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Escudo Navy Deluxe v Davidoff Flake Medallions

Several months ago Mike @Mjskia sent me an unopened tin of 2004 Escudo, a VaPer blend I had never tried even in its current iteration. The coins were gorgeous—dark gold and brown, with sparkles of sugar (not discernible in the photo). Despite their age they were still moist and pliable. The tin note was overwhelmingly dried prunes.

Since I first received Mike's generous gift, I've smoked at least ten bowls of Escudo in a variety of pipes. The smoke always seemed to start out harsh and flat, not particularly pleasant. It did sometimes improve towards the bottom of the bowl. I generally give the rubbed out coins about 15 minutes of drying time under a lamp or in the sun but, given the improvement down the bowl, perhaps this was insufficient.

Despite 17 years of age, Escudo struck me as less mellow and sweet than even recent vintage Davidoff Flake Medallions or Dunhill/Peterson Deluxe Navy Rolls, both of which I really like. I know Escudo is justly popular and has been given 3 or 4 stars on tobaccoreviews.com by much more eminent and discerning reviewers. But hey, you gotta smoke what you like and like what you smoke.

To refresh my memory, however, I decided to smoke a coin of Mike's aged Escudo and a coin of recent vintage Flake Medallions back to back. (I didn't have an open tin of DNR.) A blind comparison it isn't, but I tried to keep all the variables constant—bowl dimensions, drying time, packing and cadence.

The first smoke was one coin of rubbed-out aged Escudo in a Former egg. It started out harsh and relatively flavorless, as usual, but mellowed out towards the bottom third of the bowl. Not bad, just not particularly pleasant. There was a bit of bitter moisture, which could be either the pipe or the tobacco.

The Flake Medallions, being much younger, were lighter brown in color than the aged Escudo, with a dark center and a more complex tin note, predominantly of pastry. Both coins were cut pretty thin and were in pristine condition. Having finished the bowl of Escudo, I rubbed out a coin of Flake Medallions and packed it in a Wolfgang Becker apple. (I guess this was an apples to eggs comparison!) The smoke from the Flake Medallions was immediately softer, sweeter, breadier and more pleasant than Escudo. It was never harsh and maintained its character to the bottom of the bowl. There was no moisture.

After 17 years, Mike's tin of Escudo must be as mellow as it's likely to be. Since Flake Medallions and Deluxe Navy Rolls are mellow and flavorful right from the get-go, I don't imagine I will be buying Escudo anytime soon. Of course YMMV. View attachment 312178
Gotta go with what works for you! besides being a great write up I found it interesting because my experience with the two blends was the polar opposite of yours! I might need to revisit the DFM at some point.
 

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Gotta go with what works for you! besides being a great write up I found it interesting because my experience with the two blends was the polar opposite of yours! I might need to revisit the DFM at some point.
Thanks for your comment Nathan. I still have a few coins of 2004 Escudo left. Is it possible that 17 years of age can make Escudo more harsh? I wouldn't have thought so. I'm going to follow your dictum and dry it just sort of crispy ;) I guess I'm going to have to try some of the fresh stuff one day.
 

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Thanks for your comment Nathan. I still have a few coins of 2004 Escudo left. Is it possible that 17 years of age can make Escudo more harsh? I wouldn't have thought so. I'm going to follow your dictum and dry it just sort of crispy ;) I guess I'm going to have to try some of the fresh stuff one day.
Yeah, i wouldn’t think that age would make it harsh either? I wonder if this is the AC Peterson version or the STG? I don’t know when STG took over.
 

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Rustica.
Stout, but quite delicious.

Very nice presentation of slices. Plenty of moisture. The tobacco is very dense. Even though it is sliced, it feels solid. I'm a lot buzzed after smoking a bowl with a generous pour of Walking Stick. Definitely give this a try if you want to get a punch in the gut with the nic hit. Burns cool, no bite, and needs a fair amount of relights (it was still pretty wet). This is easily in my top 10 after enjoying only 1 bowl.
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Lakeland Dark.
Smells like musty leather. Tastes amazing.
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It looks a little sad on presentation. Just a mess of broken flake squeezed into the pouch inside the tin. Moisture was about perfect. Rubbed it out a bit, shoved as much as I could get into my cob. And outside me and the pups went. Lit pretty easily. Only needed a relight when the ash on top choked out the cherry. It actually paired pretty well with the Dr Pepper I'm finishing off from dinner. While I enjoy this blend, I'm not sure it would be a blend I'd grab a bowl of on a regular basis. Nic level seems a tick over medium.
 

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Steve @Scap, you write that the LD tastes amazing but that you're not sure it would be a blend you'd grab on a regular basis. Sounds pretty tasty. What is your reservation?
It is tasty, but seemed one dimensional to me last night. You know how some things taste great, but they just don't knock your socks off?
 

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Steve @Scap, you write that the LD tastes amazing but that you're not sure it would be a blend you'd grab on a regular basis. Sounds pretty tasty. What is your reservation?
Following up to my previous response on this blend.
I do intend to give it another try very soon. Could be that my palate was distracted last night.
 

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Steve @Scap, you write that the LD tastes amazing but that you're not sure it would be a blend you'd grab on a regular basis. Sounds pretty tasty. What is your reservation?
I figured it out...this blend makes me feel like I got hit with a full cement truck. It is tasty, but it completely wrecks me. Lol.
 

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If Lakeland Dark knocks you out Steve, then Lakeland Dark would definitely not for me LOL!
In fairness, when i smoked the second bowl, I was coming down with the 'Rona.

Once I heal up, I want to try it in a smaller bowl and see if it is just as strong.
 
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