Tinder Box Waffle House Blend: Breakfast in a Bowl
For those of you not familiar with the Great Pacific Northwest – it is wet. Where I live, in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area, it doesn’t rain that often. As a matter of fact it rains only once a year; from October to April. But this year is an added exception. We are lucky enough this year that the rain has continued through all of spring, and into summer. Yipee for us. Too bad all the rain doesn’t property taxes go down. But I digress.
I met with Jeff Packer, Owner of the Tinder Box Tacoma for the last 15 years, just a couple of weeks ago. I had some business propositions to discuss with hi, and the time of the meet was excellent, as he was having a host of friends over for an open-house style cigar event. We had met before in passing, myself as a customer as i have been smoking Tinder House blends since 1989 when I was first stationed at Ft. Lewis US Army base, now part of Joint Base Lewis McCord. In spite of the fact that the store had gotten very busy with the cigar event, Jeff was kind enough to take the time to hear what I had to say: me learning from him with regards to the store, and he learning from me (I hope!) with regards to Social Network Advertising and Marketing. In the end, Jeff agreed to come on as a Sponsor of Briar Meditations, and for us to work together to promote some awesome pipe events this summer and fall.
Last evening was a perfect fall evening. Yes, I know it is summer but it felt like fall. The breeze was slight and from the south-southeast. the leaves and pines were wavering just ever so much, and the air was cool, low 60’s. My wife Sonja, who loves that I collect pipes, but not so much that I smoke them, had taken my son Cutter to his Boy Scout leader’s meeting, and of all that fate would have it – IT WAS NOT RAINING! As soon as Momma left, the other kids asked, “what do you want to do Dad?” My immediate response was, “I want to get outside and smoke a bowl of that Waffle House blend that smells so wonderful.
As a testament to Jeff’s generosity, he offered me some tobacco’s to test. One was a Sutliff Navigator Blend that I reviewed earlier, and another is the Tinder Box own blend – Waffle House. Not only is Waffle House a blend unique to the Tinder Box, it is unique to the Tinder Box Tacoma (TBT). This blend can be had nowhere else, but the Tinder Box in Tacoma. I was excited that TBT had such an exclusive on this blend, and I was equally excited to give it a try. Tonight was the night, and barring more big rain, I was ready.
Sitting at the picnic table under cool gray skies, watching my free-ranging chickens get dive-bombed by the Chimney Swifts fluttering around, I opened up that familiar Tinder Box green zipper style envelope to a face-full of rich dark caramel smell, and maple notes high above them all. I carefully packed a bowl full in my much coveted Kurt Huhn Dark Green Lovat, and reached for my lighter.
The inherent notes of the Waffle House blend are sweet, and as one might expect, breakfast like. When I asked my son he thought that it did smell like waffles or pancakes. I detected an initial aroma of bacon as well, with a light smoky flavor and a maple over-tone. In spite of the fact that the sweetness is so strong, one can still smell the light tobacco tones of a light leaf Virginian, and what appear to be either dark leafed Kentucky or smoked leaf as well. All in all a great total nose appeal, and even though we were outside, and that there was a slight breeze, the aroma was full around us.
Lighting the bowl was an experience. Immediately the air wafted with that sweet breakfast smell carried by the tobacco tones so that the room notes were of a light tobacco aromatic that was very pleasing. The Waffle Blend is clearly cased, and comes from the bag rather moist. I have no problem dealing with a moist tobacco, but sometimes it is a game of trial and error to determine just how that blend needs to be packed for a long, cool burning smoke. Once determining that it likes a looser pack than what I had, the Waffle House burnt consistently and that one bowl lasted at least 20 wonderful minutes.
If you are into aromatics, and I am, this is a great one! Jeff Packer who helped develop and market this blend at The Tinder Box Tacoma, calls this one of his favorites. If you are summer cigar smoker and winter pipe puffer like many seasonal smokers are, this blend may change your seasons!
Because of the heavy case, feel free to purchase in lots of 8 ounces or more. Allowing Waffle House to breath will have no ill affects with regards to flavor, and may in the end be beneficial in drying it out a little. This will only enhance the strength of the flavors. I too am an aromatic aficionado, preferring these relaxing aromas over some stronger flavors. I have been smoking Columbian Mocha and Hazelnut blends, as well as my all time favorite aromatic Norse Gold, all Tinder Box blends for 22 years now. I know for certain that I’ll be adding the Waffle House to a regular rotation, and may even assign this Huhn Lovat to that task.
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