Curivari - Reserva Limitada Classica Epicures
Reminds Me Of My Favorite Cuban
I bought five of these rich, full bodied cigars, and the first thing I noticed about it was how similar it was to a single, most memorable Cuban cigar I smoked many years ago. A good friend gifted me with a real Cuban Partagas Serie D #4 Robusto. It was one of the single BEST cigar experiences of my life! I smoked that incredible cigar all the way down to a nub. Until I could barely hold it without burning my fingers. The Curivari Reserva Limitada Epicure looks just like the Partagas with its simple red band, against a rich looking oily Maduro wrapper. But the similarity continued when I lit the Robusto. The taste starts as a true Maduro should. Rich and full but not harsh. It burns easily and straight, giving up tons of luxurious billows of smoke. Just like the Cuban #4 I smoked it down to a nub that I shoved into a corn cob pipe that I use to finish a really great smoke that I don't want to give up. All I can say is that I will definitely buy more of these soon. It was an unexpectedly GREAT smoke that brought me back to that cold January day with the best Cuban I ever smoked!
Cornell & Diehl - Carolina Red Flake 2oz
This is, simply put, one delicious, all day blend that meets or exceeds everything it's been advertised to be. I bought 5 tins. My only regret is that I should've bought MORE! I simply love this delicious tobacco and I highly recommend it. If they can reissue more of this, I will definitely buy much more.
Warped - The Haunting 2oz
A True Cigar Blend
I'm a person that doesn't like to waste tobacco. So when I'm smoking a really tasty cigar, I'm accustomed to smoking the last short butt of that cigar stuck in a appropriately sized pipe bowl (usually a cob) to finish the stogie without burning my fingers. This wonderful blend tastes exactly like that, but better! I truly tastes like a delicious cigar, as advertised! The Virginia is present, but the Criolo leaf is what's driving the ship. This may be the first true Cigar pipe tobacco. If you love cigars as well as pipes like I do, you will LOVE this blend. As an all day smoke or as a nice change of pace. It seems to have a fairly high nicotine content so it may be best smoked by an experienced smoker. Tons of smoke. Burns easy right out of the tin with the perfect level of humidification. This isn't a pipe tobacco that has a slight component of cigar leaf. It's like a cigar that's been chopped up and blended with just the right amount of VA to make it smoke able in your pipe. Bravo to the team at C&D for this delicious offering for us cigar loving pipe smokers!!
McConnell - Regent Street 50g
Non Sweet Goodness
Regent Street is a satisfying blend that could easily be called an English. It has no noticeable sweetness, slightly sour, but with lots of flavor and a peppery finish. Definitely different than the other Virginia blends in the line. Very tasty and easily an all day smoke.
McConnell - Ready Rubbed 50g
An Interesting Choice.
I must admit that I have recently strayed from my old go to English blends, choosing instead the Virginia, VA/Per, Va/Burley blends. This is a Virginia blended with Orientals that reminds me of a light English blend that doesn't overpower the palate. Kind of a cross over for those that may not prefer Latakia, but want a more English leaning taste. It's delicious, and you will agree with me if you try it. So far, I cannot find a single one of these McConnell blends that I don't like. They're GREAT!
McConnell - Barking Road 50g
These new McConnell blends are quickly becoming my favorite pipe tobaccos. Barking Road is a rich and delicious VA/Burley blend that does not disappoint. The Dark Fired tobacco is prominent with that naturally sweet and nutty richness that you expect in such a blend. Buy many cans of this and many others in this line. You will not go wrong. Believe me!
McConnell - Highgate 50g
Highgate is exactly what it's described to be. A simple, satisfying, delicious VA/Per blend that anyone will love. I'm a fan of flakes and spun coins so I love the choices that these coins offer when packing a bowl. The flavor is excellent, no nonsense, straight forward tobacco with a medium body, that can be smoked bowl after bowl. I purchased eight of these McConnell blends. All in the Virginia, VA/Per, VA/ Burley category, and I LOVE them ALL!! Buy this if you love tobacco.,
Cornell & Diehl - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas 2oz
Surprisingly Great Aromatic!
I'm not generally an Aromatic fan. In fact I usually ignore them routinely. But this wonderful blend has opened my eyes to realize that someone CAN make an Aromatic tobacco that I really like! It's maybe the PERFECT blend. An all day smoke. Light in flavor. Not cloying. And it smokes like a real tobacco should . This will not foul your bowl, leaving a thick cake of humectants and top dressings. Your bowl will be clean and dry, and you will be able to smoke this all the way to the bottom of the bowl with no dottle. Thank you C&D for making me see the light, and producing this GREAT Holiday treat!
Cornell & Diehl - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas 2oz
Finally an Aromatic I Like!
I am generally NOT an Aromatic fan. But there are exceptions to every rule. And this fine tobacco is that exception. It's a light Aromatic, blended with a delicate touch of sweetness, a delicious flavor, and plenty of real tobacco flavor. Best of all it smokes like a regular tobacco that doesn't foul your bowl with humectants, and I doubt that it would "Ghost" your bowl either. It's that rare Aromatic that doesn't annoy me half way through the first bowl. And easily smokes down to the bottom of the bowl without wasting tobacco. Thank you C&D for making a Holiday Aromatic blend the RIGHT way!!
Seattle Pipe Club - Snoqualmie Falls 1.75oz
A Light English Delight
I used to smoke English blends almost exclusively. But recently, more and more I've drifted away from my love of Latakia loaded blends. My tastes have changed. I took a chance on this oddly named blend and I'm glad I did. True to it's description this is a light English cross over blend. It's very well balanced, with an interesting array of flavors, and none of the overly sweet classic Black Cavendish which I continue to reject. This blend has actually re-introduced my taste buds to Latakia without being too cloying, too bitter. I highly recommend you try it.
Odyssey - Habano Toro
An Excellent Cigar At A Bargain Price!
Bundled cigars can be priced very low, but not all bundles are worth even the low price that they cost. This is a noticeable exception. After almost twenty years of buying premium cigars, at sometimes ridiculous high prices, I've come to realize that price alone is not always a reliable indicator of quality. As a mature smoker I find myself more and more enjoying spending far less on well made sticks that are far better than their meager price would imply. Odyssey Habano Toro is a perfect example! These are very well crafted, perfectly rolled smokes with a dead on draw, slightly oily wrapper, with a near perfect straight burn and medium strength, with plenty of flavor. You MUST treat yourself to a bundle or two of these excellent cigars while they're still available. I can't wait to buy more. In the Robusto size and trying the other wrapper leaf. A MUST BUY!!
