Solani - Tropical Mango Flake-639 50g
I tried this purely on the quality of Solani’s other blends; their English Luxry, Aged Burly Flake, and 633 VA Flake I would consider all to be personal favorites. Tropical Mango Flake smell wonderful in the tin, but unfortunately doesn’t deliver in the smoke. Put simply, it is just far too mild for my taste. The few bowls of this that I’ve smoked I’ve found myself either rushing through or wanting to dump out and go about my day halfway through. The tobacco is the usual high quality I’ve come to expect from Solani, but I just can’t recommend this to anyone other than lovers of mild aromatics.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Larry Roush Hand Wrought Sterling Silver Tamper
Great tamper, great value
This is a beautifully minimalist/understated tamper; it’s difficult to tell from the photos but the fact that these are hand wrought and hammered gives it a faceted look that is quite lovely. I know the word value isn’t the first word that comes to mind when talking about a $150 tamper, but considering that these also come with a nice leather Black and Tan bag that someone like Claudio Albieri would easily sell for $45-$55 dollars, and a silver polishing cloth (that can also be used on stems), I think this is a great package. Excellent quality all around, I’ve barely touched any of my other tampers since purchasing this one.
Solani - Gold Label- English Luxury - 779 50g
Wonderful Medium English
Great VA Oriental-forward English blend, Latakia taking more of a supporting role here. Light to medium, but with great flavor and quality components.Not a lat-bomb English by any means, but it can be a real treat when I’m in the mood for something more subtle.
Sillem's - Black 100g
Excellent English Aromatic Crossover
Wonderful tin note and a great light to medium English blend. Comes off as very well balanced, the aromatic aspect adds a gentle sweetness and interacts and enhances the other component tobaccos. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a replacement for Frog Morton. Personally I found the Frog Morton line to be much too mild for my taste. This blend, in my opinion, is superior in every way and I think would fill the need for anyone looking for a mildish English with a twist.
Cornell & Diehl - Burley Flake #1 2oz
Needs a little age
A good Burley form C&D, has the nice toasty burley flavor and strength that I look for in such a blend. Main downside to this for me is that I actually found this blend to be a little on the harsh side. Finally had a bowl in my tall Radiator pipe and it smoothed it out for me, made it much more enjoyable. I think Solani was right to age their Burley Flake, I think a few years in the cellar would work wonders for this blend. Still, I haven't found a burley that tops Solani's Aged Burley Flake yet.
Sillem's - Commodore Flake 50g
What a great smoke. For a blend that purportedly has around 75% latakia, it doesn't come off as the huge LatBomb it appears to be, though it is a very rich and flavorful smoke. Masterful blend. Flavor profile to me is akin to G&H 1792 flake or their dark flakes. In fact, I would recommend this to anyone that's looking for something similar to a 1792 style blend that doesn't have the Tonquin/Lakeland essence or the near-lethal volumes of Nicotine that 1792 has. I'll be picking up another handful or two of tins as soon as they're restocked.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Ennerdale Flake
Beautiful Lakeland Flake
Another great flake by G&H. Bright lemon and lavender notes with a beautiful floral essence that still allows for the natural flavor of the tobaccos to shine through. If you are on the fence about Lakelands give this a shot. Fair warning though, this and most blends from G&H will ghost just about anything almost immediately; I would try these out of a cob if you’re new to these blends.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - B. J. Long Regular Tapered Pipe Cleaners (100 pack)
Great cleaners and they leave very little fluff. My favorites are the John Aylesbury cleaners, but I always have a few packs of these on hand.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - 8deco Premium Shank Brush
I actually stopped using bristled cleaners after picking these up, they work really well and are reusable. Essential cleaning tool.
Pipe Accessories - Claudio Albieri 2 Pipe Leather Magnetic Stand Black/Red
Best for Bents
Beautifully crafted pipe stands, the magnetic mounts make them pretty versatile and the angle of the back can be adjusted. My only complaint is that they come to point at the top which makes it trickier to hold straight pipes, if they were flared with just a small indention for the stem to rest in they would hold more securely. A minor issue overall, these will hold all but the most heavily bent pipes beautifully, straight pipes with just a little work, and are of the highest quality.
Rattray's - Exotic Passion 100g
I’m not much of an aromatic smoker, but I picked up a couple of tins solely based on the quality of other Rattray’s blends in my rotation. This blend was a very pleasant surprise; beautiful tin aroma, and really tasty, with notes of orange (naturally), honey, black tea... sweet without being cloying, mild without being uninteresting. Good stuff!
Solani - Aged Burley Flake - 656 50g
A fast favorite
Just a really great, quality blend from Solani. This is the blend I go to when I’m able to treat myself to a morning smoke with a good cup of espresso. Lights and burns easy, great flavor... will definitely be stocking up in the future.