Esoterica - Tilbury 8oz
Virginia Burley blend
I just opened an 8 oz packet of this which I purchased over 12 years ago. (2010) It is very mild and cool smoking with 12 -13 years age. Similar in flavor to other Germain blends like Bridge mixture/Brown Flake. I don't care for the very fine cut, but it causes no problems There are other blends available which are just as good, such Rattrays virginia blends. It's nice.

G. L. Pease - Ashbury 2oz
A Favorite GLP blend
Yes, it is mild, but the flavor has an almost malty sweetness, the orientals are not sour, but more "woody". This is always welcomed. The Latakia is present but subdued. A wonderful blend for the evening, or afternoon.

Rattray's - Brown Clunee 100g
Wonderful, but a little sweet.
Sweeter than Old Gowrie, but not as full bodied, of course. Soft on the palate (but I smoke with 9mm filters). This blend, Old Gowrie and Hal O' the Wynd are my virginia blends. All year. I've left everything else behind and stopped looking for alternatives years ago.

Rattray's - Wallace Flake 50g
Not the same as UF
It looks similar to Peterson University Flake, but the Peterson is darker. This was rather harsh, and very difficult to keep lit even while dry. True the flavoring is less noticeable here than UF. But UF is one of my favorites, this went in the bin.

G. L. Pease - Robusto 2oz
A GLP blend that I have always enjoyed
A GLP blend that I have always enjoyed. However, the last tin I seemed to notice latakia and orientals more. Perhaps I just noticed it more than in years past because my taste for latakia has diminished. It is an aged tin from 2017 (6 years age). It was a full bodied blend, and I have always liked this one, especially the first half of the pipe. Certainly 6 years has changed the blend. I always preferred this over Key Largo, which is too sharp. The orientals in Robusto were minimal. The virginia and cigar leaf were the main components with latakia in the background noticeable. Nothing ruins tobacco blends greater than very sour tasting orientals and I don't understand with these are common in C&D blends. I read that Pease wanted to blend something similar to the old Sobranie Virginia No. 10. My vague memory of that was cigar leaf and virginia If that is so, this has way too much latakia. However this is a complex full bodied blend that is a classic in itself.

Ashton - Consummate Gentleman 50g
Very cool smoking blend
It is a soft and cool smoking blend but with a distinct "classic " character. It is well made and blended, where Virginia, Burley and Latakia create something interesting.

Arango - Balkan Supreme
Good quality for the price
Always recommended as a great tobacco but I believe that people want something quality for a low price. It is a good quality blend and a good value undoubtedly. My experience has been: I buy a small quantity, smoke the first pipe and really enjoy it. After the 2nd pipe the next day, I would rather have chosen something else. I never get to the 3rd pipe, and never smoke it again. However, that is my experience with every bulk blend.

Germain - Bridge: Old Brown Flake 50g
Classic old British blend
I purchase two tins from 2016. (Lovely old square tin) and have now finally opened the second one. It's a soft and full blend. Broken brown flakes. I've never found any virginia blend that smokes so easily, without sharpness or unwanted heat. The only comparison is Rattray's Old Gowrie. Seems that if you aged Old Gowrie 10 years it might be somewhat similar. I don't know why Germains is no longer sold in the US. However, I have the Rattary's virginia blends which are certainly equal to this one.

Tatuaje - Havana VI Hermosos
Another once great with poor quality wrapper
The current corojo wrappers I have tried are extremely bitter. I threw in the trash after 5 minutes. These were excellent at one time.

Montecristo - White Series Especial No. 1
Poor quality for high prices
The first two were very nice, mild/medium. Then as I feared and expected, the third one was nearly plugged and unsmokeable. Even at $11.50 I can't buy cigars with quality and consistency? The cigar industry has become nothing but a marketing scam. So, it's $20 Davidoffs (great quality) or I'll smoke dry cured cigars. It is also criminal that the band says Montecristo.

Filters & Adaptors - Vauen 6mm Filters (30 Count)
Too tight
The filters fit too tightly in a a 6mm Savinelli. Also, the draw is is too tight. I sold 6mm pipes and only use 9mm.

