Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

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hugodrax
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Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by hugodrax » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:28 pm

Thanks to an insanely generous CPS'er, I was given an entire tin of 2008 Maltese Falcon as long as I purchased a new tin and did a vertical tasting. Thanks, sir. Didn't even put a return address on the label.

I'm no reviewer. JimInks knows what he's doing. MR. Serad knows what he's doing. I'm just a dork.

2008 Vintage

Darker than the 2015 I purchased off the shelf. Noticeably more ragged cut. Latakia has receded and the predominant tin smell is simply smoky-sweet.

Interesting burn. Starts out tasting like citrus flavored wood smoke. Very very sweet. I'd swear anise-sweet. Coats the tongue noticeably. Very integrated. Can't find the Virginia. Orientals dominate with their spice. Latakia is only dominate in the aftertaste. Very complex, very sweet.

Did I say sweet? Well, it is. The second half of the bowl reminded me of drinking Hong Kong Milk Tea around a damp campfire. I found this interesting, because I've never drunk Hong Kong Milk Tea around a damp campfire. Aftertaste was of sweet milky tea and chocolate.

I could dig this if it had some nicotine and I wasn't married.

2015 Vintage

Much more uniform cut. Clearly related, but the balance is all different. The smell is bog standard latakia mixture. No sweet smell.

Interesting development. Latakia is main player, but that sweet citrus wood-smoke is there, but the emphasis is on smoke. Kinda creosote like.

No sweet. Top half of the bowl made me taste latakia with some wonderful Turkish every once in a while. Bottom half tasted of high quality latakia with only an occasional puff of sweet anise.

Bottom Line

I like the older stuff better, but I think that's precisely a function of me not much caring for latakia very much and preferring a balanced smoke.

A lot of people would disagree with me. A latakia fiend would likely be disappointed with the ten year old version, preferring the lat-forwardness of the new blend. For me, the new blend was frenetic--hopping around from puff to puff while the old blend, while complex, just told the story in a more pleasing manner.

Either way, I'm grateful for the opportunity.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by JimVH » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:55 pm

Well written, thanks for taking the time. The Falcon is among my all-time favorites. I support everything you wrote about the old stuff, except I don't know what Hong Kong milk tea is and I have never had anything newer than '09 to compare it to.

I'm disappointed at the thought of them messing with the cut.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by StoicDetective » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:24 pm

Hugodrax, awesome thanks for the heads up in the Falcon tobacco. I've cracked open my tin, but haven't yet smoked a bowl.

Educate me, Hugodrax; did vertical tasting mean one year stacked on top of the other like an accounting comparison? (My 'Occams razor' guess with this)

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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by hugodrax » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:28 pm

JimVH wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:55 pm
Well written, thanks for taking the time. The Falcon is among my all-time favorites. I support everything you wrote about the old stuff, except I don't know what Hong Kong milk tea is and I have never had anything newer than '09 to compare it to.

I'm disappointed at the thought of them messing with the cut.
Thanks, but I know I don't know what I'm doing. Like I said, I could really get used to the stuff if it just had a lot more nicotine. Don't think I'm knocking the new cut--its much more uniform. Remember the old days when lots of us complained about all the stems? Gone.

I've been smoking this stuff out of a Teipen monkey's fist because the pipe is too good for me and consequently it's pretty pristine.

Last thing: milk tea. Its boiled black tea with condensed milk and lots of sugar. Get you to an Asian grocery and buy a can. Its a guilty pleasure, good hot or cold.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by hugodrax » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:37 pm

StoicDetective wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:24 pm
Hugodrax, awesome thanks for the heads up in the Falcon tobacco. I've cracked open my tin, but haven't yet smoked a bowl.

