HAWKY454
About Me:
I enjoy tobacco and tobacco related subjects, such as pipes!
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Peterson - University Flake 50g
Very Berry
This is a very nice, complex smoke with a full body and a medium nicotine strength. I most definitely enjoy it as it can remind me of blueberry pancakes at times. The berry flavoring can be a bit too much for me at times so I tend to smoke this one as a treat every now and then.

A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
Essential
Best Va/Per I've smoked thus far! Due to it's subtle flavors I would not recommend to the novice. That being said, to all ya seasoned smokers, if you haven't tried this you're missing out. Edit 02-08-2016 What I said above still stands but I am upgrading this one from a 3 to a 4 star. I had an epiphany smoke tonight. This is a golden, classic blend that is nearly impossible to top. Yes, it took me 6 years to truly understand and appreciate this blend but it was worth the wait. This is what pipe tobacco should taste like and it is an absolutely essential mainstay in my rotation.

Balkan Sasieni - Balkan Sasieni 50g
Perfect For What It Is.
No surprises here, just an excellent Balkan mixture. perfectly balanced. I think it’s a bit underrated because it’s always available and at a nice price too. We tend to take these kinds of blends for granted. Essential

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Bob's Chocolate Flake
Lovely
I hate writing reviews because I always seem to come around to blends I once hated. A lesson I've learned is to never swear off a blend, as you may find yourself liking it one day. This tobacco has top of the line Virginia tobaccos in it and if ya can get past some of the essence, this blend really opens up to an amazing, creamy, flavorful smoke. Also, if a blend isn't doing it for ya, try it out in a cob! A corn cob pipe has shined a whole new light on a lot of blends that just didn't seem to wanna smoke well in a briar, it's worth a shot.

Dunhill - My Mixture 965
Decent
This is a decent, middle of the road English blend. Nothing to write home about but it’s dependable. It’s one that I like to have as a “dumb reach” but I won’t mourn its passing once it’s gone. Average is the perfect descriptor for it.

Sillem's - European Blend: London 50g
Underrated
This is a very underrated blend, it just goes to show you that people are very influenced by brands and names. I don't know about you but I don't care who's name (brand) is stamped on a tin, if it's good than it's good! What we have here is an excellent English blend that, in my opinion has surpassed Dunhill or any popular blend you have out there. It's complex, full flavored and very satisfying. Go ahead and give this blend a try, if you love your English blends, than you'll love this. -Essential.

Dunhill - Early Morning Pipe
Soft English
This is a nice smooth light blend which is really no surprise as the name would suggest, nice and mild. It tastes to me, exactly like a toned down 965. So if you like a nice English blend but tire of the latakia powerhouses out there, than this is your blend. Just a side note: McClelleand's A.M. Pipe is still a darn good blend in my opinion and if only they would change the name and let go of that "clone blend" status, I think more and more people would realize that. They should call it Morning Stroll??? I don't know, I just hope they don't stop producing it because EMP is now on the market in the states.

Esoterica - And So To Bed 2oz
Reminds Me Of Christmas.
Another great smoke in the Esoterica line up. I wouldn't go into this one thinking it's going to be a full bodied English blend. To me it's more of a lightly topped VA/Oriental blend with a faint whisper of Latakia. The tin note is absolutely delicious and I almost want to eat it but I'm sure the flavor comes through much better in the smoke. I see folks saying that it's topped with apricot but I've also heard that this was the equivalent to Smokers Haven 20th Anniversary Blend, which is topped with an ale. I don't get any apricot in the flavor so I'm not quite sure where ya'll are coming up with that? This is a very nice one indeed and people that like Pembroke should really enjoy this one as well. This one won't make it into my regular rotation but is nice to have some around for the change of pace. Definitely worth trying out if you happen to come by it. Those sensitive to nicotine should have no problems here as it's a perdy darn light blend... a bit too light for my tastes.

Mac Baren - HH Acadian Perique 1.75oz
Decent Stuff.
I enjoy this one for what it is but I can think of a dozen other blends I would smoke before I reach for this one. It' a great middle of the road smoke and I enjoy it when I'm mowing the lawn or doing other outside chores around the house. It definitely ain't a thinker so you can just light up and go about your business and for that it is great. Once my tin runs out I doubt I will restock it. If you are looking for something that isn't too complex than this might be right for you. Just a basic ribbon cut VaPer.

Esoterica - Penzance 8oz
Nice.
I got my hands on this first in early 2010 and I just didn’t get along with it. It had a very distinct quality to it that I can only describe as diesel fuel. It wasn’t an aversion to Latakia as I loved and smoke a number of f heavy Lat blends in those days. Anyway, I took it as a loss and traded it off. Fast forward two years and here I am, really enjoying this stuff. This is a nice, full bodied blend very similar to Smokers Haven Krumble Kake and both are made by Germain so there ya go. Great, complex and smooth as velvet. I can think of several blends I would reach for before this but it is absolutely worthy of a four star rating. If you can find the stuff give er a whirl, ya might like it but try not to harbor any unrealistic expectations of it, it’s just a very nice, expertly blended crumble cake. The nicotine is in about the mild range. Great all day smoke and I tend to enjoy it while reading a good book. Be sure to give it a good half an hour of dry time, gravity fill your pipe and enjoy!

Dan Tobacco - Blue Note 250g
A Favorite Aro!
This is it! This is the aromatic you have been looking for! This here tobacco will appeal to the non-aromatic smoker. It's the ONLY aromatic that I've found where the smell actually translates to taste. It's wonderful! I find it to be a great morning smoke, as I reach for it 7 days a week. Of course, it did take some time before I was truly blown away, it kinda creeps up on you and then becomes positively addicting. It's nothing like all the other countless aromatic tobaccos I have tried before, this actually tastes like tobacco. So if you, like me, have been wanting to find a good aromatic to throw into your rotation, than look no further. Essential.

Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding 8oz
Got Me Hooked
This blend is among the best! It took me about two ounces before I fell in love with it. Perfectly blended, very spicy with just a note of sweetness. This is up there with Penzance, although they are very different blends in their own way. I'm smoking a 2 yr old 8oz tin so this may have something to do with it's brilliant flavor. All I can say is, if you like a spicy full flavored English blend than this should be right up your alley! This is not an aromatic.... It's not even a cross over blend. This wouldn't be a good blend to travel with because there is some maintenance involved with rubbing out the thick chunks of cake but in my opinion it's well worth it and serves its purpose as part of the ritual we pipe smokers like so much, even when preparing the smoke. Essential.

Esoterica - Stonehaven 8oz
A True Beauty.
This is one of a kind! Reminds me of dark chocolate when preparing the flakes, both smell and appearance. This blend will satisfy your nicotine needs. The taste is absolutely amazing, I won't even try describe it (plenty of reviews already.) I just felt the need to express what a wonderful blend this is. I don't care if you like aro's or English blends.... This will reward the smoker who truly loves the taste of tobacco! Absolutely essential! Down side: Everyone seems to know how good this blend is and it's very hard to come by. If you see it, stock up and cellar as much a you can. It only gets better with age.

Hearth & Home - Blackhouse 1.75oz
Not Bad At All.
This is as good as it gets folks! I've tried countless of English blends and this is everything I have ever wanted in a smoke all wrapped up in a nice little tin. It's sweet (naturally), smooth, spicy and masterfully blended. The tobacco is ready to smoke right out of the tin, not too dry not too moist and burns down to a dry, white ash. Perfect blend to warm you up in the winter time. Essential purchase!

McClelland - Red and Black 50g
Good Stuff!
This is a fun blend! I will admit, I almost didn't buy this because of the cheap graphic design on the tin, it looks generic and is a major turn off. Make no mistake! This is a grade A Virginia blend consisting of two different cured flakes of VA and you can blend them yourself to taste. I am more than happy with the 50/50 mixture of the red and black flakes. The smoke behaves best when left to dry for 30-45 minutes before packing your bowl. Sweet, creamy smoke that is unparalleled in today's market. I can't even imagine how amazing this blend will smoke in 5-10 years... I look forward to finding out! Absolutely essential!

Reiner - Long Golden Flake (Blend No. 71) 100g
Great Reference Point
The "paint can" tin is the best in the business and there is no need to transfer the tobacco into a mason jar, as it will hold the moisture level perfectly. The tobacco comes in long, rolled up flakes and the moisture level is just how I like it and ready to be smoked right out of the tin. This is the best presentation I have come across and I proudly display it alongside my pipes. I have smoked it in all different sized bowls and I prefer to smoke this in a larger bowl because a smaller one is just too short of a smoke and I find that when I'm smoking this one, I never want it to end. This blend smokes cool and feels soft and silky as I retrohale, it can surely bite when pushed to hard but it's overall pretty forgiving. I definitely detect a very light top note but I wouldn't consider this an aromatic, it's just enough to add to the overall nuance of the blend. At first, I thought that this tasted exactly like Orlik Golden Sliced and it does have some similarities but this here blend is on the shelf above the top shelf, it's absolutely amazing and I promise you, it doesn't get any better than this. This blend is a bit on the pricey side but R.L Will is very strict on what tobaccos make the cut, he only accepts the best of the best so I have no problem paying for quality and quality is really an understatement in regards to this blend. The tobacco burns down to a fine grey ash and never leaves moisture build up in the bottom of the bowl. I have found my Holy Grail, boys and I'm willing to share it with all of you, just be sure to leave some for the rest of us. I honestly don't know why I even smoke other blends within the same genre, nothing compares... nothing! Absolutely essential!

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Flake Scented
Delicious!
Well, I was blown away by this blend. It's really confusing as to what this is actually topped with because it seems there are many different versions of Dark Flake. This one, the one that is available in the States through http://www.smokingpipes.com definitely has some floral essence added but the major player is bergamot. Think Earl Grey tea, in fact, Earl Grey tea makes a perfect pairing while smoking this one. Very strong nicotine but always smokes soft and cool, no harsh notes to speak of. If you're like me and crave a good stout smoke, put this at the top of your "to try" list as it is truly a delight. Most people won't find this to be any every day smoke but it's coming close to being just that for me. I do prefer this more in the winter months.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Bird's Eye
Dark Indeed.
Very fine shag cut tobacco that comes rather moist. I like to lay it all out on a flat surface and let it dry for at least an hour and then jar it up. This is an absolutely stellar, hassle free smoke. Those acclimated to large doses of nicotine will surely find this blend essential to their rotation. This blend has character, and depth, it's truly complex. I detect some natural floral notes (not to be confused with Lakeland essence) in the top and a heavy, bold VA flavor which almost tastes "roasted" in the base. This was made with an experienced pipe smoker in mind and has become an everyday smoke for me. I can't recommend this one enough. Absolutely essential!

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Happy (Brown) Bogie Unsliced
Love Me Some Rope
Who would have thought that such a tiny rope could have such strong and bold flavors. This stuff took me be surprise! It has a very distinct dark roasted flavor that I've never experienced before I was schooled on the GH&Co. blends. I'm a big fan of the Indian leaf they use and this is indeed a very strong blend, I do not recommend this one for beginners. I don't detect any flavorings added and there's nothing but good natural tobacco flavors here. Simply essential.