Books - Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine Spring 2017
We need P&T to exist!
In this Spring 2017 issue of P&T magazine, in the "Pipefuls" column written by William Serad, is a brief article about me, and the work that I do as a Silversmith and Jeweler, making adornments for smoking pipes. I'm grateful to both William Serad and the publishers of Pipe & Tobacco magazine for the attention paid to me. The best way to repay that favor is to remind the entire pipe community that we NEED a magazine dedicated to us, to our hobby, to what we care about. But I've heard rumors that P&T magazine may not exist for much longer because of declining subscription rates. I'd like to remind each and every one of you, my fellow pipe lovers, geeks and aficionados to please subscribe to our only remaining magazine, before it goes away forever.
Dobie's Four Square - Circles 1.75oz
Delicious but not SWEET!
As the always curious smoker of new, or even re-issued blends I chose circles to try first among these offerings. The word Black Cavendish is in my opinion, something to avoid generally. In this case it's use is so delicate that I can barely detect any noticeable or off putting sweetness pushing this blend toward the Aromatic end of the spectrum. It is a very delicious, though rather typical VA/PER with a medium body and a delicate level of Perique spice. Not exceptional, but very enjoyable. Easy to prepare and pack. Lights with relative ease. Do not be confused by the reference to a "sweet" smoke. I'm glad that I wasn't.
Drucquer & Sons - Levant Mixture 100g
Fullest But Not Harsh.
After sampling five of the seven newly reproduced Drucquer blends several have set themselves apart. All of them are excellent. But I was curious about Levant Mixture, described as "fullest of the range", to see how full it was. To it's credit I found it to be full and rich, balanced and complex, but not harsh. Coming from the tin the ribbons are on the dry side, pack easily and light well. I'm not one to use pretentious words to describe the taste, as many others do. I'd simply say that I really enjoyed the rich English blend that is light in it's use of smokey Latakia. Lightly spiced in the retrohale, the flavor did not become tiresome, and invited me to smoke another, and yet another bowl. Levant is excellent, but they all are pretty great, regardless of which you would call "favorite".
Drucquer & Sons - Blairgowrie 100g
Favorite Of The Line!
I bought all seven of the different blends in this new Drucquer line. I've sampled four of the seven so far, trying to take my time with them instead of giving in to my urges. They all seem to be very good, but Blairgowrie impressed me right away as being different than the rest, and really excellent to boot. The others I smoked seemed to be various versions of pretty straightforward English blends of different strength. But Blairgowrie has a unique taste that sets itself apart. Even the cut, a mostly but not fully rubbed out flake, is different. The flavor is full and rich but not harsh. The nicotine levels is medium and the flavor reminds me a little of a rich, full bodied Maduro cigar. Light on the Latakia and Perique. Very well balanced. Delicious and easily something I'd smoke all day. Slow burning, it can be dried a bit to stay lit better. So far, this has impressed me the most, and the first of these that I look forward to re-ordering. Highly recommended!!
Pipe Accessories - Mini Cvault Humidified Tobacco Container
A Correction to my last review.
In my first review I told how the vault that was sent to me had what seemed to me to be a defective lid that didn't fit tightly at all. What's great about this is that I did not call Smokingpipes.com to complain about it, thinking that it wasn't worth it to bother them with it. Soon after, I noticed that I got emails telling me that I had an order for a second CV vault, but I didn't order it. Then I realized that my customer service representative and friend, Mark Pluta, apparently read my review and went ahead and sent me a free replacement, all on his own! The point is that Smokingpipes.com is an excellent company, that stands behind what they sell, and take great care of their customers, even before they are asked to. I was blown away that simply by writing a less than glowing review of the product, plus they read my review so quickly, and responded so immediately. It confirms what I've know for the last ten years of loyal patronage. They are a GREAT company, and deserve their status as the number one source for all that they sell. By the way, the replacement vault works perfectly, and I even managed to adjust and repair the defective one, and it also works well now. It is a handy size to hold tobacco, fitting well in my pants pocket. I'm now looking forward to buying both of the other sizes of this product soon.
Pipe Accessories - Mini Cvault Humidified Tobacco Container
Is It Defective?
I bought this product thinking that it would be a good way to carry around a small amount of one of my bulk tobaccos. First of all you should know that it's pretty small. Smaller than the size of a fifty gram tin, which is good for me in this case. But when I got the product I immediately noticed that the lid, which is described as having a "pressure fit seal" fits rather loosely. It doesn't fit as tight as the fifty gram tin with a twist on lid for instance. In place, you can easily turn the lid, which doesn't inspire confidence that it will keep tobacco fresh. I'm not sure if it's designed to be this way, or I simply got a defective model. I've taken to carrying it with a heavy rubber band wrapped around it, which works, but is not very elegant looking, or how I suppose the inventor intended it to be used. The other two models have snap-down clamps which seem likely to be a tighter fit. A handy gadget, but I won't be buying any more of them.
McClelland - Balkan Beauty 50g
Great Classic Balkan!
It's been awhile since I smoked a Balkan blend. I just haven't recently added a Balkan to my current rotation. Well this wonderful tobacco reminded me how good a Balkan blend can be. Simply put, it Classic. It's tin aroma, the color of the ribbons, the taste are all exactly what I remember Balkan's to be. Like The Balkan Sobranie. I don't know which is better, or if this is an good copy. I just know that I like it very much and will add this back to my current list of things to smoke. It's full and rich without being too heavy. It's not full of surprises, it's just very enjoyable to smoke. I recommend it for Balkan fans, and newcomers alike. After all, it's made by McClelland!
Chacom - Royale 50g
A decent but not exceptionl English.
By definition, as a fan of English blends, this should have been my favorite among these three new offerings from Chacom. Truth be told, I find it a little disappointing. Maybe my expectations were set too high. It's a medium strength, middle of the road English, of which there are thousands like it. Nothing about it sets it apart from the pack. It's not bad. But it's not Great! If you like English blends you will certainly like this. But I doubt that you will remember it for very long.
Chacom - Grand Cru 50g
An interesting Cross-over blend.
