Last week I taste tested a new range of pipe tobacco from a brand that is generally more associated with making pipes, rather than tobacco: Chacom. Strangely enough, this week we have more of the same. The Erik Nording brand is normally associated with making exquisite and unique pipes. As is also the case with Chacom, Nording is a small, family-run business. If you haven’t looked through the range of Nording Pipes before, I highly recommend at least having a glance through it, as they make some of the most striking, eye-catching and unusual pipes on the market. As I’ve suggested though, this week I’m not looking at the pipes, as – like Chacom – Nording have now made the leap into the world of pipe tobacco blending, with a modest but fulfilling range of three tobacco blends. So once again, it falls to me to give the new range a thorough taste test.
Erik’s Reserve gets the ball rolling in simple, classic style. It is a straight, no-frills “Fairly bright” Virginia Flake. That’s it; beautifully straightforward. The flake itself, while described as “Bright,” certainly has some darker flecks, but I’d agree that it falls just on the lighter side of the spectrum. The cold aroma is about what you’d expect from this type of tobacco, subtly sweet with a slight tanginess. What did stand out was how easily the flake rubbed down, I barely had to poke it with a finger before it was mostly crumbled. It also lit (and remained lit) exceptionally easily, straight from the tin, with no need for drying or any other prep. Taste-wise, it’s also about you’d expect; slightly sweet and woody, developing a warm toasty character as the bowl progresses. That classic Virginia tang is also present. All in all, this flake probably isn’t going to surprise you, but it does what you expect of it in a very competent manner. Actually, I tell a lie; the ease of preparation might surprise you, as I found it striking enough to bring up twice in one paragraph…
Next up we have Sea Weed. This takes us in a different direction as it is a traditional yet striking Scandinavian style aromatic tobacco. The tobacco blend is a mix of Virginia, Burley and Black Cavendish, with a “Caramel and Cream” casing. One thing that immediately struck me on opening the tin was just how pronounced the “Cream” element of the casing is. All too often, when tobaccos promise a cream flavour, it turns out to be a bit nothing-y; just a vague hint or a light tobacco that gives the impression of creaminess. However, I’ll be damned if this blend doesn’t actually smell and taste of cream. The caramel side of the casing pulls its weight equally well too, which when combined with the cream taste, gives a flavour similar to crème brulee. As far as the casing: tobacco taste ratio goes, I’d call this a textbook Scandinavian aromatic, as the casing is strong enough to be noticed, but not so strong that you can’t taste the tobacco. Perfect balance.
Finally, here is Tumbleweed. As with the Sea Weed, this is a traditional Scandinavian aromatic, but there’s something quite arresting about it. It starts fairly by the book, a mixture of Virginia, Burley and Black Cavendish, with a Vanilla casing. Classic, right? The reason I call this blend “arresting” is that the aromatic casing is surprisingly pronounced for a Scandinavian Style Aromatic. The blenders also describe a more floral element, along with the vanilla, but to me it all comes together to make something a bit different. This is especially noticeable in the cold aroma. In fact, from the second you unseal and unscrew the lid, the aroma immediately seeps out to entice anyone in the vicinity. This aroma lead to a debate between me and my colleague, Karen. My immediate thought on the aroma was chocolate sponge cake, while she thought it was more of a fruit cake. Either way, we could agree it was definitely very “Cakey.” Once lit, I found the taste to be a combination of chocolate and a gentle vanilla undertone. Once again, I found the casing to be surprisingly strong for a Scandi Aro – almost bordering on American Style – but I could just about taste the tobacco underneath.
So, that’s the small but intriguing range of tobacco from Erik Nording, yet another pipe manufacturer turning their skilled hands to producing pipe tobacco. All in all, I’d recommend this range. It does a lot in a small range and dares to wander outside the confines of tradition, which is always a plus for me!
Store Manager @ Turmeaus & LCDH Chester