Flake #556 is one of the stronger, fuller VaPers that has come across my briar. The pouch offers a deep, sweet/sour scent. There may be some McClelland Virginias in the blend based on the scent. I prefer to rub it completely out and give it about ten minutes of dry time. The smoke is somewhat reminiscent of Escudo, but in some ways deeper. Fans of Escudo, fuller VaPers will want to try some #556. Also, English smokers looking for a full flavored Vaper will find a home here. This is a very well done flake that should age wonderfully. Highly Recommended!
The red, bright and stoved Virginias provide a range of inherent aspects: some tangy dark and stewed fruit, a little grass, bread and tart and tangy citrus, a bit of earth, and slight sugar, wood, and fermentation notes. The very noticeable earthy, woody perique offers a fair amount of spice, raisins, dates, plums and figs. The nic-hit is medium. The strength and taste levels are just shy of being in the middle of medium to full. No chance of bite, tongue tingle or harshness exists here. It does have some roughness. Burns cool, clean and slow with a deep, rich, consistent, mildly sweet and rather spicy, rugged, savory deeply rich, bold flavor from start to finish. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires a fair amount of relights. Has a very pleasant, lightly lingering after taste, and stronger room note. Not an all day smoke, and not as sweet as some VaPers, but it’s certainly repeatable for the experienced VaPer aficionado. More of a three and a half star blend.
This stuff is flat out excellent. First off, I usually smoke English/latakia blends and have never really got hooked on already rubbed out Vapers/virginia blends. I find the latter to be too "light" of a smoke and I move on to other blends. Flakes are another matter and I have found them so good I like to work them into my Eng/Lat rotation now and then.
I am smoking a bowl as I type. This is actually my second bowl of 556 today. My first bowl was a batch of 556 I had cellared for a year and the bowl I'm smoking now is from a pouch I picked up in beautiful Framingham, Ma last month. I have smoked this fantastic mix fresh from the store, at the six month mark and at the one year mark. Let me contrast the experinces.
#556 right out of the bag is a just an excellent TOBACCO experience. The taste is strong, smooth tobacco. The smoothness of the smoke is remarkable as is the strength. 556 basically tastes to me like tasty stong virginias with a touch of perique. And a nicotine kick. Just straight tobacco taste. This is the kind of smoke that seperates the men from the boys in the pipe smoking world.
#556 aged for a year in my cellar is another equally great experince. 1 year old 556 can best be described as ATOMIC. The bright virginias have darken and the three tobaccos are now almost indistinguishable. The smoke is still very smooth but the flavor is much heavier and stronger than "fresh" 556. One bowl gave me a nicotine buzz so I wouldn't rate either as all day smokes. 556 at the six month mark was, obviously, in between the two.
I was given a good sized sample of this from a forum friend who seen I was enjoying Flake 558. I must say that as much as I enjoyed 558, I liked 556 even more. But the two are different enough leaving room for both in a rotation. Where 558 is mostly about the Kentucky, 556 is a sweet, spicy and hearty Vaper.
If you bemoan Vapers that lack body, then this is the smoke for you. Very full and satisfying. The Virginias are sweet and earthy, the perique is just above a condiment providing spice and backbone. It is really unlike any other Vaper I have tried. Although I have sworn off buying anymore tobacco, I may have to break that to get a pound or so of this into the cellar. Great stuff.
As a former cigarette smoker, I used to roll Peter Stokkebye Danish, Norwegian, Amsterdam or London shag toboccos with a Perique I'd get at Leavitt & Peirce in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA). This combination was hard to quit, especially with the Danish Export, which is a blend of different Virginia tobaccos from three different continents. I haven't had a cigarette in two months and do not plan on starting again. As newbie to the briar brotherhood, I found myself at Watch City once again, this time to buy some Churchwarden, but also picked up some of this #556. It's wonderful. The flavor is mouth-filling and smacks of sweetness and a deep, leathery earthiness from the Perique that lingers on the palate. I felt wonderfully relaxed soon after sparking a bowl, which I attribute to nicotine. It rubs out well and it packs and lights easy. It produces volumes of thick smoke, stays lit, and the room note is pleasant. If you're a Virginia-Perique fan, I highly recommend this.
Flake 556 is a VAPer with a strong, figgy Perique. If you want a really great, full-flavored VaPer, this one is for you. Why don't other blenders make flake like this? The flake is thick, like a quarter-inch and easy, easy to break apart and rub out. The tobacco taste is yummy, and boys and girls, this blend has nicotine. As Tom Bombadil noted, this ages in a heavenly way. I have smoked it at six months and 12 months and it just gets better.
Those who would like this one better with a less-forward Perique should try Flake 558 from the same blender.
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