This is an interesting VA/Per/Aromatic cross-over blend because of it's minimal use of Cavendish and flavorings. The tin aroma is fairly neutral, with a delicate whiff of sweetness. It comes from the tin with the perfect moistness, and lit easily. The balance of Virginia to Aromatic is maybe 80/10 with 10% or less Perique. I can definitely taste the spice of Perique with a retro-hale. The taste is pleasant, and will not put off fans of VA or VA/Per blends. A nice change of pace treat for the well rounded pipe smoker. Try it!
Chacom - Saint Claude 50g
An Aromatic I actually enjoy!
I'm an English tobacco fan. Not merely a Latakia nut, I'm including a broader definition of English to include Virginia blends and VA/Per's as well. I prefer to taste tobacco, naturally sweet at times, but never flavored to taste like Blueberry pancakes or whatever, and rarely including classic sweetened Cavendish. Based on the description of Saint Claude, I expected the least of this among the three new blends from Chacom. To my surprise, I find it to be an exception to my dislike of nearly everything "Aromatic". The tin aroma is pretty typical, with a pronounced sweetness, yet fairly restrained. The tobacco is not too moist and not "sticky" with top dressings and humectants, and lit easily. The taste is as restrained as the aroma would imply, with gentle sweetness and flavoring and a minimal use of sweet Black Cavendish. It probably won't become my all day favorite, but a nice change of pace instead. If like me you generally avoid Aromatics, you might want to give this a try.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Joseph Rodgers Gentleman's Smokers Knife with Blackwood Inlay
Well Made But Limited
I am a bit of a knife collector. I particularly like this style of pocket knife, with nickle silver or brass bolsters and wood scales. My constant companion is a Case brand, slightly larger version of this, and it's the perfect "Gentleman's" pocket knife. So naturally I was pleased to see these being offered for my pipes. The quality of it is unquestionably high. I love it's diminutive size, as to not take too much room in my pants pocket. The cake scraping blade seems perfect for it's use, and the pick needs little more said than that it's there. I must admit that I'm a little disappointed with the tamper portion of this tool. It's simply too small for a proper tamper. You COULD use this to tamp down the ash in your bowl, but it's about as effective as using the blunt end of any similar sized knife. I'd say that this is an attractive, cool looking, well made pipe tool, but I wouldn't lose my $1.00 nail tamper. This will not be my all purpose, go to anytime pipe tool. You will still need a PROPER tamper as well. I'd only use this tamper in an emergency situation. Too bad! I guess everything has it's compromises.
Samuel Gawith - Brown Sugar Flake 50g
Brown Sugar but not too sweet
It seems to me that just when one maker introduces a great new tobacco blend, another comes out with a near carbon copy of it. Like they're all anxious to catch a hot trend. Brown Sugar is a deliciously rich, full flavored Virginia Flake with just the right level of sweetness, and medium strength, that reminds me of C+D's recently released Bijou flake. Lucky for us to have even more great tobacco to enjoy. The flavor is rich and complex with a perfectly balanced spice combined with sweetness expected of a mature VA blend. Don't be put off by words like "Brown Sugar" or Black Cavendish, for this is NOT an aromatic. Easily an all day smoke, with no noticeable bite. It comes from the tin fairly moist, and I found the flakes a bit tough to rub out, requiring substantial drying to smoke well and stay lit. But this blend is worth the extra effort. It's definitely a candidate for cellaring, if you're into that. Highly recommended!!
Cornell & Diehl - Bijou 2oz
Rich Full Real Tobacco Flavor
Bijou is definitely a Virginia blend that sets itself apart. As a VA lover you pretty much know what to expect from this delicious leaf. Natural tobacco sweetness, with high notes of citrus, slightly piquant flavors. This is decidedly different in that the taste is deeper, fuller with dark tones and a fair level of strength. The tin aroma has some of the typical musky, fig like subtle sweetness, but just this morning when I opened the tin it struck me that it presents itself with the aroma of a freshly opened box of fine cigars. What I'm talking about is REAL tobacco aromas and flavors. Not Maple covered pancakes. If you want pancakes, go to IHOP!! This is rich full bodied and complex with flavors that lean towards the deep end of the pool, with less bright notes, but very enjoyable. Definitely can be an all-day choice. Not a light weight, but not too strong to enjoy bowl after bowl. Highly recommended!!
Cornell & Diehl - The Beast 2oz
Not A Powerhouse!
I found The Beast to be a likeable enough blend, with all of the fruity, earthy rum infused flavor in both the tin aroma and in the early smoking of a bowl, as advertised. What I did not find was the heady, nicotine laden strength that was claimed in it's review by Shane Ireland. The first half of a bowl tastes rich, slightly sweet from the rum and Cavendish, and full of flavor, and very true to the tin aroma (which isn't always true with aromatic blends). But the second half of the bowl looses much of that character turning a bit bitter, definitely stronger, but not in a good way. I found myself choking a bit, with an annoying tickle in the back of my throat. I stuck with it further to see what would happen next, but then realized that I wasn't really enjoying the experience. Also the tobacco is rather wet from the tin which makes smoking that second half of the bowl difficult to keep lit. I tried a looser pack but it continued to be a pain in the ass to smoke that last half to one third of the bottom of the bowl. Because of the casings and rum treatment, the fully rubbed out ribbons are sticky and damp, and even overnight drying with the tin left open did little to reduce it's humidity level, and as Shane pointed out the more you dry it, the more rum you will loose. This is one reason I avoid "Aromatics". Casing and humectants keep the tobacco "fresh", but too wet and I find difficult to smoke all the way to the bottom of each bowl. While I'd call it an Aromatic, it's more of a cross-over. Think of it as a VA/Per with more fruity notes, but not at all your classic sickeningly sweet Cavendish-bomb. I enjoy each first half of each bowl. But for me, that's not enough for me to be passionate about this small batch.
Cornell & Diehl - Straight Up English 2oz
THE perfect all day blend
I bought this because I will always buy a new interesting blend, especially an English, as a fan of variety. The description made me think I'd enjoy the difference of using no Orientals and less Latakia, to actually taste the condiment leaf in a less smokey presentation. I haven't put the stuff down, smoking almost nothing else, since I opened the tin. As advertised it uses the Latakia in a very different, much less prominent way, which allows you to understand the effect that Oriental leaf has on the taste of most English blends. Blends that I've loved for years, and will continue to enjoy. But this particular small batch mixture is very enjoyable, deliciously addictive, and THE perfect all day blend. I really hope that C&D and Smokingpipes.com can be convinced to make more than the originally conceived 400 tins. Regrettably, I only purchased three tins, planning to buy more after tasting it. Not surprisingly it appears that they've sold every tin. I urge them to re-visit or re-issue this again ASAP!! If you love great tobacco, even if you're not a Latakia lover (as I am) please buy this the second, if ever, it returns to their stock.
