfully dated. The colors and art work harken back to a slower, simpler time. The tiny pocket sized shape make me think it was MEANT to be carried about in the breast pocket of one's jacket. Forgive me if I delve to deep into speculation of the marketing here....easy transport, and bright colors mean you will be more likely to be seen in public with the product. Ever try to stuff a 100g tin of Mac Barren Plum Cake in your shirt pocket?
The size of the flakes....they are small. Cute in a way. You can stick your fingers in the tin, grab one, fold it over, stuff it, and do the same again if your pipe has room. All the while holding the pipe AND tin in the the other hand. Easy flake smoking on the go! I TOLD you I was going to speculate heavily about the marketing going on with this brand.
The SMELL: Love it or hate it, it is a unique aroma. People say pineapple, passion fruit, Juicy Fruit gum, cooked candy chews, and many other things are brought to mind. I have found something of a tropical melange of aromas when popping the tin. I first got hit with coconut. A sweet dry coconut nut unlike the aroma in a tin of Larson No 80. There is also a gooey sweet citrus note in the back, like ......PINEAPPLE. Possibly also mango. I also get a little hit of vanilla. The aroma seems like a dessert and tempts one to take a bite, which made me wonder if kids have ever gotten a hold of this stuff and ended up riding the puke train after finding out the hard way that it wasn't gum or candy. Yes, I am a wee bit evil as I chuckled at the hard lesson they would learn.
The taste: Golden Virginia. Smooth, toasty, nutty, cool burley. Nothing surprising, except for the quality. There are some damned fine tobaccos pressed together here, and they aren't afraid to tell you so. Not bitey, not bitter, not sticky sweet, but yummy in a well rounded way. The topping is something I was worried about. The aroma in the tin was so prominent, I felt sure it would be all over the smoke, and coat my mouth and sinuses like silicone gasket sealer. I was WRONG!(there is a first time for everything)Somehow, be it black magic, divine intervention, or just really knowing what they are doing, they got the topping/casing to work PARALLEL to the tobacco. That's right, it is in the room note just enough to be pleasing to your companion and passers by, you will occasionally catch it in the side stream or on the mustache, but it doesn't figure prominently in the overall flavor of the smoke. All in all, I think there are some similarities in the base blend between this and Uni Flake, but they are certainly not the same.....just similar. I think the Erinmore is brighter with more of a lemon VA tang than a stoved VA darkness. I shall digress! Marketing? Oh hell yes. A high quality, rich, decently complex VA based flake for the experienced smoker who also needs to keep the public around him happy? Hmmmmmm. I told you this stuff had some planning behind it.
The physical smoking experience: Easy, carefree, dry, with a solid dose of vitamin N. I didn't get bitten, gurgled, or felt a need to fuss with the contents of the bowl. You might need to relight on occasion, depending upon your smoking and packing styles, but I just puffed along without a problem. Amazingly, I failed to find any ghouls, demons, or ghosts in my bowl afterward.
All in all: A winner!...and a window into how one might chose a tobacco to keep with them all day. An attractive package which is easy to handle, containing a quality tobacco, posessing a pleasant room note, which deliver a non-fussy smoke all day. I told you they were smart when they came up with this stuff. It probably has something to do with it still being on the market to this day.