Peterson - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
Very nice classic mixture.
Medium bodied Virginia blend with a small amount and well balanced amount of perique. A proper blend, still!

H. Upmann - 1844 Reserve Corona
Another dying brand
For many years I purchased several boxes of this cigar each year. But that ended 5 or 6 six years ago as cigar prices were artificially raised such that all cigars can appear as a luxury item. I remember this as one of the few domestic (USA) cigars that was similar to the real Havana version. Once again, I decided to purchase just two for a quality check, and sadly but as expected, one of the two was plugged. I threw it in the trash after several minutes. This is common with almost every cigar I have ordered in the last 2-3 years. The cigar industry has constant new brands, with stupid names and graphics on the labels, and artificially high prices. Hence, I have attempted to purchase some of my old favorites which have proved simply mediocre, over-priced and poor quality.

Savinelli - 140th Anniversary 100g
Sweetend tobacco.
This is a sweet "aromatic" blend, with a finely shredded cut. I wanted to try a virginia blend with Italian cigar leaf. But this isn't it. I taste the sweet casing, which is overdone. Good quality and preparation as always, but if I had a sample of this before buying, I would never buy this.

Peterson - University Flake 50g
Classic blend
The only Peterson Blend that I like, but it is one of my favorite blends. I currently am smoking a 5 year old tin, and while this needs no aging, the aged blend is soft, full and with medium strength. One of the few blends I have collected over the years. It is dark flake, with a slight essence which is very subtle to unnoticeable. It must be dried, of course, before smoking.

Cornell & Diehl - Bijou 2oz
Beautifuly made
It looks like a stoved flake, I think it is very high quality and expertly made. I was surprised, though that I found some sharpness in the side stream smoke, similar to that of a perique blend. And sadly, I found it much stronger I care for. I don't like the nictotine effect and this was too much for me. Otherwise, I would have purchased 4 tins for aging.

G. L. Pease - Piccadilly 2oz
A unique virgina blend.
A breakfast blend? I only smoke in evenings and as a last pipe of the day, the lack of strength is much appreciated. It is a mild but complex virginia blend with small amount of latakia and perique. It is a mildly sweet, natural and savoury blend. The aroma is wonderful. I don't understand the comparison to Dunhill Early Morning blend, this is far more interesting.

Rattray's - Marlin Flake 100g
Not sure what to do with this
Even dried completely I can barely keep it lit. Also, I find it to be very bland. I like the first few minutes, but then I tire of it quickly. I do like the other three Rattray virginias. I have attempted this blend twice in the last 5 years and once again threw the tin in the trash after several months.

G. L. Pease - Caravan 2oz
A beautifully balanced oriental mixture
Another GL Pease blend which is made in a classic British style. The burly softens this and seems to give the latakia a cool faint sweetness. There is no heavy charcoal taste here. When I read the term "balkan", I think Balkan Sobranie Original mixture. And this DOES remind me of the 1980s version I knew well. I dry this tobacco and smoke with 9mm filters. So, this is quite cool smoking.

Three Nuns - Three Nuns 1.75oz
A classic name.
It is a legendary pipe blend, Artificially high priced. $18 a tin? Why leave out the perique? Seems there were different versions of this blend both with and without perique. I tried GLPease Six Pence, which seemed to describe a style similar to what I expected from 3 Nuns. I like that one. I didn't think much of this.

G. L. Pease - Sixpence 2oz
A very good Va-Perique
A Virgina-Perique blends that is smooth and not sharp. However, still too much perique for me. Once a year I want to try this style of blend and I quickly realize why I never smoke them. However, the burley/dark fired softens the taste of this blend. I do like this, but I find it a bit strong. I dry it completely and it is fairly cool that way. I have smoked two tins of this blends, both with 1.5 - 2 years ageing. The perique is too sharp. Typical of Cornell&Diehl blends.