Educate me, Hugodrax; did vertical tasting mean one year stacked on top of the other like an accounting comparison? (My 'Occams razor' guess with this)

Sent via telegraph
Sorry, Stoic (that's fun to say). Vertical Tasting is a wine nerd thing--and I'm just a dago, not a wine nerd, for the record. It means tasting two or more vintages of the same varietal or blend from a single winery. The idea is that of course the climate is different crop to crop and aging will soften the tannins and things in the wine, but there should be something immediately apparent that makes it obvious that it comes from the same winery. Terroir, the hand of the vintners, etc. A signature.

It's pretty obvious here. The interesting thing is that the flavors invert--the prominent latakia fades, the sweet Turkish comes into play--but you can tell they came from the same hand.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by StoicDetective » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:52 pm

hugodrax wrote:
StoicDetective wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:24 pm
Hugodrax, awesome thanks for the heads up in the Falcon tobacco. I've cracked open my tin, but haven't yet smoked a bowl.

Educate me, Hugodrax; did vertical tasting mean one year stacked on top of the other like an accounting comparison? (My 'Occams razor' guess with this)

Sent via telegraph
Sorry, Stoic (that's fun to say). Vertical Tasting is a wine nerd thing--and I'm just a dago, not a wine nerd, for the record. It means tasting two or more vintages of the same varietal or blend from a single winery. The idea is that of course the climate is different crop to crop and aging will soften the tannins and things in the wine, but there should be something immediately apparent that makes it obvious that it comes from the same winery. Terroir, the hand of the vintners, etc. A signature.

It's pretty obvious here. The interesting thing is that the flavors invert--the prominent latakia fades, the sweet Turkish comes into play--but you can tell they came from the same hand.
You comparing the tasting to wine and years/vintage is comparable to scotch. From which, I can link common concepts (region, wet/dry years, blending, etc)

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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by hugodrax » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:59 pm

StoicDetective wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:52 pm
hugodrax wrote:
StoicDetective wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:24 pm
Hugodrax, awesome thanks for the heads up in the Falcon tobacco. I've cracked open my tin, but haven't yet smoked a bowl.

Educate me, Hugodrax; did vertical tasting mean one year stacked on top of the other like an accounting comparison? (My 'Occams razor' guess with this)

Sent via telegraph
Sorry, Stoic (that's fun to say). Vertical Tasting is a wine nerd thing--and I'm just a dago, not a wine nerd, for the record. It means tasting two or more vintages of the same varietal or blend from a single winery. The idea is that of course the climate is different crop to crop and aging will soften the tannins and things in the wine, but there should be something immediately apparent that makes it obvious that it comes from the same winery. Terroir, the hand of the vintners, etc. A signature.

It's pretty obvious here. The interesting thing is that the flavors invert--the prominent latakia fades, the sweet Turkish comes into play--but you can tell they came from the same hand.
You comparing the tasting to wine and years/vintage is comparable to scotch. From which, I can link common concepts (region, wet/dry years, blending, etc)

Sent via telegraph
You know, I was going to say that but I was afraid the whiskey nerds were even more inaccessible. A lot of ways, I think the analogy works better with Scotch.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by sweetandsour » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:04 am

So, you're the one with the fastest PM. I was curious who got the tin.
Thanks for the review. I've had a few bowls of recently purchased MF, and it indeed is a less complex smoke than KL. I'll just leave it at that.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by Cleon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:52 am

That's a good review.

I wonder, did the old tin hiss or pop when you opened it...was it under any more pressure than the new tin due to the aging process?

I've always thought Maltese Falcon was like Westminster with a maple topping of some sort, but somewhat sharp due to the fresh latakia. It's nice to know that it melds together after a few years.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by hugodrax » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:01 am

Cleon wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:52 am
That's a good review.

I wonder, did the old tin hiss or pop when you opened it...was it under any more pressure than the new tin due to the aging process?

I've always thought Maltese Falcon was like Westminster with a maple topping of some sort, but somewhat sharp due to the fresh latakia. It's nice to know that it melds together after a few years.
Oh, yes. The tin was bulged out top and bottom.

