Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Bob's Chocolate Flake
So, I bought some of this in a tin and I've smoked quite a few bowls of it lately.
First, the tin... They must use one heck of a vacuum sealer because I have never had so much trouble getting the lid off a tin of tobacco before. Coins and screwdrivers didn't do it. I ended up using a claw hammer to pry the lid off. Of course, after, I couldn't reuse the lid. I got it open to be greeted by a block of tobacco. The flakes are really stuck together, and it presents as a nice, dark, oily dark brown chunk- actually, that doesn't really make it sound appetizing. It actually looks good, good enough to eat, it looks a lot like a chunk of chocolate. The tin note has a very nice, campfire/BBQ latakia goodness, but with a little something else in there too.
Loading a bowl, the stickiness, the flakes stuck together, made it tough to take out a flake. It kind of pulled apart and you get strips of flakes. No big deal. I've packed it with a variation of the fold 'n stuff using those strips, and using the cannonball method.
It is a wet tobacco. I have to relight often, and I don't usually have to relight much.
Smoking this stuff is a real treat.
Lakeland, it is there, but not strong. When I first smoked it, I loaded it up and lit it immediately after opening the tin. This is my first Lakeland (Brown/Happy Bogie and Black Irish X don't seem to have it), and it was freshly opened, so that may have contributed to it, but at first, I strongly tasted the Lakeland floral/soapy character. It was a bit of a shock and at first it was all I noticed. However, the more I smoked it, the less I tasted it (even in that first bowl), and in subsequent bowls it is barely there. For those that don't know, Lakeland is a very distinctive flavor G&H has in their tobaccos (most anyway) that is very floral/soapy, it's a bit unusual and different, yet familiar and comforting at the same time. For most, its very much a you love it or hate it thing, I'm falling into that first group (well, I like it, I don't know that I 'love' it, but I definitely like it).
The tobacco is a good quality tobacco. No bite, very mellow, yet very flavorful. After about the first third of the first bowl (after the initial shock of the Lakeland wore off), I really began to taste the chocolate quite nicely, with a little creaminess from the vanilla. The more I smoke it, the more I get the chocolate and vanilla. It really is a pretty well flavored, aromatic tobacco, but it is far more complicated in flavors than most aros.
This is definitely becoming a favorite. It is very good stuff, very interesting, multidimensional, and quite unusual tobacco. Probably the best of the chocolate tobaccos (I say probably since I haven't had anywhere near all of them or even most of them to do a definite comparison).
Would I recommend it? The Lakeland means it isn't for everyone. If you have had G&H tobaccos and hate Lakeland, do not try this, even if you like chocolate tobaccos. The Lakeland isn't strong, but it is there. If you like Lakelands, this is a very good tobacco. If you haven't had a Lakeland before and you are curious, this is a good one to start with since it is relatively mild and doesn't knock you over with the Lakeland essence, and really rewards you with some delicious chocolate, tobacco, and vanilla.