Peter Stokkebye - PS52 Proper English
Now On To English
My quest for the summer was to diversify my tobacco rotation. For most of the last 20 years or so my rotation was fairly one note and totally burley. While I'm not completely unfamiliar with English blends, the English wing of my rotation was without exception reliable American English blends like Epiphany and Billy Budd. Even my EMP clone of choice, C&D Good Morning had been slightly burleyfied. Definitely nothing wrong with any of these blends but what I lacked was a. traditional, no kidding English blend. Where better to begin my search than Proper English? It's unmistakably English but wonderfully tasty with great smoking manners and a perfect Latakia content (noticeable but not a Lat bomb.) The orientals and Virginia work well together giving it the creamy texture and the quintessential leathery spice taste and smell. Call me crazy, but I actually got a bit of a Squadron Leader vibe from this one. If you're looking for an all day English that delivers quality way beyond its price point, look no further.
Cornell & Diehl - Good Morning 2oz
This Stuff is the Truth
Definitely comparable to EMP in that it's Oriental forward with condimental levels of Latakia. That said, this stuff is clearly good enough to stand on its own without name dropping to establish its credibility. A hot cuppa and a bowl of Good Morning is indeed the tasty treat that can't be beat any time of day or night. This could easily be an all day, every day smoke for me. The only issue I have is it's not sold in bulk. Please fix this or at least sell an 8 ounce tub.
Prince Albert - Prince Albert 14oz
Okay, let's be totally honest, at times we all get a bit wrapped up in the pipe smoking game. There's a dizzying array of options and it's very easy to burn yourself out just wandering through the untracked wilderness of pipe smoking looking for something you're not really sure of but constantly feel like you're getting real close. I've found that at times like this, going back to basics is the thing to do. For me at least, that would be Prince Albert, the National Joy Smoke, Burley 101. Tobacco snobs who will only smoke finely selected Virginia and Oriental aged in an alpaca's uterus high in the Andes, this is probably not your thing but there really is a lot to love about PA. You absolutely will not find a pipe tobacco with better smoking manners. This alone makes it the perfect new guy tobacco. It will not bite- period. Sipped slowly or puffed vigorously, technique or no technique, it's all the same to the Prince. If Mama's chicken and dumplings was a pipe tobacco it would be PA. Not fancy, not complicated, just comfortable and satisfying. And by the way, this is the quintessential morning cup of coffee smoke. Many years ago a good friend told me a 50/50 mix of PA and Five Brothers was the smoke of the gods. After years of smoking both straight, I finally mixed them. My friend was right. I've dubbed the mix Bionic Codger and I can totally see it becoming my all day smoke.
Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd Blonde
I Thought It Wasn't Possible
For the last 15 years or so, it seemed Old Joe Krantz was the reigning, defending, undisputed big cat daddy of my rotation. I've tried many very good tobaccos over the years, none of which seemed to compare. Then along comes Billy Budd Blonde. They are very similar and simultaneously delightfully different. Their similarity is overall character. They're both unabashed members of the Codger Burley genre. Straight up, tobacco forward blends that I could totally see any of the gruff, hard working old men of my childhood enjoying on a regular basis. All the vitamin N a growing boy needs. The difference between them is in delivery. OJK is borderline harsh and about as nuanced as a punch in the face. BBB is a bunch smoother by comparison and much less toothy (probably because it's not nearly as perique heavy.) Nevertheless, it's a sophisticated type of cigary. A previous reviewer said it was reminiscent of a Romeo y Julieta cigar. I get that. Now kick in a bit of that natural choclatey tone in burley, the subtle sweetness of Virginia and just enough perique for a fruity, earthy (not spicy) tone to appear and fade intermittently. All things considered, it's a great stablemate for OJK and easily an all day everday smoke for Codger Burley fans and cigar guys.