Pipe Accessories - Pipe Rest for Car
Best Thing for the Car Smoker!
This is one of the best products for a pipe smoker who enjoys smoking in their car, like me. It's so useful and yet so simple. It effectively holds most any straight pipe, as well as a variety of bent shapes as well. I use the two holes provided to secure the stand with two small screws, instead of relying on the double face tape. I wouldn't drive a car without one of these. Highly recommended!!
Dan Tobacco - Roper's Roundels 100g
Can't Stop Smoking This!
Roper's Roundels is a blend that reminds me how delicious a great Va/Per can be. The tin aroma is heady and rich with a Fig Newton, slightly citrusy fruit fragrance. The thinly sliced coins are convenient and easily allow you to break the flakes and load your bowl. The coins are fresh and moist, but light easily and stay lit well. The taste is rich and full but not overwhelming and can be smoked bowl after bowl. I should know. I haven't stopped smoking it since I opened the tin. It features a mild, natural sweetness typical for quality Virginia's, with the spice of all-American Perique. I don't taste the minor core of mild black cavendish but I'm sure it serves to mellow the composition, and all I know is it all works very well. This is a GREAT tobacco and I encourage you to buy this new blend. I even love the generous 100gr tin size. It seems a bit pricey at just over $24 but it's totally worth it. Highly recommended!!
G. L. Pease - The Virginia Cream 2oz
Good Smoke Not very Aromatic
Taste is a subjective thing. So often what one person tastes may be completely missed by another. The Virginia Cream is a perfect example, which I feel has led to some confusion. This tastes to me like a good Virginia ribbon cut blend with a light boozey casing. I DO NOT taste vanilla, or cream soda, or any other flavor that is promised in describing this blend. Even the tin aroma, described as cream soda, beechnut gum or bourbon whiskey, is missing my olfactory senses. All I smell is a VA Navy style tobacco and that's not a bad thing. It smokes like a VA, with the slightest hint of any additional sweetness. Calling this a "Rare for it's genre" aromatic-ish VA is in my opinion a mistake. I for one, am generally put off by the term "Aromatic". But increasingly I'm learning that the definition of THAT word has become a bit blurry. The stuff packs easily, lights well, and tastes fine. I'll smoke it any day, despite the fact that it doesn't "deliver on it's aromatic promise" for me. This bears little resemblance to it's advertised fanfare. But I like it, and if you like VA blends, you'll like it too. If you're looking for an Aromatic, I'm afraid this will disappoint you.
Mac Baren - HH Pure Virginia 1.75oz
I'm a little disappointed.
I usually only get inspired to write a review for a tobacco that I love instantly. I'm no "Expert" but it doesn't take me long to figure out whether I do or do not love a new blend. Based on the advertised description and heralded promotion of this as a must-have, I bought a couple tins to try. After just my third bowl smoked, my opinion hadn't changed from my first bowl. I DON'T love this one. I'll smoke it, but I'm in no rush to buy a bunch of tins so that I don't run out of it. The tin aroma is bland, somewhat reminding me of freshly cut lawn grass. Not offensive, but not rich with the usual sweet, bright notes of many other great VA blends that I love. The taste is true to the tin aroma. Kind of bland, very straight forward, but lacking any noticeable "natural sweetness" that was advertised. My taste buds may be off, but I didn't detect any of the "complexity" that's claimed either. The aftertaste is somewhat sour, and I even found that it caused the back of my throat to "tickle" a bit, causing me to cough and reach for a cleansing sip of coffee. The overall flavor, for me, was what I'd describe as strong and a bit harsh. Not overpowering, but not mellow or pleasant and again lacking the requisite sweetness that Virginia tobacco is celebrated for. It's not bad, or in my mind something to avoid, but I just don't see what all the fuss is about? I've come to expect excellence from Mac Baren products, but for me, this is not their best offering.
Peterson - Wild Atlantic 40g
A Top Notch English From A Pouch
Peterson's Wild Atlantic Traditional English Blend is an excellent classic English. Medium in strength with a subtle use a Latakia, it's a perfect all day smoke. The leaf is fresh but not wet from the pouch, and as you pinch off a plug of the packed ribbon, it packs quite easily. It lights well and smokes cool. You will love this blend and should buy several pouches. The only question is why Peterson decided to make this available only in pouches. It's probably not fair, but I generally equate tobacco in pouches with "Drugstore" brands, that I often dismiss as my "Grandfathers blend". I hope that they soon offer Wild Atlantic in a tin as well.
Vauen - English Blend No. 22 50g
Aromatic Yet Still English
Primarily an English smoker and mostly an aromatic hater, every once in a while I'm thrown a curve ball. When you describe an English tobacco with words like Black Cavendish, Vanilla and Bourbon I'd generally say "No Thanks!". But increasingly I'm finding examples of "crossover" blends that I really like. Vauen's English Blend & Vanilla is just such a blend. The key here is balance. It's deffinitely an English, with aromatic components. While that seems obvious and simple, the difference is that the Cavendish and topping are subtle enough that I don't hate it. The leaf comes from the tin a bit damp, and has the classic sticky feel of an aromatic with top dressing. But it lights easily and smokes fairly cool. I think that it may be the perfect balance of the two catagories in a blend that either English or Aromatic smokers can enjoy. This idea is not an original or new one. Many previous blenders have attempted this and I've tried many of them, and many fell short for me. Recently though a few have come to my attention, such as Moonshine Pipe Co. XXX, that I also really like. If you're looking to broaden your taste I recommend that you should buy a tin.
McClelland - Venture Forth 50g
An English/Perique with Something Different
I'm primarily an English lover. Lover of Latakia and of course the added richness of All American Perique. So I've smoked a lot of this type of blend. But just when you think that you've tasted everything, you try something new (actually I try EVERYTHING new) and you still can be surprised. Venture Forth (silly name) is delicious and balanced and rich. But there's a little something extra, a little magic, that sets this one apart. I'm not an expert who can use fancy words to describe what I like about it. I just like this very much and I like that subtle something extra that McClelland blended into this so common set of ingredients. Buy some and see for yourself as you "Venture Forth"?
