Orlik - Golden Sliced 50g
well deserved of it's high overall rating
I absolutely love this, especially outdoors cool weather smoking. This is very light and fragrant, grassy and tea like. It has a lower level of sweetness and spice and more of a citrus taste and aroma. The cut is perfect for fold and stuff. It is easy to understand why this is in so many smokers rotation.
Cobblestone - Chess King 1.75oz
Wow! Is what I said when I popped the tin and got a wiff of the excellent tin note, the flavor is smooth and spices, lacks a little of the VA. sweetness but is smooth as can be with the Perique being very evident. If you like Peterson's Elizabethan I would say that you will like this as well, if you lean more toward Orlik Golden Sliced or Peter Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake maybe not so much. The cut is perfect for most packing methods but it is a little moist right out the tin. No bite but a tad on the strong side. VaPer smokers should try.
Peterson - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
not a flake but a good VaPer none the less
We all know this blend is a favorite for many, and for good reason, after about 1/2 dozen bowls out of a fresh tin I would also rate it very highly in the taste category but I don't care for the cut as much. It took me several bowls to realize that the best option for packing was the air pocket method, any other way and I seemed to get tobacco plugged in the air hole of the pipe in the course a smoke, this is very bothersome since I like using a 6mm balsa filter which prevents me from running a pipe cleaner all the way to the bowl to clear the airway. I also found it to be a little on the strong side, not overpowering but enough to get an unexpected nic hit from. There is not a lot of Va. sweetness but the smoke is smooth and has a little spice to it, retro-haling gives a slight sinus tingle. No doubt a blend that everyone should try but I am not sure it will make into my regular rotation. For me, it cannot replace some of the VaPer flakes that are available most of the time. After multiple before breakfast bowls I suggest not smoking this on an empty stomach, it is a bit too strong for that. Also, pace your puff, if puffed aggressively it will bite.
Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - Evening Flake
Worth a try
Very good natural blend with a fair amount of spice from the Perique. Like most VaPers on the market today the taste and tin note were of sweet grass and hay. The moisture level was good and the burn was near perfect with no relights required. Definitely worth a try.
Comoy's - Cask No.4
Almost a perfect smoke. The tin note is hay and grass, moisture level is a little high but does not affect burn. This rubs out and packs out very nicely due to the moisture level, I found it just right for air pocket or fold and stuff packing. the burn is near perfect, I am able to smoke an entire bowl without relight. Taste is of natural tobacco with a good amount of sweetness from the Va. an the Perique adds just a slight spicy tingle. Aftertaste is good. I would put it just a little lighter than some of the other VaPers on the market right now but I really appreciated the natural sweetness.
BriarWorks - Back Down South 2oz
perfect for "front porch sittin'" asadvertised
Tin note is very nice with some type of alcohol or fermented aroma. Moisture level is good. This folds and stuffs very easily or will rub out easily if that is preferred. Charring light was easy and sweet. The burn is slow and steady without hardly any relighting required. There is no doubt about this being a blend of what is claimed, both the Va. and the Perique are very evident in the smoke from start to finish. The blend has a high level of sweetness and a medium level of complexity. I was would definitely put this on par with many of the popular VaPer blends on the market today and maybe even give it a one up for the added flavor that comes through. Hay and grass, natural sugar sweetness, spice form the Perique, excellent with early morning coffee.
Newminster - No.80 Norway Pipe Cut
Good work blend
Bag note is very light but burley forward. Tobacco needs to be pulled apart and allowed some dry time before packing but the cut is easy to pack in about any method you prefer. Initial light is very burley-ish, mild and very reminiscent of some older OTC blends (I.E. Half&Half). False lights rises and is easily tamped down for a quick and easy relight. the first 1/4 bowl is very mild and does not offer much by way of complexity. As the bowl progresses the burley gives a little nuttiness but there is not by way of sweetness from the Va., the Orientals had very little to add other than a very light tickle to the tongue and sinus. I was a little disappointed with my pairing of black coffee, the blend did not offer the strength and complexity to fit well with the stronger drink and the coffee tended to overpower the smoke. Ice water seemed to be a better palate cleanser for tasting the smoke. Overall the blend is pleasant enough and gets better as the bowl progresses but in my opinion lacks the complexity and natural sweetness that i look for in a blend. This is a "stuff and go" type blend, very easy to smoke while your mind and hands are occupied elsewhere as compared to blends that are more complex which beg you to sit and contemplate.
Peter Stokkebye - PS52 Proper English
Great way to start the day
Wow, this has to be the best bulk English blend I have ever tried. The bag note would lead you to believe that this would be a Latakia bomb but while there is certainly a heavy presence of Latakia it does not overpower all else as it does in many of the English blends. I found this very smooth and aromatic. The pack, light, and burn were about as easy as it gets with not even a single relight being required. The flavor starts out as typical English but settles into a nice, smooth, campfire smokiness, that has a fair amount of sweet. Cool weather and coffee makes this a great way to start the day.