McConnell - Latakia Flake 50g
One Of My All Time Favorites.
The name of this blend is confusing as it hardly tastes of Latakia at all, it tastes like a very old school British Flake. I find that it is extremely similar to GH&Co’s Revor Plug and both have a wonderful mysterious, subtle top dressing that I really can’t put my finger on but it’s magical. This is strong in nicotine but the smoke is so smooth and tasty it might sneak up on you. I prefer to smoke it in the cooler months and around October of every year I’ve come to get very excited to bring this one back in my rotation. The flakes come at the optimal moisture level, they are ready to crumble up and load in the pipe right when you pop the tin. I prefer to smoke this in a smaller chamber, something like a squat bulldog is perfect, in larger bowls this stuff can get a tad bitter the further you get down the bowl. This is an absolutely hidden gem within the McConnell line up and by far my favorite. This provides an amazing smoking experience on every level and is just magical in the cooler months! Essential!

Orlik - Golden Sliced 100g
Great Value
This is one of those tobaccos that won me over with my first puff. The topping on this blend makes it great for beginners and an excellent starting point for those looking to get into Virginia's. It's great for the warmer weather, I live in Central Texas and I smoke a lot of this one in the summer time. It's got your typical VA taste profile and the citrus top notes just makes this one tasty any time of day. The only fall back in my opinion is that it doesn't contain much nicotine but that's a pro for those looking for an all day smoke. This can certainly be that. I would say this is absolutely essential. I can't help it, the early reviews of this crack me up! It just goes to show ya that the power of suggestion is very powerful indeed. When the tin description error read Burley, guest what? Everyone was tasting Burley! People refused to believe that the correction on the label was legit and will probably go to their grave thinking that this blend contains Burley when all along it contained Perique. Lol.

Lane Limited - Medal of Valor
A Very Nice, Complex English.
This is one of the finest English blends I've smoked (and I've smoked a lot) which was a huge surprise since I've never really thought much of Lane Limited tobaccos. I've not tried Medal of Honor but this one just tickles my fancy. It's a very well balanced blend with a subtle, sweetness and some sour (incense) notes. The Oriental tobaccos in it are some of the best I've tasted, which is a huge surprise, I actually prefer this to true English Latakia blends and given that this contains Burley, most people would not classify this as a "true" "English" blend, regardless of what genre this falls under, it's simply amazing. I've only had this one in bulk but it comes with a perfect moisture level and is ready to smoke from the get go. I can't really explain what makes this blend stand out from the sea of English/Balkan blends out there but there is something different about this one. My only complaint is I wish it had a little more nicotine but I'm a freak and I require a ridiculous amount the stuff but this one will suit most people's nicotine needs. This is one to buy by the pound! Absolutely essential!

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Ennerdale Flake
Sauce Is Boss!
Wow, what a game changer this one is! I absolutely love this stuff. In fact, I pretty much love everything I've tried from GH&Co. and I've tried a lot. Many years ago, when I first started smoking a pipe, I was looking for an aromatic but one that actually tasted good so I did some research and decided to try Bob's Chocolate Flake. Well... at the time I was not ready for such a good blend and I wrote it off as being terrible. I was totally turned off by the weird essence that GH&Co are famous for but anyway, from that point on I steered clear of anything from this house and the more I heard about Lakeland tobaccos the more I was hesitant to try anything else from the genre. Fast forward about 6 years with a much more matured and developed palate, I decided to brave this genre again and see how it goes. I started with the most talked about Lakeland tobacco of all, Ennerdale Flake. Well, I was absolutely blown away! The essences added absolutely compliment the natural tobaccos and the florals just make this blend sing. This is absolutely brilliant blending and you will find nothing else like it. I have since fallen in love with Bob's Chocolate Flake along with at least a dozen other GH&Co blends. I'm not going to try to describe the flavors for ya, there are plenty of reviews that will tell you all about the grassy, stewed fruit and leathery notes, the toppings that sublimate the tobacco flavor and all that mumbo jumbo... those type of reviews do nothing for me and each description usually reads the same for each blend. What I will tell you is that you may love or hate this blend as it is obviously a polarizing tobacco but you will never know unless you try. I say start out with an ounce and go from there. This one is absolutely essential in my book. Pipe Used: Neerup, Stanwell

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Best Brown #2
Sweet & Sour
Sweet and sour, tangy and delicious! This is yet another one from GH&Co that just ticks all the right boxes. To be honest, this one took me awhile to figure out and really fall for. I remember tasting a light Lakeland topping when I first tasted this blend but I don't pick up on that anymore, at all. I'm assuming I just got used to the topping and I just don't taste it anymore. This is a very sweet, tangy Virginia blend. The leaf had some obvious age on it when I got it as I could see the beautiful sugar crystals (bloom) covering the flakes. I also pick up that vinegar, ketchup type smell that you will sometimes find with well aged, fermented VA's. When I say this blend is sweet, I mean it is sweeeeet. Not in the overly topped aromatic kind of way but in the all natural tobacco kind of way. I'm sure I'm picking up on some of the casing in this tobacco but overall it tastes just like a natural tobacco and it's absolutely wonderful! This one isn't too strong in the nic dept but it's strong enough to satisfy my needs and I'm a proud nicotine addict. What we have here is another winner from the GH&Co house and I rate it as an absolutely essential blend for the experienced pipe smoker, their tobaccos make me wish I were a Brit. Pipe Used: Stanwell, Stanwell and Stanwell

Esoterica - Dunbar 8oz
Truely Excellent On Every Level.
This is (at this moment in time) my favorite Virginia Perique blend available today. Whatever Germain does to these VA's is simply brilliant! I imagine other tobacco manufacturers would die to get their hands on a copy of their technique as no one else has been able to cure Virginia tobaccos like J.F. Germain, everything else falls short in comparison. This is currently my all day smoke and I never tire of it. There is true depth to this smoke, you get more low notes than most VaPers but there are some splendid high notes that work synergisticly with the low notes to create a beautiful symphony in your mouth (Cheesy). To this date I have only had fresh Dunbar but I can only imagine this one will age gracefully, and I have plenty in the cellar so I will one day find out. I have nothing negative to say about this one as there are no negatives to speak of, ya can't mess with perfection, and Dunbar is indeed perfect. Unfortunately this one, along with every other Esoterica is very hard to come by because the demand for such a high grade tobacco is high and I will say the hype is very well justified with this one. I just hope I can get my hands on enough to last me the rest of my years. ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL

Samuel Gawith - Kendal Cream Flake 250g
Underrated Scented Flake.
I'm coming back to this one with a new love after a several year hiatus. It's rich and (you guessed it) creamy with a very mild floral note (maybe rose?). The Virginia and Burley work mighty fine together to give you a very satisfying smoke. The nicotine is a lover not a fighter, but it ain't no wimp either, if you push it, it will push you back. This one reminds me of the late, great Velvan Plug (RIP) so if some of you are mourning the loss of VP ya might want to check this one out. I can almost guarantee that you will like this one if you like VP. The floral note I mentioned is just that, floral, not perfumey, not soapy, just a nice rose-like top note that is far from overbearing. I just recently finished a tin that had at least 5 years of age on it and the flakes had wonderful bloom and had turned to a lovely dark brown color. I believe this one will cellar with grace and still come out tasting lovely. Come to think of it, this kind of reminds me of Erinmore Flake minus the fruity flavors, they both have a very similar floral casing with a nice base of Virginia and Burley tobaccos. This stuff is really becoming a favorite of mine and I agree with those who describe it as tasting like tea with milk and honey with a splash of rose water for good measure. This one doesn't get much hype in the forums and I'm okay with that, this is one of the few Gawith blends that is most always in stock. I adore this tobacco!

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Kendal Flake
A Lovely Flake
I think DK said it perfectly so I don't have much to say that he didn't already touch on, I just came to express my love. This one took a long time to work it's magic on me but I'm glad that I didn't give up on it. The flavors added read a lot like an Eau De Toilet and shouldn't work on a pipe tobacco but it absolutely does. This is a refreshing smoke and would probably work better in the warmer months but I have no problem smoking it year round. The top dressing adds a high range of notes that dance with the lower notes to give the smoker an amazing range of flavors to focus on and this one surely demands your focus. Could be an all day smoke for sure but I'm one that needs variety throughout the day. Essential

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - #7 Broken Flake
Sauce Is Boss!
Effervescent is the word that keeps popping up in my head while smoking this blend, something in the flavoring makes it taste bubbly to me. I love it and I'll be cellaring this one DEEP, along with the other Lakeland blends I love. This one is refreshing, it works well in the warmer weather especially in humid climates but it helps keep ya warm in the winter too. This is said to be the exact opposite of Coniston Cut Plug and I certainly can't argue with that statement. I love CCP but that one is more of an "every now and then" type smoke whereas this one is more like a daily smoke but it is still no weakling either as I don't think anything from GH&Co. is. I would say the nicotine level would fall in the medium spectrum. Those folks know how to make masculine blends with just a touch of femininity and the femininity in this case happens to be the floral notes added in the top dressing. I love, love, love tobaccos that have floral notes in them as it seems to work with the tobacco as apposed to completely drowning out the natural flavors. Most folks that say they only get perfume from these scented tobaccos probably haven't gotten passed the first couple of puffs as anyone who has smoked a whole lot of this stuff knows that the tobaccos really open up and bloom and the added scent becomes a nuance that helps keep the leaf interesting. I think our friends out in the Lake District are absolute genius blenders and are some of the great artists of our time and times passed. Essential (only if you are man enough to handle the florals... : )

Esoterica - Tilbury 8oz
No Bells & Whistles...
A fiend of mine told me that this tobacco has no bells and whistles but it's an outstanding VaBur... I concur. This is another blend from Germain that I would consider a daily smoke if it were not for all you people buying it all up before I can get to it. Lol. This is a smooth, slightly sweet smoke and I see people using the word "buttery" to describe it in several different reviews and for good reason, it is somewhat buttery in flavor and texture. Again, Germain has a way of curing their Virginia's like no one else on the face of the earth. What is it that they do to their VA's that other people can't figure out? Well... that's half the fun, the not knowing, that is where the magic lies. This and Dunbar are my absolute favorite blends from the Esoterica line of tobaccos, you all can have your Penzance and Stonehaven. Give me Tilbury or give me death! Okay that is a little extreme but you get the point. Oh, and I agree with DK on the roomnote, it's absolutely stunning! The best of the best! HIGHLY ESSENTIAL

Cornell & Diehl - Bayou Morning
A Very Masculine VaPer.
This one really won me over with time. I didn't think to much of my first tin but I was intrigued enough to buy some more in bulk form. This is a major player in the VaPer scene and it's gaining popularity for good reason. I hear some say that C&D do not have high grade VA's but I think this blend in of itself disproves that theory. The VA's are full of depth and richness, full flavored and absolutely satisfy my VA cravings. The perique used (%25) adds a whole other dimension to this blend that really takes it up a notch compared to the majority of the VaPers that are on the market today. If you are sensitive to Perique, please stay far away from this blend, Those of you who enjoy it and can't seem to get enough of it, look no further as this will definitely satisfy. An all day smoke in my book and the nicotine satiates my cravings and I constantly need nicotine flowing through these veins. Essential.

