On Palates Refined and Un

The Chairman of the Board

I’ve been blessed with an unrefined palate.

Say, what? That was no typo. I said unrefined palate Why did I say that?

Well, speaking for myself (I really have to stop saying that — who else would I be speaking for? who else’s palate can I use?), I maximize my pipe-smoking pleasure and relaxation if I don’t have to think about nuances and subtleties. I’d rather be relaxing and philosophizing instead of trying to pull apart and untangle the multiple real and imagined strands of a blend’s flavor: the fruitiness (not just fruitiness but dark-fruit fruitiness), the chocolate, the vanilla, the booze, the woodsyness, leatheryness, the whatever. So thank goodness I’m not very good at it. I judge a tobacco blend by the totality of its flavor, and I suspect that the totality is greater than the sum of its parts. Why break it down? It’s not for me. If you like that sort of thing, it’s okay by me. Live and let live, I say.

Of course, I can distinguish some flavors. I especially love maple blends because they taste so faithfully like maple. Being a keto carnivore who eats no pancakes or waffles, where else am I going to get my maple flavor if not from my pipe?

And I sometimes I can detect other flavors. I’ve smoked a lot of straight Virginias and enjoyed them, but it’s only recently that I found one that was bready (Amphora Virginia Blend) and another that was citrusy (Orlik Golden Sliced). I love Orientals, but only now do I know what people mean when they say they are sour (in a good way).

So — horror! — maybe my palate is getting more refined. I hope not.

The point is, I really don’t want to think about pipe-smoking. I want to bask in the comfort, security, and relaxation accorded by the flavor of a good, friendly, consistent blend.