Cornell & Diehl - Sunday Picnic 2oz
I am upgrading this from a 3 star ratting to 4.5 due to my having learned more about how to appreciate this blend. I would now describe the tin note as "barn yard" (musty hay mixed with manure soil and animals, comfortable country farm smells). Out of the tin the tobacco is too moist for a good burn but if allowed a little dry time it lights and burns almost with no re-light required. If smoked with a good slow cadence you will be rewarded with a nice creamy sweetness and a peppery interplay. Some would try to describe which tobacco causes the different nuances of the smoke, I can't and won't. I will say that my appreciation of this blend has grown tremendously, it is not one that I will go to daily but it is certainly worthy of that special occasion smoke. Don't make the same mistake that I did of pack and puff straight out of tin with it or you will likely be disappointed. First Impressions- Tin note is very musty, in a dry mushroom sort of way, almost stinky. Very moist out of tin, so much so, it makes me concerned for mold developing. Flavor lacks sweetness but is straight forward tobacco flavor with the Oriental coming through nicely. Even in spite of moisture level, light and burn were easy and consistent throughout entire bowl requiring little attention to keeping stoked. Ash was fluffy and gray. Room note (per my wife) was uno-offensive but smelled simply like burning tobacco. I find this okay for a Sunday afternoon but not one for every day.
Cornell & Diehl - Carolina Red Flake 2oz
Good, not great
maybe my expectations were a bit high? based upon the description i expected a little more sweetness, i found it to be somewhat bland and one dimensional. i will admit, my tin had no aging time to it and i suspect that with aging this tobacco should mature well, but cellaring, aging, and waiting are not my thing. the flakes are good humidity level right out of the tin, the tin note is "tobacco", the room note is pleasant, it lights and burns with no trouble. i smoke mostly Va. or VaPer. blends, and i look for the sweetness and spice often associated with those types of blends, this didn't have it, the flavor reminded me somewhat of a toasted cigar, not bad at all but just not my preference.
Kramer's - Father Dempsey
straight up English blend
I found this to be a little too Latakia heavy for my liking, I suspect if you are a cooler climate smoker it will serve you better because this type of blend does seem to perform better with cooler temps, unfortunately in Fl. we don't get many Latakia days. The bag note is wonderful, just what you would expect from the ingredients, it packs very easily, and does not hardly need a relight once going. Overall the tobacco taste is very rich and smokey with just a slight tickle to the tongue. the room note is pleasant enough for indoor smoking but not likely to get many compliments. You may wonder why I gave it 3 stars when I really did not like it, that is because I rated it upon it's merit for what it is- straight up English, if that is your preference, you should like it.
Peter Stokkebye - PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake
Very good but bites
I love the taste and aroma but can't smoke it because it bites me every time. Must be PH thing because it does not burn hot or wet. Order a small quantity and proceed with caution.
Cult - Blood Red Moon 50g
if you ever smokes aromatics this is one you should try, this cherry blend is so sweet and smells so good. it smokes much cleaner and dryer than you would ever imagine. the room note is fantastic. there is real tobacco flavor in there. cool as can be. it will ghost the pipe. 6/26/19 downgrading to 3 stars. too sweet and aromatic and the ghosting never goes away.
Seattle Pipe Club - Deception Pass 2oz
mild and sweet
very mild with a pleasant enough sweet smokiness to make it worth returning to. although it is billed as a Va/Per i found that the Orientals were prominent and offered a nice change to what you would typically find in a straight out Va/Per flake. the black Cavendish probably added to the sweetness but was not as forward as the Orientals (IMO).
Sutliff - Great Outdoors 1.5oz
my favorite aromatic
This is a good, simple, straight forward, burley blend, the casing is used with discretion and offers some to the overall profile but does not make the tobacco overly moist or goopy. It certainly has that character of the old classic drug store blends of yesteryear but would be " top shelf". I purchased the tin because it was on a very low price clearence but have found that I have returned to it on several occasions because it is so comfortable. Upon opening the tin you are rewarded with the sweet aroma of the topping and the tobacco, the cut is somewhat coarse and chunky. If were not for the diameter of the tin being too small the blend would certainly invite thrust and pack method of loading the pipe and I found this to work very well when the tobacco was tranfered to a pouch. The initial light does offer some sweetness but is not too sweet, as you progress in the smoke the sweetness does give way to, as others have noted, a peppery experience. Not bad! Not overly complex, and by no means hot. Just very comfortable. The nic hit seems to be somewhat minimal. The room note is pleasent enough, I heard no complaints but I also had no real compliments either. I would say that even though I have returned to this current tin often enough. recently reordered
Sutliff - 500 African Queen
Should have listened to other reviewers negative comments, this is pretty bad! Don't let the description lure you into thinking that maybe there is something there to be enjoyed, it's only positive merit is that it produces a pleasant aroma. So heavily cased it made my throat hurt.