Wessex - Burley Slice 50g
Nice Burley.
This is hands down my favorite Burley flake and it's a just notch above Aged Burley Flake in my opinion. I don't smoke many straight Burley blends but when I do this is the one I always choose. It's sweet and rich with plenty of depth. I get molasses, chocolate and honey in the retrohale. I don't detect any artificial flavorings, what I pick up on are the natural subtleties that come through with high quality tobaccos. The nicotine is a little lower than I usually prefer but it works great as a change of pace. For best results I like to rub out the flake and let it air dry for 15-30 minutes before I lock and load. Note* I get a very odd flavor from this one and ABF for the first few minutes of lighting it. It’s almost tastes like an artificial topping and I am not too fond of it. Fortunately it levels out a bit once I get going but that’s the reason why it gets a three star instead of a four.

Samuel Gawith - Lakeland Dark 50g
I Prefer 1792 But This Is A Great Alternative...
A forum buddy of mine tuned me on to this one (among several others) as I had no intentions of ever trying it because I like 1792 Flake a lot and I enjoy the Tonquin top dressing so Lakeland Dark just sounded uninteresting to me. How amazed I was to find that the removal of that top dressing created an entirely different tasting blend with a whole new spectrum of notes and nuances. Superb! This is a rich, smooth and complex smoke and make no mistake, the nicotine content is in the high range, so those looking for a strong baccy, look no further. This is similar to the taste profile of it's cousin blend, GH&Co. Dark Flake U/S and I also get a lot of similarities between this and Westmorland Slices. I found room in my rotation for this one along with 1792 because to me they are completely different blends. Come on over to the dark side! Essential

Gold Block - Gold Block 1.75oz
Good For What It Is...
I actually was pleasantly surprised with this one when I finally got around to smoking it. I haven't had the original so I can't compare it to that but it is my understanding that this was an OTC baccy at one time and for that it is a perdy darn good tobacco. The prices we are seeing on this tobacco in the States would suggest it's a top shelf, high end tobacco so it seems Mac Baren is trying to force this blend in a market where it does not belong. I would happily pay OTC prices for Gold Block but unfortunately this blend does not warrant the current asking price. This is not a high end, fancy tobacco and if that is what you are expecting you will be disappointed. It is a good, bland smoke that I wouldn't mind putting into my pipe from time to time. It doesn't have any real flavor that I can speak of, it's like a sugar cookie in that it's sweet but doesn't really taste like anything but is still quite enjoyable. If pushed this will definitely give you tongue bite so go slow with this one. Air dry this one 15-20 minutes before loading up and you'll be good to go. Nicotine is nothing special so if your require large doses of nicotine than I suggest ya snuff and puff with this one. A fun thing you can try out with this blend is mixing it 50/50 with St. Bruno for a whole different taste experience. Apparently this method was very popular for a time, they call it Ogden's Mixture. They should have kept this one where it belongs... over the counter.

Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 250g
Essential For Virginia-Heads.
Hands down the best of it's kind. I do not recommend this one for beginners though, as you have to know how to dry, rub out and pack this leaf and can easily be done wrong by the novice and this one will give you hell if it's done wrong, I hated it when I first tried it several years ago when I first started smoking a pipe. It also takes experience to get the best flavor out of this one but once you got it, it will not let you down. This is also very satisfying in the nicotine department as most straight VA's usually leave a lot to be desired as far as that's concerned. Once you properly dry and rub out the flake (I don't recommend the stuff and fold method with this one) it will easily light and smoke all the way to the bottom of the bowl. I don't really get the grassy hay-like flavor from this one instead I get more of a yeasty, bread-like flavor and it's extremely rich and creamy. One of the reviewers said that it tastes like buttered pancakes and I absolutely agree with him on that one. I usually prefer straight Virginia's in the warmer months and this one is no exception. The room note on this is amazing and in fact it's the only blend my wife actually enjoys the smell of when I smoke it near her. It really doesn't get much better than this my friends. ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL!!!

Peterson - 3 P's - Peterson's Perfect Plug 50g
Talk About Depth... This Has It!
This is definitely a favorite of mine and it has everything to do with the fact that is is a plug. I love the plug form as it creates a richness and depth that you will only find in this style tobacco blend. This one has a mild topping similar to Mick McQuad Plug but much lighter and serves to enhance the natural flavor of the tobaccos rather than to act as an aromatic, so in that regard it is much more like a casing than a topping. I like to slice it into thin flakes with my pocket knife and fully rub it out and let it dry for no more than 15 minutes. I like my plug tobaccos more on the moist side as opposed to most other cuts. Rich, creamy and very natural tasting. Not overly complex in structure but not boring either, there are many nuances to contemplate. This is a dumb reach for me as I am always in the mood for it or some other similar plug. Lets keep plug tobacco blends alive fellas, keep on smoking them! The nicotine is satisfying if your a nic freak like me, otherwise it might be a little bit on the strong side. I like to smoke it in a large bowled billiard and I can easily get an hour to an hour and a half out of it. Essential

Mac Baren - Mixture: Scottish Blend 16oz
Discovered An Old Classic.
Wow, I'm actually enjoying this one much more than I thought I was going to. I was gifted it and had I not been I probably would have never come around to trying this one. The dressing has a very nice floral note in it not unlike what you would find in St. Bruno or Velvan Plug, it's very faint but it's there and very satisfying in my opinion. I love how florals go with tobacco so I am always looking for a blend that incorporates that into the mix and this one surprisingly does this very well. The one fault that I do find with this blend as I do with many Mac Baren blends is that it has the tendency to bite so you have to be very careful with it, it seems to be more in the topping than the actual tobaccos. The tobaccos used are obviously of high quality and the topping is not over the top so this is not one of those ridiculous goopy aromatic tobaccos, you can actually taste the tobaccos! I'll definitely be getting more of this once my gifted sample runs out. The only reason I'm giving it 3 stars instead of 4 is the lack of nicotine. While this blend is absolutely delicious, unfortunately I'm still wanting more once I've smoked it all the way down. If Mac Baren would put this topping on a more stout tobacco like Walnut Flake or St. Bruno it would probably be my number 1 blend. As it stands I still love it and I'm happy to have a large stash of it on hand. I like to smoke several pipes in one session and this one almost always makes those sessions. I'll say it's still essential, just wish it had more nicotine