G. L. Pease - Stonehenge Flake 2oz
There is no Lakeland scent in this. I've smoked many and that scent is not here. Which is nice for me. A solid medium blend which smokes very smoothly. Slight cocoa scent in the tin. The reason why is smokes so mildly is this: "steamed, hot-pressed, and matured." I enjoyed this much more than any Gawith+Hoggarth bulk blend that I have tried. Perique is simply a condiment, as it should be. Too bad this is mostly unavailable.

G. L. Pease - Samarra 2oz
Traditional British style blend
This is exceptional, and reminiscent of English made blends I remember from the 1980s. I have 3 GL Pease favorites, and this is one. It has a present but subdued latakia element, and the perique is added in very small quantities (as it should be). There is an un-sweetened cocoa element which I have found missing in most latakia blends today.

McConnell - Scottish Flake 50g
Worse than the original
I loved this blend about 10 years ago when the description included "turkish" and "havana". Then I bought more of it and received a tin that "red virginia slices". This version is rather uninteresting with a sort sickly sweet smell. Kolhase&Kopp simply change the blends when it suits them. This is too different from the original recipe. Update: The last few tins I purchased were quite nice.

Cornell & Diehl - Haunted Bookshop
C&D: Try processing the tobacco like the Germans or English do rather than just shredding the dried leaf. I bought one ounce expecting this to be unpleasant and I was correct! I noticed with other C&D burley blends, a slight sour taste, and it is not the perique. Awful. Even through a filter pipe, I found this cheap, harsh tobacco.

Romeo y Julieta - 1875 Cedro Deluxe #1
Nice cigar for $4
I smoked this occasionally 5-10 years ago. So, I enjoyed smoking a few recently. But in the last 3-5 years, the price has increased artificially high. $8.20? There are far better products for that price. Too bad. It is a decent, generic Dominican cigar, with a legendary name on the band, which is simply dishonest. Compared to the real Romeo Julieta Habana, this gets no rating!

Aladino - Corojo Corona
Lovely cigar but it has changed from 2021.
Natural sweetness that reminds of a certain Havana I smoked many years ago. Sad update Aug 1st. 2022 Beware: The beautiful light brown colored "Corojo" has been replaced with a much darker one. This is not a matter of shade sorting for each box. The wrapper has been replaced with a darker, stronger leaf. This is a quality problem caused by the more recent tobacco crops. I lower my rating base on the current product being sold. It is still very good. But the photo here is no longer accurate.

Brebbia - Latakia Flake 50g
Pleasant and cool smoking
Updated after one month. Latakia is certainly dominant but it is not sharp, or heavily smokey. There is no "campfire" character, which makes this more refined than some domestic latakia blends. There is no need to age it for 10 years to soften the latakia element. After opening the tin I resealed and left this for a month. The blend is much better and a soft virginia element is present. Room note is latakia. Very high quality and well made, but not something I will buy again. 30 % Price increase makes this truly forgettable.

G. L. Pease - Charing Cross 2oz
Classic Style
The fresh smoke character of the Latakia is the same here as Westminster. Unlike Westminster this has an underlying malty sweetness which makes it unique. Made in the classic British style of vintage Dunhill, Sobranie and others, but not reminiscent of any particular classic mixture. The latakia is very fresh, and a few years of age might soften that. Still tire easily of the dominant , heavy smoke character of the Latakia used in these blends. Tin age was 6 months.

Arturo Fuente - Cuban Corona Natural
Plugged: Poor quality control
I ordered 4 Fuente cigars from this website, the first 3 are plugged. i.e. Rolled so tight that air doesn't flow through it. I could not bore a hole through the cigar. I cut the cigar open and found the leaves were bunched into a solid mass. 30 years ago I bought boxes of these for $40 per box. They were never plugged. These can be good daily cigars, but at $6 each they should be rolled properly. The 2nd Cuban corona was completely plugged. and went into the trash as well. So, I wasted $20 on this terrible product. Smoking pipes should mention this to Fuente, but they will not. No one notices?

