The venerable Royal Yacht serves many a pipe-smoker as a staple, since it presents the ultimate rarity, a high-powered Virginia-based blend that also manages to be flavorful, smooth, and sweet. Famous for its unique topping — a combination of rum, Tawny Port, citrus, and possibly honey — this blend has delighted smokers since 1912 and proves to be the most divisive blend most will encounter.5 Comments
In the world of tobaccos, few more divisive choices exist than the Royal Yacht mixture from Dunhill. Composed of a base of Virginias sweetened during curing and lightly cased with a plum-orange backdrop, Royal Yacht extends the line of Dunhill tobaccos that begins in the Elizabethan Mix: strong natural flavor that seems one-dimensional until the smoker realizes that the dimension is in the tobacco flavor, not in the mixture of differently-cured tobaccos itself or aromatic additives. This is a dramatic contrast to other Dunhill tobaccos like Nightcap, in which the interplay of spicy, sweet and surly tastes creates a kind of coordinated riot; in Royal Yacht, a burley nuttiness and warm Virginia taste are mated to a sweet Virginia and then unified under that rather unobtrusive casing, creating a yeasty and hay-tasting classic Virginia smoke.
It should also be mentioned that, unlike the aromatics — tobaccos in which you taste flavoring more than the leaf, usually vanilla, cherry, peach, chocolate and various alcoholic beverages — Royal Yacht wins you over with the taste of its tobacco and its raw, untamed power. The name may be accurate since this would be the perfect complement to a smooth sea with moderate wind on a large, fast boat with able-minded companions. As a result of its strength, and the lack of variety in its taste, many smokers flee from this blend, hence its divisiveness. For the others, it is 1.76oz of paradise that lights easily and burns down to insubstantial white ash. Its few flavor components — two Virginias, perhaps a hint of burley, and a casing — meld together into a single taste which enhances its composite parts into more than their sum. It produces big billowy clouds of smoke which some claim are rather harsh and stinky, but this is why it is designed as an outdoor tobacco. Like a fine espresso, its rich taste must be savored and appreciated, but changes little throughout the bowl. The subtlety of its flavor within the context of so much power is what makes this tobacco a simple pleasure and work of art.
Much has been said about the Scandinavians taking over production of this tobacco from the English brand Murray. While the first few years seemed a bit unstable, with them taking time to get the hang of things, production at the current time seems of much higher quality and dare I say it, may be on par with the original. During its final years as Dunhill producer, Murray itself engaged in some questionable methods and spotty quality, so the transition needed to happen and now it seems finally done. Many people will hate Dunhill Royal Yacht no matter what the blender does simply because it is not fancy, like most of the over-the-counter (OTC) and boutique tobaccos that people fetishize on internet social media and message boards. If you love the feel of rope in your hand and its scent of organic fiber crafted with power into something functional but elegant, you may enjoy Royal Yacht. It evokes — and thus points us in the direction of restoring — a simpler, manlier time when life itself was viewed as good without endless poking, prodding and configuration to make it safe for nervous humans. This is a good tobacco to throw in your pocket and head out into the deep woods or open sea with, carrying your life in the palm of your hand and eyes open to the future.