Butera - Pelican 2oz
The Attraction of Obscurity.
Just finished up with a tin of Germain's Pelican from 2013. Initially I was totally disappointed by it and thought it tasted no better than a Camel Turkish Royal cigarette, the Latakia was barely detectable but that could possibly be from it being 4 years old but I don't think it would have faded that much, I just think it's a very lite, Oriental forward blend. After airing out for a good two weeks this started growing on me a bit but still way to mild for my palate. I decided to add some Izmer and Latakia to the mix and let it sit for another month in order to fully marry. With the added leaf I truly enjoyed this and it reminded me some what of the blends you would find from Smokers Haven (also Germain). Great quality leaf for sure but a little too bland for my taste. I don't know why this one garnered so much hype on the forums but I think it's totally undeserving of it and if it were readily available you would hardly hear a whisper about it - hyped due to obscurity - go figure.

Erinmore - Erinmore Flake 50g
Tried & True.
I tried this one a long time ago when I was first learning how to smoke a pipe and I thought it tasted just like Orlik Golden Slice.... how wrong I was. As I get reacquainted with this one I'm learning a lot about it that my novice palate just didn't pick up on. The current tin I'm smoking has a few years age on it and I can tell this one is just gonna get better the longer it sits. The flakes are extremely dark and smells of natural tobacco, I can't really pick up on the topping in the tin note. When lit, the top dressing is noted and it has some wonderful fruit and floral notes that really work well with the natural tobacco flavors. I've heard that when this was made by Murray's that this was heavily perfumed which is no longer the case now that STG is producing it. The top dressing is applied conservatively and just enough to enhance the natural flavors, so I wouldn't actually consider this an aromatic but as you can see most people do. The nicotine strength is no wimp and should totally satisfy folks that crave it, it certainly satisfies me. I'll be going deep in my cellar with this one. I only wish I could have tried the Plug version before it was yanked from the market. Essential!

Dan Tobacco - Salty Dogs 50g
Now This is Proper.
This is an excellent plug tobacco and the only one that I know of that consists of Virginia and Perique. The flavoring is very mild and just help to accentuate the flavors of the natural leaf. I like to cut thick flakes and loosely rub it out and pack it into a large chamber so the flakes can expand without tightening up the draw. This has all the rich and dark depth you would expect from a plug tobacco and the nicotine is in the medium range. The price? The price to get a 50g plug in the States is just ridiculous and is the only thing keeping me from cellaring this one deep. If you are a fan of plugs I would say ya have to try it at least once. I'm hoping that the price will drop significantly like what we saw happen just recently with St. Bruno. If I could afford it, I would make this an everyday smoke. Good stuff!

McClelland - Ashton Revival: Brindle Flake 50g
Underrated
I just decided to try this one based on a whim and I really like the design on the tin. My expectations for this one were pretty low because you hardly ever hear this one come up in the forums or inner circles of the community. This one swoops in low under the radar... I'm kind of hoping it stays that way. This is a delicious, sweet flue cured VA flake that is up there with the best I've ever had. It's tangy but that fermented character (most refer to as catsup) does not translate to taste, it's got a bread-like character with hints of citrus, the nicotine is mild but when a blend like this tastes so good I don't really mind that it's not laced with a good amount of nicotine. It just means that I can load up bowl after bowl without overdoing it. I am overly joyed with this find as it absolutely fills the void that Klondike Gold left when it was taken off the US market, in fact, I actually give the nod to Brindle Flake. I'm not a big fan of McClelland's ribbon cut or "English" mixtures but there is no doubt that they have mastered Virginia Flakes and with such a huge and successful line up it's no surprise to find a sleeper such as this. Essential (for VA Flake lovers).

Samuel Gawith - St. James Flake 250g
As Good As It Gets!
I don't know why it's taken me so long to write up my thoughts on this flake but sometimes I just forget to sing my praise of some old favorites. This one is definitely a favorite and I consider it to be one of the finest VaPer's on the market. This will give you low base notes with some sharpness from the Perique. It's of the yeasty bready kind of flavors rather than the light hay like notes you would find in lighter VaPer's. I enjoy dark flakes and low notes and this one satisfies on every level. The flakes are packed ready to smoke, especially in the box and that is usually uncommon with Samuel Gawith tobaccos, I've smoked a lot of this and have never had to dry it before I load up and I like my tobaccos dry because I get a lot more flavor that way. These flakes will age with grace but require no cellar time to produce an amazing smoke. Nicotine level is just about medium so this is perfect for all day smoking. I just can't praise this one enough! Essential!

McConnell - Mature 50g
Nice & Easy.
This is a nice and tasty smoke. The licorice topping is subtle but assertive. The tobacco is dark and comes Ready Rubbed. It's a bit on the moist side so I choose to dry it out for a good 30 minutes before I lock and load. There's nothing too exciting about this one but it never really gets boring. It's not a "sit and contemplate" smoke but more of a chore blend in my opinion and it sure beats the hell out of most characterless American aros. The nicotine is about medium so it will satisfy your nic cravings and the room note is very pleasant. This would be one of my choice smokes if I was worried about non smokers around me (which I never am) but I think most people will find the aroma to be quite pleasing. I will happily smoke both the tins that I picked up but once it's gone I don't think I'll be getting more. It's pretty much a "middle of the road" blend and average on every account but sometimes that's exactly what I'm wanting.

