Its been a while since I reviewed an e-liquid – when I find something I like, I stick with it and Apollo’s Tobacco flavour has been doing it for me recently! That said I was curious about their “Classic Tobacco”, so picked up a 24mg, 30ml bottle to try (30ml was a bit adventurous – should have tried a 10ml sampler first). I also ordered a 30ml bottle of their regular “Tobacco” just in case I didn’t like it.
In direct comparison the two bottles couldn’t be more different. While the regular tobacco e-liquid had a familiar lemony shade the classic version was distinct – a vibrant, if not artificial pinkish orange. Unscrewing the childproof cap it was evident this was going to be a flavourful e-liquid. Apollo describes this as a classic full bodied American tobacco blend, but to my nose it has a soapiness to it with a touch of coffee and I didn’t get any tobacco nuances at all. When I think of classic American tobacco my mind conjures up Virginia’s and Burleys, rich earthy Kentucky tones, but not here.
Today’s review is somewhat different. In fact, it has all the hallmarks of a pictorial article rather than an actual review – I mean, can you actually review a block of briar? Sort of!
Warning this post is picture heavy!
I’ve made a few pipes, but that was many years ago and none were briar. I’m not sure why, but since I started smoking a pipe (again), I have had this overwhelming desire to make a “proper” pipe. I say make loosely – I currently don’t have the machinery required to bore out the smoking chamber or draft hole (I’m working on it!). So I’d have to pick up a predrilled block which would serve as a creative carving platform. Its a small enough compromise to make when you can’t do everything yourself, and in all honesty, shaping the pipe gives me the greatest pleasure, so with that decided, I searched the web for a pipe kit.
The Apollo disposable electronic cigarette is not something I use on a regular basis as I have a fair amount of vaping kit that fulfils my personal needs (see other reviews). However, I’ve been meaning to review one for a while but never got around to it. So today, I’ll explain what these are all about.
If you are new to the world of electronic cigarettes and the vaping scene in general lets get down to basics. Most ecig users start out on something fairly basic. I know I did. 5 years ago, ecigs were extremely primitive and most, if not all, replicated a real cigarette in looks if not performance. Over the years, and thanks to the personal innovation of a number of ecig users, various “mods” started to appear. Chinese manufacturers quickly picked up on these and started mass producing more durable and longer lasting products.
You see the problem with the earliest ecigs was size. After all, these things were nigh on identical to a cigarette dimensionally, thus battery capacity and ultimately life was limited to say the least – a typical battery lasting anywhere between 30 mins to 2 hours (the latter, if lucky). In addition, they didn’t hold a decent charge after a few months, so a hefty battery arsenal was always needed.
When it comes to pipe smoking knives there is only one name to look out for and that is Joseph Rodgers. With a history dating back to 1682, you won’t go far wrong.
And while the world famous cutler may be long gone his legacy remains. Egginton Bros Ltd, Sheffield, England, now manufacturers Rodgers famous “Star and Cross” brand supplying the military and civilian market with a multitude of exceptional quality cutlery in all shapes and sizes, including, of course, the pipe smokers pocket knife, which has been produced for many decades.
Breaking in the Peterson Deluxe System 11FB would require some self restraint. I was sorely tempted to just fill this beautiful Irish creation to the rim with luscious tobacco and smoke away, but I decided to go down the half bowl route for the first few smokes.
I had cracked open a tin of Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader a few days before the 11FB arrived from Brucciani’s and decided to use this English (medium) blend for the break in period (anticipated at 7-10 days).
Squadron Leader is a real favourite of mine. Its a classic and has just about everything going for it from tin note to smooth smoke. The good lady wife is not keen on the room note and I agree its not exactly a crowd pleaser in that respect, so I smoke this alone in my study.
As mentioned in Part 1, the 11FB smoking chamber was decidedly smooth and also very deep (40mm or so). It would require some slow, careful smoking, preferably to the bottom to encourage heel cake.
My love affair with Peterson pipes goes back to the late eighties. The local tobacconist I frequented sold a few good pipes and a lot more lower quality unbranded or basket pipes. My modest collection fitted the latter bracket so I would enviously eye the Peterson range which unfortunately were out of my teenage budget.
I recall the pipe I longed for was clipped to a wooden board or more precisely a screen covered in holes, and had a £60 price tag hanging from its bent stem – bear in mind my most expensive pipe at the time cost around £14 (an Italian made Meerschaum lined Prince), so this was a lot of money back then. It was a rustic briar, similar to a System 314 in appearance. Very remiss of me, but I never knew the exact model number, just that I liked the shape!
Anyway, I never got it, but I swore that, one day, I would aquire a Peterson of Dublin pipe.
Today’s review is not particularly exciting or dynamic, but very useful all the same, especially if you are a UK pipe smoker.
Having relaunched my pipe smoking career last December I was in need of some pipe cleaners. Twenty odd years ago they were readily available in all newsagents and supermarkets, but not now. They appear to have morphed completely into a craft product – all pimped up in brightly coloured tinsel! These aren’t “pipe cleaners”, where have all the regular white fluffy ones gone?
I was excited and apprehensive about smoking the Tortuga. Its such a nice pipe I almost didn’t want to “spoil” it! But a pipe is for smoking so I put thoughts of scorching the rim and burning the bowl to one side and unpacked the tobacco I ordered from Black Swan to break this pipe in.
I would be using a 50/50 blend of Gawith Hoggarths Kendal Black Cavendish and McConnell Oriental Turkish Blend. These are classed as blending tobacco’s, but can be enjoyed on their own, particularly the slow burning Black Cavendish. The Turkish burns hotter and quicker so combining the two should make for a long lasting pleasurable smoke. Both arrived in what I would call perfect smoking condition, in as much as there was no need to air dry either before blending.
A long, long time ago when I was about 17 I smoked a tobacco pipe. I really enjoyed the “hobby”. Some might call it ritualistic. Its definitely something to be savoured and not rushed. There is so much more to pipe smoking than just the pipe. Its an experience from start to finish. Firstly teasing the rich golden strands from the pouch or tin while simultaneously breathing in the unlit aroma. Then packing the bowl – not too tight or loose. Just lighting the contents and keeping the fire going requires concentration and takes time to learn. Only then can you sit back and truly enjoy the fruits of your labour. Dedication is key.
In the early days I didn’t even own a commercially made pipe – I made my own (with the help of my father). These were by no means briar masterpieces, oh no, simple, rustic examples made from the knurled apple tree that dominated our garden. The mouthpiece (or bit) was made from a dried and hollowed out elderberry stem and entered the “bowl” corncob style. Crude? Looking back, yes!
Personally speaking of all the Apollo tobacco flavour e-liquids I’ve tried recently its somewhat ironic that my favourite is the one left till last! And funnily enough its just the regular “Tobacco” at that.
All the juices reviewed so far have been 24mg (extra high) strength and no change here. It ticks all the boxes not too strong, nor too weak and the ideal choice for throat hit and average nicotine needs.
Opening up the childproof cap, the aroma is less striking than RY4 and definitely less pungent than Sahara. Its decidedly tobacco (sounds stupid I know considering it is tobacco flavour), but it really does have a whiff of fresh tobacco leaves. There is a sweet edge to it, but not overpowering from a scent perspective.
Visually, it has a lemony hue and is slightly thinner than both the RY4 and Sahara e-liquids. Again it’s a Propylene Glycol (PG) based juice with added Glycerin. Its very well suited for use in a clearomizer as thicker juices tend to restrict the internal wicks absorption rate. This juice seems to flow effortlessly and produces plenty of thick vapour as a result.