McClelland - Calumet 50g
Mellow and Rich and Great!
I really liked this blend. I bought this and Red+Black, and I see a lot of similarity between the two, although I did not do a side by side comparison. I expected (based on it's advertised description) to be mellow, and it certainly is that. The tin aroma is classic McClelland's "tomato soup". Broken into fine ribbons, this is much easier to pack and light than Red+Black. But the taste seems very similar, and that's a good thing. Mellow doesn't mean "weak". This has full flavor, without bite, and seemed to smoke fairly cool for a Virginia. Everything you'd want in a VA blend that you can smoke all day. Highly recommended for Virginia lovers.
McClelland - Red and Black 50g
A Rich Yet Mellow VA Flake
I bought this and McClelland's Calumet looking for another take on Virginia Flakes. Red and Black is exactly the quality tobacco you'd expect from the awesome blenders at McClelland. Upon opening the tin aroma is classic McClelland. Full, rich with a slight vinegar astringency combined with a sweet hint of figs. The flakes are equally mixed between lighter medium brown flecked, and darker brown slices. The flakes are fresh and slightly moist but not wet. You could dry some if you prefer, but I lit a bowlful a half hour after packing it and it lit well despite not breaking the flakes down to dust, with the occasional relight. The flavor is as rich as a great VA flake should be, but it's mellow enough to smoke more than a single bowl. It burns slow and cool, and the flavor doesn't seem to get stronger as you work your way down the bowl. Highly recommended. This will join the list of other great VA flakes, and be one of your favorites quickly.
Lane Limited - BS-005 1.75oz
Something About This English!
I generally don't expect much from tobaccos with names like BS-005, from mega producers of tobacco like Lane Limited. I bought a tin just to try it, but expected just another "English" blend with little to no surprises. I was greatly surprised at how good this blend is. It comes to you fairly dry in th tin (that's a good thing) so it's just the way I prefer. The tin aroma is typical, not exceptional. It lights instanly and the flavor is just what you'd expect from a classic English. But there's something about this blend that I love so much that I haven't stopped smoking it for days. Bowl after bowl. It's flavorful, rich with the perfect amount of Latakia. It defines, for me, what an "all day" smoke is. Now I need to purchase this in bulk, to see how it compares to the tinned version. Highly recommended. Made me rediscover what I've always loved about English blends, after taking an extended break, smoking VA/PER's and VA/Burley blends for a while.
Punch - Signature Torpedo
A new high point for Punch!
I've enjoyed Punch cigars for many years. Their Toro sized "Pita" was a standard and frequent choice for me as an everyday smoke. To me there was something basic (and great) about a well made, no frills, regular guy's cigar like a Punch. Often cigar companies come out with a new line, touting how special this new "superstar" blend will change your entire existence, and in the end it's just a cigar. However, Punch's new "Signature" series IS truly a special cigar. This is a beautifully made, densely packed delicious cigar, with the most perfect, lightly viened, sumptuously dark wrapper with an oily sheen that screams "High End". The taste is balanced, medium to full bodied, and complex. I won't pretend to describe the flavor of leather, or tar, or any other of the commonly used flowery words (I HATE that bull....). All I can tell you is that this is a rich, pleasureable and slow burning cigar that any cigar lover will cherish. I smoked this stick till I was burning my fingers trying to hold it. It's THAT kind of experience. And it's a GREAT addition to the already great Punch line, worthy of the class "Superstar"!
Cornell & Diehl - Cavicchi 2oz
Burley at it's best!!
When I started to seriously sample and learn about pipe tobacco, I somehow grew to dislike many blends with the word Burley in it's description. As I've grown as a smoker, I've come to realize my error. Cavicchi is a great example of how wonderful Burley blends can be. As reported it has a tin aroma of rich tobacco, complimented by a light chocolate and hint of wine astringency. Some might classify this as an aromatic, but it probably doesn't deserve that too-broad label. This should be called a "Great Tobacco" that happens to be an aromatic. The flavors of chocolate and Port (a great combination in real life, along with a rich maduro cigar) don't dominate the Burley tobacco, but harmoniously compliment the taste with subtlety and balance. Kudos to C&D!! Highly recommended.
Cornell & Diehl - Don Carlos 2oz
A light, delicious English Masterpiece!
This tribute to Don Carlos certainly must make the man proud. Don Carlos is exactly what it's advertissed to be. A light bodied, perfectly balanced English blend, with burley (which I'm seeing used more and more these days, and loving it) and a natural light sweetness that makes this such a pleasure to smoke. Easily an all-day choice for me. The tin aroma is delicate. Not overpowered by Latakia yet decidedly English, this is designed to be enjoyed, bowl after bowl, and not a challenge to get through a bowl. I will be buying more of this soon, before it's limited production comes to an end. Highly recommended for English lovers like me.
Cornell & Diehl - Luigi Radice 2oz
Restoring my faith in Cornell & Diehl
I learned early on in my developement as a pipe smoker, to trust C&D to produce some of the best tobacco in the pipe world. I recently had my faith shaken a bit by trusting them to make an aromatic that I could stomach, only to be disapointed by Autumn Evening's cloying, overly sweet, foul tasting reality. The Scuderia Series, and particularly their tribute to Luigi Radice is the C&D product that I've come to expect. This is a perfectly delicious, perfectly balanced tobacco, that I quickly fell in love with (just as quickly as I grew to HATE that maple flavored abomination). Upon opening the tin you are greeted with an inviting, complex aroma of bright, citrusy, almost apple-ish, slightly (and naturally) sweet tobaccos that becon you to smoke them. The perfect moisture level, the blend contains fairly fine chopped flecks and some longer (possible stems) pieces, of a medium brown to tan color. By the aroma alone you might expect this to be "aromatic", but it's anything but. What you will find is a sumptuous, complex but light and easy to smoke blend of tobaccos that will leave you wanting another bowl, and then another. A perfect all day blend for sure. My test for a great tobacco is this: If I had to smoke only one tobacco, for the rest of my life, could this be it? The answer is an unqualified YES!!! Highly recommended for lovers of GREAT tobacco that doesn't need to taste like pancakes and syrup. You know, what REAL tobacco tastes like.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening 2oz
Not a Fan of this type of Aromatic!
