Rattray's - No. 7 Reserve 100g
The Hidden Gem of the Rattray's Line
7 Reserve gets overlooked, I think, because the description cannot help but give the impression that this is Red Rapparee Light, which it most definitely is not. All the notes are there, but the change in component proportions significantly alters the flavor profile. It took awhile for this one to click. My first impression was that this was airy and light on substance. Thinking that I either had Burley mouth or that there was an excess of PG affecting the flavor, I aired out the tin for a couple of days and stuck it on the shelf. A couple of months later... Worth the wait. It's now creamy, sweet, full-bodied, and interesting all the way through the smoke. If it helps, I group this together in my tobacco closet with Peterson Old Dublin, G. L. Pease Lagonda, Peterson (nee Dunhill) Standard Mixture, Ashton Consummate Gentleman, et al.
Half and Half - Half and Half 1.5oz
Solid All The Way Down
STG for the win (again). Their reformulation of H&H is terrific. Hits just the right balance between the cocoa and molasses of aged burley and the grassy sweetness of golden Virginia. The toppings and casings accentuate these characteristics instead of overriding them, as is the case with most other aromatics. Solid blend at a tremendous value.
G. L. Pease - Ashbury 2oz
This isn't training wheels.
There are many reviews out there disparaging of this blend. Too mild, not Balkan enough, a starter blend, too much of a compromise, etc. Horsefeathers, I say. Ashbury is close to perfect and a tripartite reflection of Pease's talent, the skill of C&D's blenders, and the high quality of raw tobacco available today.
Peterson - Old Dublin 50g
Pipe selection is important.
Great smoke. Proper Latakia + Oriental mixture for those who may be reticent to try English or Balkan blends. Really opens up in a larger chambered pipe.
Amphora - Kentucky Blend 1.75oz
Room note is a tray of Alton Brown marshmallow recipe baking in the oven. The burleys tame the Virginias way down, making this actually smoke fairly cool. Hits the Virginia:Burley ratio about equivalent with Peterson's Irish Dew. Sweet, smooth, spicy, and rich, yet not so complex that you couldn't smoke this all day. I smoke this when I want the fullness of an English but don't want to dedicate my nose to Latakia for the rest of the day. Of note: As always with VA/Bur blends, there is a sweet spot to be found with a moderate smoking pace. It's a broad strike zone, but don't stray. Lean towards sipping and you'll maximize the flavor potential, but speed it up too much and you get the worst of both worlds; ashy burley plus a furnace temp Virginia Pairs better with whites than reds if you're drinking wine. Better with malty beers than ales, either of which is better than wine. Iced tea or hot coffee is best.
Cornell & Diehl - Milk & Honey: Halav U' Duash 2oz
This really is quite nice. Gets more complex as the bowl progresses, with the taste running towards an old fashioned spice cake in the latter half of the bowl. Dark-fired grants the smoker greater nicotine than the typical aromatic. Depth, as well. Very nice.
Solani - Aged Burley Flake - 656 50g
A Burley for everyone.
Proof that Burley is not a one note tobacco. Bold, but not overpowering. Not ashy on the finish like a lot of burleys, it maintains flavor throughout. Excellent with coffee, tea, beer, wine, cider, or a simple cocktail. Works especially well with apple brandy or calvados. I'm a longtime VaBur smoker and fairly inured to nicotine, but there is a definite perk up hidden in the bowl.
Sutliff - Whiskey Cavendish
Old Dutch Grandad
Formerly Dutch Masters Whiskey Cavendish. Prior to that, Old Grand Dad Whiskey Cavendish. Great bourbon top note suffusing quality base tobaccos. Tastes great, smells great, won't break the bank.
Germain - King Charles Mixture 50g
...but nothing to lose your head over.
Planta - Danish Black Vanilla 50g
Queen of Aromatics
Best smoked in something with a deep chamber. You'll want to take your time with this one. The tin note deceives; there's a lot more going on here than just vanilla. Terrifically complex given the time to develop in the bowl. The room note in simply intoxicating. I wish I could buy this in bulk.
Iwan Ries - Three Star Blue 1.5oz
Best Seller for a Reason
This is a weekly smoke for me, no matter what else is in the rotation. It's what little Burley seedlings dream of being on Career Day in Kentucky Kindergarten. Incredibly smooth, toasty yet rich, it's a classic that's never dated.
Edward G. Robinson - Edward G. Robinson's Pipe Blend 1.5oz
Overall impression of this blend is that it's not too much of anything. Subtle on the tongue, aromatic but not too bold, delicate sweetness paired with leathery smoke... It's a perfect all-day blend. Like the previous reviewer, I find myself reaching for this more and more.
Blog's Commented on
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton
- ► Another great piece. Thank you!
Carl Gustav Jung: Pipe-Smoking Founder of Analytical Psychology
- ► Granger in a Falcon somehow makes perfect sense, much like Einstein's Revelation in a chewed up billiard. Just fits.Perhaps we have our own pipeman archetypes? I certainly hope so. I hold my pipes the same way Dr. Jung and (thanks, Rick!) Bo Nordh did, and that is fine company for the psyche.As an aside, Alan Watts - dig it - was a pipeman. As an approachable meditative tool for the everyman, he found it second to none.
On the Periphery
- ► Terrific essay. These blog pieces, by you and the other fine writers at SP, are one of the highlights of my reading week.
- ► "Uh oh. If the airbag goes off while I'm smoking this straight Billiard..."Nailed it.
Raymond Chandler: Author, Screenwriter, Pipe Smoker
- ► Bang up job yet again, Jeffery. Concise and well structured biography of a truly interesting man.
The Admired Matriarch of Cornell & Diehl Passes
- ► This was a well-written and fitting encomium. I wish I could have known her. Thank you, Chuck.
The History of Mac Baren Tobacco
- ► Bang up job, Chuck. Always a pleasure to read your stuff.
The History of Pipe Design: France and England
- ► These articles - thoughtful, well written, and thought provoking - elevate and enliven our hobby. Keep up the great work.Fantastic word choice throughout, btw. I particularly liked your use of 'quick' in the seventh paragraph.
Tom Crean: Heroic Explorer And Pipe Smoker
- ► A fascinating story, told well. You did Crean's memory a great service.
Wilsons of Sharrow Moor
- ► Terrific article, Chuck. I love that Mr. Hanson is a proud snuff taker. It wouldn't lessen my love for WoS snuffs one bit if he wasn't, but it's nice to know that there's a kindred spirit up top. And how about that distribution scoop! I agree with Silksow's sentiment, above. If Laudisi is involved somehow, we're going to need an automatic allotment option to cut out the inefficiency.