G. L. Pease - Haddo's Delight 8oz
An Old Staple
This is an old favorite. It helped forge the path that I am on now by making me realize the possibilities outside the realm of Latakia mixtures. It took some time to understand and can actually be unforgiving if smoked in the wrong pipe but if you are patient and find a pipe that smoke Haddo's well you will be greatly rewarded. It's a very complex smoke so I like to smoke this one when I have nothing else to do but concentrate on the plethora of woven flavors that delight my palate. I haven't smoked this mixture in years but I have a large tin in my cellar and I'll be popping the lid when it reaches 10 years of age. I've had this one fresh and with several years of age one it and it smokes great either way but I do prefer at least 6 months in the tin to let the flavors marry a bit before I lock and load. The room note is nice but non-smokers will probably still give ya the stink eye if you're smoking this near them. The nicotine is in the "just right" park (medium) and makes for a good, satisfying smoke any time of the day but I usually enjoy it most on a nice and cool evening. This one never fails to take me to that special place. One of my favorite Pease mixtures, no doubt. Essential.

Samuel Gawith - Cabbie's Mixture 50g
Vastly Underrated!
Cabbies Mixture became in instant favorite. It's got everything I love about Gawith's grade A Virginias with their excellent Perique all wrapped up (literally) into one fine twist. I would love if they offered the uncut twist for sale but I'm fine with their sloppy coins as I usually rub them out regardless. I actually quite like the presentation and the sloppiness of the coins adds to the character of this historical company, it shows that they truly still do everything in small batches and their coins and flakes don't come out perfect like the STG giants. Some of their machinery used was purchased in 1792 (secondhand) and still used to this day! You just can't duplicate that in a warehouse, just imagine how seasoned some of those machines are! Anyone familiar with the quality of tobacco that is produced from this house can easily blind buy this tobacco and I'm certain they will be happy with their purchase. Not much to say about the flavors, everyone knows what to expect from a VaPer and if I tell ya it tastes like a bit of grass with some earthy tones it won't help you any, everyone says that about VA's and it becoming a bit clichéd. I will tell you that I don't think this is redundant if you have St. James Flake in your rotation as I have found plenty of room for both. Be careful with this one as it can sneak up on ya and give ya a big slap of nicotine and that's just another reason I love this so much. I open the tin, rub out the entire contents and give it at least two hours of drying time. After that, I just put it all back in the tin and it's ready to go and easy to lock and load any time I'm in the mood. This is up there with the best of them. Most definitely essential!

Samuel Gawith - 1792 Flake 250g
Welcome To the Olde Worlde.
I have grown very fond of this flake over the years and it has become my go to morning smoke, a ritual I will never tire of, it was made to be smoked while sipping on a hot cup o' joe. The added Tonquin flavoring couldn't compliment the natural flavors of the leaf any better as it just perfectly enhances the Dark Fired and Virginia leafs. This is a true, olde worlde British tobacco and one of the finest on the market. I would not consider this a Lakeland scented tobacco as I don't pick up on any floral or perfume notes whatsoever. I buy this stuff by the box and I like to lay all the flakes out and dry them for a couple of hours before properly packing them into ball top jars for immediate rotation. If I'm wanting to cellar it, I prefer to keep the flakes moist as I think they age better in that state. The nicotine is in the brilliant range (high) and the smoke is heady and stout but also smoooooth as velvet. If you tend to like olde worlde style flakes and you have yet to try this bad boy, than look no further. It doesn't get any better than this my friends. 100% Essential!!!

G. L. Pease - Temple Bar 2oz
Nice To See More Plugs on the Market!
This one is quite good. The tin note is spectacular! This is as close to a proper plug as it gets in the US market, I think we lack the proper machinery to make a plug similar to the traditional European style but this gets an A+ for effort, it's just not as densely packed. There is no note of a topping on this one but there most certainly is some sort of spirit. Between the Oriental,VA, Perique and the top dressing (Rum?) it really reminds me of a more subdued version of Black Frigate by C&D. Overall a very nice blend from Pease just not really in my wheelhouse. If you are a fan of Black Frigate but could do without the Latakia, there's a pretty good chance you'll enjoy this plug. Edit* I had to come on here and change my star rating from a 4 to a 5. I've been really getting enthusiastic about this one. It's really been hitting the spot and I certainly plan on adding this to my regular rotation. As far as GL. Pease blends go, he knocked this one out of the park and I'm going to go as far as saying that this has been the best new release I've seen in a LOOOOONG time! I only hope they start releasing this in the 8 oz tins so I can bulk up my stash. It's really awesome that Pease has been releasing plugs to the US market, bravo!

Cornell & Diehl - Golden Days of Yore 2oz
Great Christmas Blend!
I'm surprised this one got so many 1 star reviews. This is a man's man aromatic blend, lightly topped with plenty of tobacco flavor, no goop and perfect moisture level to smoke straight out of the tin. I really enjoyed this stuff and I think Jeremy Reeves is really proving himself to be a fine blender. Nicotine is medium which is nice to see in an American aromatic as most are usually nearly void of any nicotine. Great Christmas blend through and through. If you were hoping for a 1Q style blend repackaged as a Christmas blend then I could see how this would be disappointing, otherwise I thought this was a truly unique and tasty blend Wow! I thought this one was no longer in production, it's good to see that it's available again!