I am NOT A fan of this type os Aromatic tobacco. So you may wonder WHY I bought a tin? All I can say is that I was suckered into buying it because of the promotion, the packaging, and my deep respect for MOST of what C&D produces. I like to try almost everything in pipe tobacco, at least once. Consider myself a connoisseur and I believe that I shouldn't judge a thing until I've tried it. Big mistake. This blend is EXACTLY why I generally don't like many aromatics. The taste of Maple, or Brown Sugar or pancakes simply does not belong in my pipe bowl. I ate pancakes this very morning. I don't need to smoke them. The taste of this heavily sweetened, overly flavored tobacco was so cloying that I can't get the unpleasant taste out of my mouth yet. The classic "Cavendish" sweetness that I most hate is redolent in this blend. If you love Captian Black White or any other of the thousands of cheaply made, overly sweet stuff your grandfather smoked for thirty years, then you will love this. I'm an English, Balkan, Va/Per, Va/Burley, straight Virginia smoker, and I know what I like. I also know what I hate, and this personifies everything I HATE in pipe tobacco. I hope I can get the taste out of my mouth some day, and I pray that I can rid my new Nording Prince of it's fouling aftertaste. Buyer BEWARE!!
Rattray's - Wallace Flake 50g
Another Excellent Flake
Wallace Flake is a delicious, medium bodied yet flavorful blend. The description of "plum aroma" is very subtle, and quite enjoyable, and should not be a reason to avoid trying this fine tobacco. This falls easily into the catagory of an all-day flake. Slightly moist in the tin, yet lights well and stays lit, once broken fairly well. Drying it a bit would certainly do well if that's your preference. Either way, this is another excellent offering from the fabled house of Rattray.
Rattray's - Stirling Flake 50g
Full Bodied but Not Too Heavy!
Stirling Flake is a full bodied, deliciously balanced flake that IS strong, but much tamer than Peterson's Irish Flake. I've tried to enjoy Irish Flake. Even WANTED to enjoy it because it's clearly intended for the experienced smoker who's up to the challenge of that strong a blend. But time after time I found that it's a little too strong, and I had to admit defeat and forego smoking it. Stirling is my idea of a FULL flavored smoke that won't blow you away. It's dark and rich, with a touch of subtle sweetness, but it's not ALL strength. More balanced and frankly much easier to enjoy. Not for the novice, yet highly recommended.
Rattray's - Sir William 100g
A Variation on a Great Line
Rattray's Sir William is a rich, full bodied blend with a slightly"flavored" difference. I wouldn't call it "sweet" but the slight addition of a hint of whiskey is quite enjoyable. Kind of like rum in a Navy Flake, you can't classify it as aromatic, but if you want that additional flavor along with a very tasty, balanced, and fairly full tobacco blend, this is for you. I enjoyed it just as much as the rest of these new blends from Rattray, which is totally expected. An enjoyable variation and highly recommended.
Rattray's - Red Lion 100g
A Nice Yet Unremarkable English
I'm smoking Red Lion as I write this, and it seems to me that this is an excellent blend for the English lover who doesn't want to be challenged. And that's not a put-down or criticism. It's well balanced, with a slightly spicy background. Not overly laden with Latakia (though I love Latakia) I could easily see myself smoking bowl after bowl of this, not tiring of the flavor for it's medium strength, yet flavorful taste. A credit to the fabled name of Charles Rattray. Buy some!!
Rattray's - Macbeth 100g
A Simple Yet Great Smoke!
Whoever described this delicious blend got it dead-on right. It's a very simple blend that SIMPLY WORKS!! It might be the definition of an all-day smoke. And it proves that simplicity is a virtue, when it's done properly. There's a slight hint of natural sweetness in the tin aroma, and the subsequent lighting. The two components play perfectly toegether harmoniously. In a world that seems to favor complicated and exotic, over basic and simple, score one for SIMPLICITY!! Highly Recommended!!
Barling - 1812 Garnet Medium 50g
Slightly Sweet and Complex
Barling's Garnet is a medium strenght, subtly sweet and deliciously complex blend which I'm quick to love. The first light brings you a touch of sweetness, as the tin aroma would indicate. As you smoke through the bowl I found a variety of flavors and enjoyed them all. No one-note smoke, it's everything a well balanced blend should be. I smoked this out of a small bowled Parker bent Bulldog, and couldn't wait to refill my bowl and smoke more. Highly Recommended!!
Barling - 1812 Tradition Full 50g
A Delicious and Full English
Barlings new Tradition blend is exactly what it's reporrted to be. Opening the tin, your immediately struck by the rich and fragrant aroma of a truly full strength English tobacco. The aroma is either enticing and wonderful, or intense, overpowering and a little offputtinng if you're a newcomer to English blends. The tobacco is slightly moist, but not too wet, but you may want to let it dry a bit before lighting. Out of the tin it lights well and you're instantly presented with the wonderful perfume of a heavy Latakia laden blend. Insence like and smokey, this is an unappologetic, bold, but not overpowering treat. Highly recommended!!!
Mac Baren - Modern Virginia Loose Cut 100g
The Greatness of Mac Baren
This latest offering from Mac Baren is one great smoke. I'm not generally a dedicated Mac Baren smoker, but this blend reminds me that I probably should be. Just about everything they produce is of the highest quality, and Modern Virginia is no exception. Not being an aromatic fan in general, I was a little hesitant to try a blend described as having a top flavor of ripe fruit. I want my tobacco to taste like "tobacco", not Blueberry Pancakes. But this is a predominately Virginia with a very subtle extra sweetness that is not cloying, and very enjoyable. The aromatic component slowly disipates as you work your way down the bowl, but the overall taste profile is just very easy to enjoy. It's hard to say which version I like better, the rubbed out 100g tin or the flake. Maybe the loose cut is a little brighter, but both are great. This is exactly the kind of tobacco that I find myself appreciating more and more. A relatively mild yet flavorful blend that doesn't challenge, but simply pleases. A top choice as an all-day smoke! Highly recommended!!
