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. I do like it.

Aladino - Corojo Corona
Lovely cigar until May of this year......
Natural sweetness that reminds of a certain Havana I smoked many years ago. Sad update Aug 1st. 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, more bitter and 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

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 these blends. Tin age is 6 months.

Arturo Fuente - Cuban Corona Natural
Plugged: Poor quality control
I ordered 4 Fuente cigars from this website, the first 2 are plugged. i.e. Rolled so tight that air doesn't flow through it. If you can bore a hole through the cigar end to open the tightly bunched leaves, the cigar may be smoked. 30 years ago bought boxes of these for $45 per box. They were never plugged. These can be excellent cigars, but at $6 each they should be rolled properly. The 2nd Cuban corona was completely plugged. and went into the trash as well. That makes 3 out of 3. A nice way to waste $20. Maybe smoking pipes should mention this to Fuente.

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 is the 50g flat tin where the tobacco is pressed. I think it ages better.

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 all their blends. I try them occasionally 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 GLP Charing Cross or the Sutliff match blend, which are much 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 a bit sharp and rough tasting. Relatively poor, and over-priced.

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 probably Honduran or Nicaraguan havana seed, which is a very good leaf. A shredded good quality cigar life that you use for enhancing other blends. Smoking it straight is not too interesting. 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 much 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 viginia 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.

Claret Dublin (XX)

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Algerian Superior Smooth Bulldog

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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!)