Rattray's - Red Rapparee 50g
Lucky that this 100 year old classic is still made. Currently have a 10 year old tin open, and it is unique. There is nothing else similar to it. The sharpness in the aged tin has diminished enough to makes this fairly mild on the palate. The aroma is fantastic. I like this in the 50g flat tin where the tobacco is pressed. I think it ages better. Too sharp to smoke fresh, and it really needs several years age.

Warped - The Haunting 2oz
Bitter even when aged.
It's looks quality in the tin, but it is has the typical bitter, raw and harsh character that I find common in Cornell and Diehl blends. Once again, the virginia tastes like a raw burley. My tin was 1.5 years old, and age didn't help this. It tastes like many of their blends. I try them occasionally often and toss them in the trash.

Balkan Sobranie - Balkan Sobranie 50g
What is this?
The last time I smoked the real Balkan Sobranie Original mixture was in Italy 2004 (still produced but not much distributed then). It was a beautiful blend just like it was in the 1980s. I have opened two tins of this in the last 5 years both from the original release 2011. It's a shag cut, with pronounced latakia and musty smelling orientals. I think it is awful, as I did the last tin of it. Not sure what to say but it nothing like the original and there are FAR better quality pipe blends than this. Try a Sutliff match blend, Balkan Sasieni are better than this.

G. L. Pease - Westminster 2oz
Like an old Dunhill
Yes, it really is like a British blend from the 1960s - 80s. The cut is very good, and the blend needs no aging. The virginia base gives this a slight natural sweetness. The Turkish/oriental leaf is not too sour, which I find in many blends. There certainly is a "generous measure " of latakia in this blend. The latakia is too much for me to smoke this very often, but it is very excellent in quality. I would like to see more modern blenders attempt to "re-construct" other classic old blends.

Peterson - Irish Cask 50g
A very nice and unique blend
I smoked this blend when it was made in Belfast (Murray). It has changed for the better, I think. There is burley in the blend and the perique is done well. It is not sharp and with a filter pipe it med-full bodied with a wine like sweetness. Better than the old Murray version. Although the old tin art was lovely.

Herrera Esteli - Habano Lonsdale
Very good
Very nice quality cigar, in a Havana style. I would buy a box of these at $5-$6 per cigar. But like everything else it is way over priced. I certainly will buy a few occasionally.

La Aroma de Cuba - Original Corona
Too bad
I wanted to like this but I am always wary of Connecticut Broadleaf used for a wrapper. Uninteresting, but well made.

Punch - Gran Puro Pico Bonito
Over priced
The one I recently tried did not have a red/brown wrapper like the photo shown here. The wrapper was darker and heavily veined. The cigar was sharp and rough tasting. This was simply low to medium quality honduran cigar, and very over-priced. A Classic name, lovely boxes and bands covering a poor quality, very over-priced cigar.

G. L. Pease - Telegraph Hill 2oz
The perique is not sweet or tart, but has an extreme sharpness. The viriginia is very bitter, like a raw burley. There are a few GLP blends which I like but this seems like very poor quality tobacco.

McConnell - Pure Caribe 50g
Quality Cigar Leaf
I believe the Havana leaf mentioned on the back label is most likely Havana seed leaf. This means it's may Honduran or Nicaraguan havana seed, which is a very good leaf. Hard to tell what it is. A shredded good quality cigar leaf that you use for enhancing other blends. Smoking it straight is nice and I do that often. I add this to existing blends to add a little body and coolness.

G. L. Pease - Meridian 2oz
Reminds me of old Rattray's, maybe.
This is a virginia/oriental blend with a subtle but noticeable latakia presence. Red virgina and orientals makes this a sweet and savoury blend reminiscent of Red Raparee, although a little easier on the palate. As I went through this tin, I tired of the sour orientals.