Grand Croupier - Double Down
I bought Double Down (as well as Boneyard) just to try and see how bad or good these pot luck blends could be. I wasn't in love with the supposed "English" Boneyard, but was pleasantly surprised with how good Double Down is. Basically a Burley mix, I was very pleased with the medium bodied flavor of this blend. I found the flavor somewhat "cigar-like". Just the farmiliar flavor of straight tobacco. Nice. The kind of thing I could actually see myself smoking (if I had to) day after day for years. One note: these blends are the ENDS of many bags of tobacco and therefore are chopped rather fine, almost dust-like, and require carefull packing without getting a mouthfull of dust on your tongue on your first draw. Also, because of the fine cut it burns pretty quickly, needing frequent tamping. On the other hand, it stayed lit well. Better than I expected, and something I will buy again.
Grand Croupier - Boneyard
Not Bad-Not Great
I'm not the type of smoker that normally even consider buying a "bargain" bag of pot luck pipe tobacco. I can afford regular pipe tobacco (it's already cheap enough) and I'm not a guy who'll smoke just about anything bowl after bolw, day after day, for twenty years just because it's cheap. But I was intrigued to try some of these Grand Coupier bulk tobaccos, because I think it's important to "try" everything, to be a well rounded, educated pipe smoker. Billed as an assortment of English blends, Boneyard seemed like a good choice, what with my preference for Latakia laced tobacco. I was somewhat disappointed that in this particular batch, there seems to be little if any Latakia smokiness or fragrance. The flavor is hard to describe other than to say that I found it quite strong, definitely not for the novice smoker. The flavor's not bad, but reminded me of a double Ligero cigar with all strength, but not a complex or enjoyable flavor. Also yoou should know (and I should've expected) that this is made up of the ENDS of many different tobaccos and therefore comes to you as almost dust. The tiny fragments, and virtual dust that you'd have at the end of a bag of bulk tobacco. This makes it difficult to pack a bowl without a mouthfull of tobacco on your first draw. You need to pack the bowl fairly tight, which makes the draw a little tight as well. The stuff burns fairly quickly too so frequent tamping helps keep the bowl lit. Once lit it was not difficult to keep it going. Overall I'd rate this experiment a disappointment, but not a failure.
Sutliff - Breckinridge 1.5oz
A Great Burley Blend
When I started to seriously smoke pipes and pipe tobacco, and began to learn as much as I could about the broad spectrum of varieties and types of tobacco, I quickly learned that the word "Burley" was not my choice of something to smoke. Burley was old fashioned,and bitter, and every time I tried to like a Burley blend I was reminded why I don't like anything called burley. But I have grown and studied ALL the choices, and over the years I came to understand that there are really good uses for Burley, as a blending component and even in a tobacco comprised entirely of Burley. This is just such a tobacco. When I opened the tin, I'll admit that I wasn't impressed by the tin aroma at first. My first impression was "Oh no, this was a mistake to buy." I avoided actually smoking it for several days. But eventually my curiousity got me to pack a bowl, in a Meerschaum lined pipe. Upon lighting, I was instantly pleased with the flavors. Kind of earthy, with a very subtle, natural sweetness, I quickly realized that I really liked this blend, not a little, but a LOT. It burns well, right out of the tin (no drying needed), and burns fairly quickly. I know this because when that first bowl ended I was disappointed, and I quickly re-packed the bowl and smoked a second, and then a third and on and on. It's been two days and I haven't grown tired of the taste yet. This is not a complex blend. It's straightforward and simple and great. This is why our Grandfathers smoked Burley blends all day long. If you're like me, and are suspicious of Burley tobaccos then you MUST try this stuff. I'm pretty sure that you'll love it, and will be as surprised as I was. Highly recommended!!
Sutliff - Lord of the Manor 1.5oz
I LOVE THIS STUFF!!
I like to vary my smoke, to keep things interesting and to avoid boredom, but I'm primarily an English lover. After taking a recent brake from them, this blend reminded me why I love English/Latakia tobacco's. It starts off fairly average, with little surprises and medium body. A great all-day English. But what I find unexpected is the changes in flavor as you work your way down the bowl. As the Latakia becomes less prominent, I found that I really enjoyed what was left. I can't describe it exactly, kind of a "weedy"/grassy character. But I didn't put this tin down for a solid week. Not remarkable, but really very good. Buy several cans of this.
Sutliff - Court of St. James 1.5oz
Easy to enjoy!
This is a an easy to enjoy, all day VA/PER blend. The cut is an interesting mix of partially broken flakes, so it's ready to pack right out of the tin. With the perfect moisture level, it lights easily and stays lit fairly well. The flavor is delicious, flavorful, with a medium body and excellent balance with just the right amount of Perique spice. At $6.99 a tin, you should buy a bunch of this highly recommended tobacco.
Orlik - Golden Mixture 50g
Not Too Aromatic
Of these four new Orlik blends, I enjoyed Golden Mixture and Racing Green for their more sparing use of Black Cavendish. Much less sweet and "Cavendish-ey" (which I hate) these both are mellow, medium bodied and delicious all day smokes. Recommended for both novice and experienced smokers.
Savinelli - Brunello Flake 100g
An Excellent Flake
This is a very good, full flavored flake tobacco with complexity, but not a lot of surprises. I like Virginia flakes of this type (Va/Per, Va/Bur) and this is a excellent example of the genre, but for me it didn't set itself apart. Still I'd easily recommend this to any flake fan.
Savinelli - Essenza Cipriota 100g
A Hit from Savinelli
This blend is another great example of an unexpected new era in Savinelli tobacco prominance (at least for me). This delicious, medium bodied blend is happily more English than Aromatic. The ready rubbed, ready to use (no dying needed) exotically fragrant tobacco packs easily and burns well. It has the perfect level of slight sweetness and I found it quite addicting. I can't decide whether Doblone d'Oro or this is my favorite (it depends on the particular day) of the three new iterations, but all three are great. Highly recommended!!
Savinelli - Doblone d'Oro 100g
A Surprise for Savinelli
I've smoked as many different brands and blends as I can over the years to develop a well-rounded, knowledgeable palate. When you think of brands like Mc Clelland, Mac Baren, C+D and many others, you've come to expect great things. But while I own and love many Savinelli pipes, their tobaccos have never been memorable. Until now. This is a fantastic blend with complexity and depth, medium strength and an all-day likeability. The coins are fragrant, with the perfect level of moisture (leaning towards dryer) and easy to rub out. All three of these new tobaccos instantly put Savinelli at the top of my conversations about "Great" tobacco producers.
