The Blue Cheese Effect

Now, THAT’S an intriguing title, right? You’re probably wondering how that relates to tobacco and cigars? Well, as you may have picked up, I’m one of those people who has a habit of squeezing pop culture references into conversation. One that comes up surprisingly often is a quote from classic US Sitcom, 3rd Rock from the Sun. For those not familiar with the show, the quote comes where one character is describing the often abrasive, but ultimately lovable main character and she compares him to a piece of “Really stinky cheese.” I don’t remember the quote exactly but it goes something like this:

“Have you ever had a piece of really stinky cheese? I love it. You get all these rich layers of complexity and deep flavours, but to get it, you have to put up with the stink. That’s kind of what being with you is like.”

The reason this comes up so much is that there are a lot of products out there that are ultimately very rewarding and totally delicious, but may initially put off first timers.  So, this week, I’m going to run through some of my favourite “Stinky cheeses” to see why they’re worth persevering with.


Twist Pipe Tobacco

This is a time-tested tobacco that is favoured by many experienced pipe smokers. It’s quite naturally off-putting if you’re not familiar with it; dark, oily, somehow slightly evil looking tobacco, coiled into a snakelike rope with names like “BLACK XXX” adding to the air of intimidation. The cold aroma is deep, dark and powerful and the nicotine content is sky high; It’s easy to understand why less experienced smokers might shy away.

However, for the more experienced smokers, twist can be extremely pleasurable to smoke. Similar to plug tobaccos that I talked about last week, the act of slicing and rubbing twist into a smokeable mixture is an incredibly relaxing process. The high nicotine content also means you need to really take your time when smoking this tobacco. The Black variants are actually quite mellow and sweet, taste wise, whereas the Brown twists have more of a spicy, complex, almost cigar-like character.


On its own, Latakia smells quite terrifying. Intense tingly smokiness and an obviously high strength. The idea of filling your bowl with it isn’t very appealing. But that’s sort of the point. It isn’t meant to be smoked alone, but is intended as a “Blending Tobacco”. When added to a blend, it adds a layer of silky, rich complexity. There are plenty of awesome blends on the market that use latakia for flavour, such as Scotch Mixtures, Balkan Mixtures and a majority of the Rattray’s range. However, you can also buy it on its own to add some depth to any other blend. I like to keep a pouch of this handy at all times, just in case I end up with a blend that doesn’t have enough oomph for me.

Peated Whisky

Ok, I know this is a tobacco and cigar blog, but we also sell whisky. Also, peated whisky is easily the biggest “Marmite” product that we sell; You either love it or hate it! So, I had to give it a mention here. I’m also a relatively recent convert to peated whisky, so I can understand why it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. More often than not, peated whisky comes from the Islay region of Scotland. Common tasting notes include Iodine and TCP, so it’s not the most appealing of things for the uninitiated! However, once you adjust to the slightly unexpected flavour, you’ll find that no other type of whisky can rival Islays for the different layers of flavour and complexity. Many are like an explosion of flavour across your palate that linger for a satisfyingly long time. When combined with something sweet like sherry or bourbon casks, it can also give a delightful sweet and salty character. Popular Islay whiskies include Caol Ila, Ardbeg and our very own Stalla Dhu, which – as I’m sure we’ve mentioned – recently won a silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge.


So those are my biggest “Stinky Cheese” items. Have you been avoiding trying them because you found them off-putting? I hope this encourages you to give them another try. If you do: Let me know how you got on!

Until next time: Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


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