I'm glad I'm not the only person that thinks this stuff is flavored.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by JimVH » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:42 am

hugodrax wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:01 am
Cleon wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:52 am
That's a good review.

I wonder, did the old tin hiss or pop when you opened it...was it under any more pressure than the new tin due to the aging process?

I've always thought Maltese Falcon was like Westminster with a maple topping of some sort, but somewhat sharp due to the fresh latakia. It's nice to know that it melds together after a few years.
Oh, yes. The tin was bulged out top and bottom.

I'm glad I'm not the only person that thinks this stuff is flavored.
You're not alone. They advertise it as being "enhanced by a discreet and mysterious spice". I've never thought of the flavoring as spice-like, but it's definitely perceptible. I've also wondered whether or not they add a little humectant of some kind. It seems like it stays moist in the opened tin a lot longer than other blends.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by hugodrax » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:57 am

sweetandsour wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:04 am
So, you're the one with the fastest PM. I was curious who got the tin.
Thanks for the review. I've had a few bowls of recently purchased MF, and it indeed is a less complex smoke than KL. I'll just leave it at that.
I'm not a latakia fan. So when I say that KL is one of my favorite, favorite, desert island, leave me alone because I'm smoking tobaccos, well, I think you get the picture.

From what I've noticed, you smoke a lot more latakia mixtures than me, so I'll defer to your analysis. For myself, I'm not sure if Key Largo is necessarily more complex or whether all the complexity trips my particular trigger.

Regardless, I'd be real interested in your thoughts on KL.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by sweetandsour » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:06 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:57 am
sweetandsour wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:04 am
So, you're the one with the fastest PM. I was curious who got the tin.
Thanks for the review. I've had a few bowls of recently purchased MF, and it indeed is a less complex smoke than KL. I'll just leave it at that.
I'm not a latakia fan. So when I say that KL is one of my favorite, favorite, desert island, leave me alone because I'm smoking tobaccos, well, I think you get the picture.

From what I've noticed, you smoke a lot more latakia mixtures than me, so I'll defer to your analysis. For myself, I'm not sure if Key Largo is necessarily more complex or whether all the complexity trips my particular trigger.

Regardless, I'd be real interested in your thoughts on KL.
Well, it's a long story. One that initiated my comparison thread, which ultimately spawned Cleon's offer of the aged tin of MF. Funny 'ol world. Anyway I've been recently smoking both, and will comment in a TR thread rather than further confuscate this thread.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by Cleon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:17 pm

JimVH wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:55 pm
Well written, thanks for taking the time. The Falcon is among my all-time favorites. I support everything you wrote about the old stuff, except I don't know what Hong Kong milk tea is and I have never had anything newer than '09 to compare it to.

I'm disappointed at the thought of them messing with the cut.
Well, if I ever had a real complaint about GL Pease blends it was with the cut. Sometimes I feel like they just tear it by hand.
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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by StoicDetective » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:20 pm

I smoked my first bowl of Maltese Falcon today. I found the tobacco to burn very cool, my briar never really got hot. I'm thinking I am gonna buy a bunch more.

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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by StoicDetective » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:26 pm

Today and yesterday, I was smoking this blend and a neighbor asked me what I was smoking. Upon inspecting the lit pipe and opened tin he stated that he could smell a 'smoked hickory' on the room note. (Granted, we were outside and he has been blessed with being down wind of me for the last two days.)

Have any of y'all got a smoked hickory off this blend?

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Re: Maltese Falcon Vertical Tasting

Post by sweetandsour » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:39 pm

StoicDetective wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:26 pm
Today and yesterday, I was smoking this blend and a neighbor asked me what I was smoking. Upon inspecting the lit pipe and opened tin he stated that he could smell a 'smoked hickory' on the room note. (Granted, we were outside and he has been blessed with being down wind of me for the last two days.)

Have any of y'all got a smoked hickory off this blend?

Sent via telegraph
Not me. But it's possible, of course.
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