Samuel Gawith - Skiff Mixture 250g
The Best Around!
This is hands down one of my favorite English/Balkan blends that's currently on the market. The excellent Gawith VA's are the backbone of this blend and it's just the perfect amount of natural sweetness. The nicotine is just below the medium threshold which makes it a perfect candidate for an all day smoke. Of course this stuff shines in the winter months and I enjoy it the morning with a cup o joe. I only buy this stuff by the box but even then I prefer to spread out the contents on a large paper plate and let it dry for about 2 hours before jarring it up. For fans of Latakia blends, your rotation is not complete without this wonderful mixture. For English blends, I still give the nod to those that are actually blended in England but there certainly are good English mixtures being produced in the States these days. I think this blend is extremely underrated, I think it is every bit as good, if not better than the fabled Balkan Sobranie Mixture of the old days. Unfortunately, I don't think this stuff will gain the status that it deserves until it becomes unobtainable. It is hands down one of the finest English/Balkan mixtures ever produced and it's currently available! It seems people are looking right past this one in search for the zombie trademark resurrected Balkan Sobranie or Esoterica's Penzance. Let me tell ya, it doesn't get any better than this my friends. Hands down, whole heartedly - Essential!

Lane Limited - Ready Rubbed 14oz
Exactly What I Was Hoping For.
This is pretty much exactly what I was hoping it would be. Tastes a lot like a rubbed out Wessex Burley Slice and at a much cheaper price point. It comes at perfect moisture level for smoking right out of the tub. This is a meant to be the rubbed out Edgeworth Slices and Wessex is meant to be Edgeworth Slices so it makes sense that they taste similar. Nicotine is low so it’s perfect to load up and smoke several times a day. It’s not complex so you don’t need to contemplate the smoke itself and therefor makes a perfect “chore tobacco” while running around doing “honey do’s”. All in all, it’s a good dumb reach and I’m glad I have it as an option. Everything about this tobacco is mild. My only complaint is that it burns too quick but I guess you could turn that into a pro as it makes a good quick smoke. I might try cutting it with some Brown Bogie to add some nicotine to the mix.

Dunhill - My Mixture BB1938 50g
Mediocre On Every Level
Why did I buy this stuff again? I really don’t know, I guess I just wanted to get a taste of some of their lesser known blends before they’re gone. Now I understand why this is one of their lesser known blends, it really doesn’t have much of any flavor to speak of, zero complexities and the nicotine content is low. I’m sure the Murrays version was decent but this STG version is just bland and I mean that in a bad way. I’ll try to cut it with more Lat with the hopes of I can finish the rest of this tin without boring me to death.

St. Bruno - Ready Rubbed 1.75oz
All Time Favorite!
This review is in regard to both the Flake and the Ready Rubbed versions of St. Bruno as they taste identical to me. I discovered Condor before St. Bruno even came to our side of the pond (U.S.) and I fell head over heals for the stuff, hard and fast! When I finally got around to trying St. Bruno Flake & Ready Rubbed I didn't think much of it, I thought it tasted like a light, weak version of the almighty Condor. Over a period of about a year I kept going back to St. Bruno to check up on it so to speak and I was always left feeling good knowing that Condor will always be my go to.... then something happened.... maybe I got a little softer in my older age but damnit if St. Bruno ain't just the perfect smoke. It's got dark Virginia's to add depth, a little Dark Fired for complexity and spice and the subtle top dressing is just enough to keep things interesting with it's complex fruity/floral components that work synergistically to weave a beautiful tapestry that I consider an absolute masterpiece. As with anything of course you'll hear about the glory days of yesteryear and how it's just a shell of it's former self but hell, it's one of the best tobacco blends I've ever gotten my hands (palate) on so Mac Baren is doing something right. I find that the top flavors come out a little better in a tall and narrow bowl and I actually prefer this one right out of the tin/pouch as it seems to smoke just fine with the moisture level it's packed with, which is odd for me cause I usually prefer to air out my tobacco until it's just short of crispy. This one has plenty of nicotine to satisfy the addict and enough to give the novice a nice warm buzz, it's not too over the top in any shape or form and I now consider this one my holy grail all day smoke. I'll always have a place in my heart for Condor but I prefer to use that more as a treat than an all day smoke. Yes there are a lot of similarities between this and Condor which one fits your fancy? Only you can decide but I would say they're both worth trying at least once and if you're anything like me you just might find a place for both in your rotation. ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL (both RR and Flake cuts)

St. Bruno - Flake 1.75oz
All Time Favorite
This review is in regard to both the Flake and the Ready Rubbed versions of St. Bruno as they taste identical to me. I discovered Condor before St. Bruno even came to our side of the pond (U.S.) and I fell head over heals for the stuff, hard and fast! When I finally got around to trying St. Bruno Flake & Ready Rubbed I didn't think much of it, I thought it tasted like a light, weak version of the almighty Condor. Over a period of about a year I kept going back to St. Bruno to check up on it so to speak and I was always left feeling good knowing that Condor will always be my go to.... then something happened.... maybe I got a little softer in my older age but damnit if St. Bruno ain't just the perfect smoke. It's got dark Virginia's to add depth, a little Dark Fired for complexity and spice and the subtle top dressing is just enough to keep things interesting with it's complex fruity/floral components that work synergistically to weave a beautiful tapestry that I consider an absolute masterpiece. As with anything of course you'll hear about the glory days of yesteryear and how it's just a shell of it's former self but hell, it's one of the best tobacco blends I've ever gotten my hands (palate) on so Mac Baren is doing something right. I find that the top flavors come out a little better in a tall and narrow bowl and I actually prefer this one right out of the tin/pouch as it seems to smoke just fine with the moisture level it's packed with, which is odd for me cause I usually prefer to air out my tobacco until it's just short of crispy. This one has plenty of nicotine to satisfy the addict and enough to give the novice a nice warm buzz, it's not too over the top in any shape or form and I now consider this one my holy grail all day smoke. I'll always have a place in my heart for Condor but I prefer to use that more as a treat than an all day smoke. Yes there are a lot of similarities between this and Condor which one fits your fancy? Only you can decide but I would say they're both worth trying at least once and if you're anything like me you just might find a place for both in your rotation. ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL (both RR and Flake cuts)

Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 250g
Full Virginia Flake/Full Flavor Smoke
One of the best Virginia flakes on the market today.