Thursday saw the last day of our break and the only chance to go out and see more of Amsterdam. Before we set off i gave the De Vrijbugh Cigarillos a go, review below. I originally had wanted to visit the Hajenius store, but we didnt have time to find. Me and Kim had nipped into the Torture Museum before wandering round to kill 25 mins. On the way to the museum i had spotted a “Tabak” sign on a wall, complete with pipe WOO!
When we got to “J D Berkman” i was half disappointed, half excited. A small range of pipes from Petersons/Stanwells, clays, meerschaum basic/carved and some cheap budget pipes. 20-30 pipe tobaccos, some smaller Dutch brands but mainly the same i saw elsewhere, Zippos and gas lighters, lots of cigarettes & HRT (Hand Rolling Tobacco). As with many shops like this, modern smoking trends and profits falling, Berkmans have expanded with souvenirs. Among the pipe tobaccos i found a few gems for pipe club (listed below) and treated my self to a cheap Calabash made in Tanzania (€25) and i was given a very old tin of G Smith & Sons – Old London 100% Virginia.
- Schippers – Special (€6.45 for 25gram)
- Sweet Dublin – Danish Mixture with Irish Whiskey (€6.80 for 25grams)
- Sail – Natural (€6.90 for 50 gram)
- Three Nuns IN A TIN! (€13.45 for 50grams)
The pipe i got is made using cheap African Meerschaum and you can tell, it doesn’t shine and is a little more brittle. But other than its an interesting pipe, the flat bottom does it. I was going to pay an extra €10 for a Peterson with a purple hue to the sand blast, but all the shapes where a little to small for me. The lady behind the counter was informative and friendly to speak to. The shop is still family run, a brother and sister combo keep the tourist and locals smoking what they want. I feel sorry for the tobacconists over there, the set prices have there plus sides. But as a result, nothing can be sold that was not priced at the factory. So no loose blends, not splitting boxes which put a dampener on me trying to get some custom blends. I did however leave one of my sampler packs, for one of there more adventurous customer. Hi if your reading! As you would have expected the shop stocked a large range of Dutch cigars, hand & machine made cigars. I have noticed that Balmoral seem to be a big and popular brand. This was also noticeable at every other tobacconist & store with a large gantry.Singel 528
Tel(020) 623 375 1
De Vrjburgh – Cigarillos
Rolled in : Holland
Wrapper : Brazil
Binder : ????
Filler : ???? (Suspect Java, Cuban or Brazilian)
Size: 4″ x 24
Dry cured Brazilian/Maduro wrapper. Smells and looks like every other Dutch cigarilo, veiny and dry. The aroma of Java and Brazilian leaf, is hard to miss. The fillers looks a lot darker than i expected, bonus! The darker filler was apparent instantly, deep rich chocolate flavours. Plenty of body and shockingly smooth. The flavour remained faily constant subtle hints of honey and coffee from time to time. The cool and smooth caricature didnt last, as the smoke progressed so did the heat. By the time the heat was noticeable, the pepperiness i was hoping for had arrived. By the end the cigar had become a fiery little devil, it might have been hot but very enjoyable. I smoked this with a tea, but i feel an ice cold beer would have been better.
These cigars are not imported to the UK, i dont even know if you can buy them outside of Holland. But we have do have a few alternatives; Hofnar Brazil & La Paz Brazil.
Construction .. 8/10
Burn .. 7/10
Flavour (1/2) .. 8/10
Flavour (2/2) .. 7/10
Overall .. 7.5/10
Now i normally dont go in for cigarettes, but im in Europe. I cant be sat outside a cafe, with a beer and anything but a cigarette. So on day one i got a few, then i ended up with more. I wont try and write write ups for all of them, below is 4 of them
Gladstone – Classic (Red).
Saw a few Danish people smoking these, so i gave them a go. The idea of cigarettes only being in 10′s & 20′s, doesnt exist in Holland. I saw 18, 19, 20, 23, 24 & 26. These come in 24′s & i went for the reds, “Classic Flavour” or Full Strength. Made by British American Tobacco. Smell sweet and toasted, another “American” style blend. Smoke quiet well really, plenty of body and flavour. Not harsh, doesn’t catch on the throat. A smooth and pleasent smoke.
- Surfside – Pina Colada.
On the counter these cigarettes where too tempting. I hadn’t come across the other Black Devils, until it was too late and i just had too. In 19 packs, with some colourful artwork. I dont think we could sell these in the uk. They smell like coconut and sweet, sweet artificial flavourings. Once you light one, you can taste all those flavourings. This doesn’t last, well for me anyways. (Maggy could taste the flavourings throughout.) Great as a novility, but not my thing really.
- Chesterfield – Blue (Lights)
Now i havn’t really smoked Chesterfield before, we already have the reds in the shop. Plus Imperial Tobacco & Phillip Morris are bring out the Blues and Menthol’s around now. This gave me a reason to buy them, again i went for a 24 pack. Now these i actually enjoyed smoking, the flavour is clean and smooth. I seem to find with cigarettes from outside of the UK, they dont catch my throat. I am looking forward to these coming out. I might end up on the straights again from time to time.
- American Spirit – Orange (Extra Lights)
Now these i didnt really enjoy, the yellows are light enough for me. If you want an all natural smoke, thats light. Just roll your own and only use a small amount of tobacco. Ideal for those who like Silk Cut Blue (lighter than Purple but stronger than Silver)
Now all the other tobaccos and cigars, will be reviewed later.