Rattray's - Accountant's Mixture 100g
It's a classic Scottish Blend
Not sure why any Rattray blend is called "an English". That's not right. Rattray was a legendary Scottish blender and we are lucky to still have these blends, although they are different from the originals tinned in the UK (pre-1990?). This one is very unique. It is a virginia/oriental blend but has dark tobaccos added in good quanity, including a barely perceptable amount of latakia. The blend is very full on the palate with a natural sweetness from the virginas. It does not get sharp or tart like Red Rapparee. The oriental tobaccos are noticeable at the very end and they are the same woody variety found in the other Rattray mixtures, but in smaller quantity it seems. I added a small amount of latakia to this with really nice result. Sweet, rich with faint smokiness, and soft on the palate. A solid medium in strength. I can't think of any other blend like this.

Rattray's - Old Gowrie 100g
A classic old Scottish Virgina Blend
It's misleading to call this a "VA/Per". It's really a straight and matured virginia blend. The perique in this must be very minimal because it is barely noticeable, if at all. This is a really old blend and a very rich classic virginia in the Scottish style. The only virginia blend I smoke with regularity.

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    Airport Smoking
  • ► This is somewhat interesting. Not the subject, really, but the author's Bukowski influenced "love" of the filthy and unpleasant. They are cages? It seems so. I would have believed these "areas" to be non-existent by this time. The smoking lounges vividly described seem vile, pathetic and disgusting. I was both intrigued and sickened.Well done, but I hope your next piece is not influenced by Burroughs.
    A South Carolina Tribute to Balkan Blends: Palmetto Balkan
  • ► To Guy Rainsford from Kenya. I love Kenyan tea! Have been drinking Kambaa estate this week.
  • ► The photography is very nice. Beautiful photos.
  • ► So, "Cypriot" latakia is a tobacco that C&D have developed? A latakia from Cyprus which has been modified?Are there any other C&D blends that use the C&D "Cypriot" latakia?
    Bertrand Russell: Mathematician, Philosopher, Pipe Smoker
  • ► Your articles on pipe smokers are very well done and this one is no exception. I was just reading one his essays this morning, and saw this by chance. Russell was a great intellectual, a brilliant mathematician, and a great human being. His essays on life, religion, and politics have been read by several generations, because they are timeless subjects, and presented with uncomplicated logic and common sense. I haven't tried F&T Golden mixture.
  • ► Your articles on pipe smokers are very well done and this one is no exception. I was just reading one his essays this morning, and saw this by chance. Russell was a great intellectual, a brilliant mathematician, and a great human being. His essays on life, religion, and politics have been read by several generations, because they are timeless subjects, and presented with uncomplicated logic and common sense. I haven't tried F&T Golden mixture.
    Do You Have Any Cubans ?
  • ► Well, remember that Cuban tobacco tastes different than havana seed grown elsewhere in Latin America. It just does. I bought many boxes of Habanas from the late 80s until early 2000s. Purchasing them in Europe was much less expensive then in Canada Australia, or the UK. Buying them in the duty free shops, I paid less for Habanas the most of the cigars on this website. Yes some brands had quality problems. I had a box of Hoyo De Monterrey Churchills, one of the legends of cuban cigars. Half the cigars were plugged, and not smoke-able. I paid $250 for that box 15 years ago. A real Montecristo Habano, No. 3 is still the best cigar I've ever smoked and I have had hundreds. Partagas, Romeo Julieta , Sancho Panza, Rafael Gonzalez, were all great! The one "domestic" cigar that I love just as much is the La Gloria Cubana (Dominican or Miami). Also, think the Tatjuaje are superb. The problem is not havana cigars, it's the ridiculous prices. I've smoked all the great ones and NEVER paid more than $10. And that was for one of the last Cuban Davidoffs purchased at Harrod's. (Lovely!)
    Introducing Bankside, the Inaugural Blend of G.L. Pease's Zeitgeist Collection
  • ► I would like to try this. In my recent experience, over the last 2-3 years, the GLPease and C&D blends have been very enjoyable. I think they continue to evolve and improve and many of these are already the new "classic " blends. Of course, there are some which I do not like, but one must find his own favorites!
    The Return of The Beast
  • ► The name is clever. See, it's a name association related to pipes and tobacco, smokers from the past. Beast meaning "something formidably difficult to control or deal with"Very common usage.50% perique? Sounds nasty enough to kill some serious illness, or maybe weeds?