McClelland - Piper's Choice: Top Hat 50g
A Great Va/Per
This is one delicious tobacco. They were accurate in describing the liberal use of Perique, which is prominent and quite enjoyable in this slightly sweet and spicy blend. I've become slightly addicted to this stuff. I can't describe it with fancy words but suffice it to say that this tastes just "right" to me, bowl after bowl. BUY THIS!!!!
McClelland - Piper's Choice: Black Tie 50g
A nice change of pace.
The word "crossover" can mean many things. This is a crossover blend that's less "aromatic" than many, with just a slight tilt towards sweetness. The Cavendish that's used does not overpower the blend. The Perique is evident but in balance with the other players. The result is a very enjoyable, delicious tobacco that improves as you work your way down the bowl. I smoked it for two days straight, so I'd call this a great all-day smoke and recommend it highly.
Edward G. Robinson - Edward G. Robinson 1.5oz
A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!!
I've always been intrigued by older, long gone blends, somehow expecting that because it was once considered a "bread and butter" standard by many, there MUST be something to it. Well this terrible tasting tobacco proved me wrong! I don't know what those old-timers were thinking, but I found this simply unsmokeable. The initial first lighting started off OK, but very soon I was assaulted by a strange and quite unpleasant aftertaste that forced me to empty the bowl, lest the foul flavor ruin a perfectly lovely pipe forever! I have tons of respect for Edward G Robinson, but this blend doesn't speak well of his legacy. Everything I always hated about "aromatics"!! Thankfully there are many better, more enjoyable blends in the catagory.
Comoy's - Cask No.5 3.5oz
I really like this rubbed-out medium body blend. I found this tasted very similar to the Single Coin Sliced, which I loved, but personally I can't detect any Bourbon top dressing. If it's there, it's very subtle, and doesn't push this towards the aromatic side. It's just good tasting and could easily be your all-day choice! Definitely recommended!
Comoy's - Cask No.7 3.5oz
Richness of Coins!!
This Va/Per blended coin-cut blend is rich with the combination of a Virginia's subtle sweetness and the slight spice of Perique, but don't be detered by the description of "Black Cavendish" in the mix, for this is definitely NOT an aromatic. Rich, full, delicious!! Easy to rub out, not too moist right out of the can, but you might want to dry it a little to make it easier to stay lit. So far this is my favorite of this line. Great! Buy this!!
Cornell & Diehl - Five O'Clock Shadow 2oz
Easy to Love Cake!
This blend seems to be a part of a recent "trend" or "revival" of tobacco's press into cake form. Not surprisingly, C+D has come up with an awesome, delicious, cool smoking cake. With the perfect level of moisture, easy to slice or crumble, and with a dense, full yet not overpowering flavor and strength, this is right at the top of this recent crop of crumble-cake blends. Highly recommended!!
Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 1882 Founders Blend 3.5oz
A Great Brit Blend!!
First I want to say that all of the blends in this line are excellent. The early blends to arrive proved how good aromatics can be. But being an English and Latakia lover primarily, I was pleased that Stokkebey finally put their master blender's powers to create a unique and pleasurable English with complexity and balance. Not your average English, among a crowded field of also-ran blends. I highly recommend this wonderfull treat!!
Drew Estate - 7th Avenue Blonde 50g
My Least Favorite!
Much like the others this is mildly sweet, with a more assertive vanilla presence, and while I'll smoke this, it's not my favorite. Unlike the others, this one reminds me of your average, unremarkable aromatic. Not bad, but not great either!
Drew Estate - Central Park Stroll 50g
This Tastes Good!
I've never strolled through Central Park on a lazy summer afternoon, and yet I really like this blend. Just as described, it's vanilla/chocolate/caramel flavors won't overwhelm you, but are quite enjoyable.
Drew Estate - Grand Central 50g
Complex and Tasteful!
I found this blend, much like the rest of this series, enjoyably mild, not too sweet, with a fair amount of complexity. Hints of vanilla, then chocolate, then something not easily described, but good. These blends aren't meant to challenge, they're meant to relax and enjoy.
Drew Estate - Harvest on Hudson 50g
Fruit Not Overdone!
One of my long-held axioms is that tobacco should taste like TOBACCO, not Blueberry Pancakes! But I really enjoyed this lightly fruity, mellow and subtly sweet blend. It was my first sampling of this line and I was encouraged by how good it was, a good sign of what the rest of the line would bring. Highly recommended, even if you don't LOVE aromatics!
Drew Estate - Toasted Black Cavendish 50g
Not your average Cavendish!
I'm primarily an English/Balkan, Virginia and Va/Per smoker and have avoided aromatics for years, especially anything like a "classic" Black Cavendish, which I find overly sweet and not good. This however is Not very sweet and Not a Black Cavendish, but rather a subtly sweet, mild aromatic that I like, and could see many enjoying as an all-day companion. While there's not a lot of complexity here, I enjoyed this as a change of pace. Simple and good!
Drew Estate - Meat Pie 50g
A tasty Classic English
This is a very tasty, fairly straightforward Classic English blend, with lots of flavor, well balanced, easily likeable if not particularly original. Surprisingly good, from a line dominated by aromatics.
Peterson - Hyde Park 50g
A Wonderfully Diffenet English
I didn't know what to expect from this tobacco described as both "English" and with flavor components of both Rum and Maple. What I found was a complex, deliciously flavorfull smoke. To me, there's little here that tastes like Rum or Maple in the "aromatic" sense. Rather these elements remind me of the "Lakeland" style English blends, but more subdued and less cloying as I've found others to be. It might be the perfect blend of what I want as an alternative to the sea of standard English fare (of which I'm a steady consumer). Very reminiscent of Irish Flake, but with less nicotine punch so you can actually smoke more than one bowl without having a heart attack. Be carefull to sip this slowly because there's still plenty of strenght, and this might not be recommended for the novice smoker. It comes from the tin fairly moist, with a wonderfull mix of cuts including partially broken flake, which you might be tempted to further breakup and air dry to aid in lighting. While some drying may be your choice, enjoy this as it comes from the tin to fully enjoy the complex flavors and slow down your puffing and the burn. Highly recommended to lovers of full bodied tobaccos whether it's pipe tobacco or cigars. Hyde Park actually reminded me of a cigar-ish blend at certain moments, without intending to. I'm a former cigar-nut, that sold my soul to the hobby of(actually devotion to) pipesmoking and collecting. Enjoy!!