Sutliff - Aged Maduro Cavendish
you must be an aromatic fan
Black! Drying time required. Great bag aroma. If you are looking for an aromatic for those mixed company moments this is pleasant enough to smoke on a pretty regular basis. It burns well enough and doesn't bite, the taste is mild and does not leave bad aftertaste as many aros do, it will not be a part of my regular rotation but I will finish off the amount I purchased and not dump it. If you favor aros it is definitely worth a try.
Sutliff - Z50 Black Cordial
all good things
This is a very pleasant cherry blend bulk aromatic, it is indeed what it claims to be. Of all aromatics I find that I might have a preference for cherry (to my surprise) and if that is true for you then give this a go. I will say up front that since I am not a several bowl a day smoker that price point is not my top concern and since this doesn't compare to Cult Blood Red Moon which is one of the best cherry aromatics on the market I will probably not order this again. This is mild, cherry flavorful, bite free, pleasing in aroma, and very inexpensive- all good!
Sutliff - Basin St. Blues
"Exceptionally mild" is right! The bag aroma is outstanding, the initial lite is easy but has a lot casing taste/aroma to it, however this does quickly burn off and the smoke becomes more pleasant. Over the past week or so I have tried several of the Sutliff aromatic offerings and I will say this is by far the best. I am not good at describing underlying nuisances to blends but would point out that the blenders description is pretty accurate. It is not big on "anything" but would be well suited for an all day smoke that is a crowd pleaser.
Peter Stokkebye - PS24 Nougat
lots of smoke little flavor
This is a good, mild aromatic. It produces good smoke volume but lacks "big" flavor, the toppings are definitely there and seem to mask the tobacco flavor. I can see where the aroma would be a crowd pleaser so if you need something to smoke in mixed company this might do. As for being a top seller.. I am sure that part of the reason for that would be because many tobacconist recommend it to new pipe smokers, just like they do Lane's 1Q. As a side note, I find that some aromatic casings trnd to give me a bit of a soar throat... this one did, it is a chemical sensitivity thing. I do recommend it for aromatic smokers
Peter Stokkebye - PS31 Optimum
good bulk aromatic
1st impressions, one bowl. This is a better than average aromatic. I like the tobacco used and the casing is light but present and good... the flavor went well with iced tea (unsweetened). Overall it reminds me a lot of Larsen's Signature Blend except that it had less tongue bite. Will give updates Update- I have found this very good as an early morning smoke with coffee. It is overall a very good mixed company smoke and one of the few aromatics I return to with anticipation of what new flavor I might detect.
G. L. Pease - Cairo 2oz
high hopes dashed
We always have high hope on everything we try from such a well known blender but I must admit this was a bit of a disappointment for me. It is without question a blend of excellent tobaccos and I can see where it would be a hit for some but for some reason the taste and the effect left me wanting more from the Virginias. The description said it was on the medium side which I agree with but for me it leaned more toward heavy, either the nic hit was heavy or a component gave me a bit of lightheadedness. I did however find that when I paired it with French Vanilla coffee it was a good match. I would call it more of an after dinner blend as opposed to an early morning or all day blend.
G. L. Pease - Barbary Coast 2oz
not for me
Nice Burleys but did not like the toppings. It reminds me very much of some of the old timer blends that my pipe smoking mentors preferred but I don't. This one will not go into my rotation, not sure I will even finish the tin.
Samuel Gawith - Cabbie's Mixture 50g
This is good! Was suggested as replacement for McClelland's St James Woods but it did not have nearly the sweetness to be a good sub for SJW. I would put this on more toward spicy than sweet, it definitely has some VA. sweetness but just not the level that I look for. Somewhat on the darker side for a VA. as opposed to the brighter. Moist out of the tin, rubs out easily, packs well, lights easily, smokes to the bottom of the bowl if allowed some drying time before smoking.
Mac Baren - HH Burley Flake 1.75oz
a solid 4 star
First impressions, first bowl. The flakes are perfect moisture level and rub out perfectly and easily for loading, the tin aroma is pleasant and in no way overpowering. Lights easily and delivers a nice consistent smoke that burns easily. By far one of the best Burley blends I have smoked, not sweet, but the Burley chocolate note shines. No worry of tongue bite. I would call it a must try. Update- After a half dozen bowls or so the only thing that I have to add is that this blend has a fair nic hit. Some have suggested that it might a good all day smoke, I find it to be more of an after dinner smoke, not well suited to early morning on an empty stomach. I am not one that tries to review a blend with lots of nuiances but with this blend there are not a lot anyway, it is a consitent flavor throughout the bowl, that being said, it is overall an excellent blend and, as before, I stll say that is a must try for most any pipe smoker that like to have varity in their rotation.
Peter Stokkebye - PS402 Luxury Twist Flake
A Different Twist
A nice lightly cased Virginia tobacco with a twist. Topping is not what I would call sweet but does have a very distinctive taste and leaves a pleasant enough room note. Never any issue with tongue bite. Different but good. 6/26/19 Upgrading to 5 stars. This has become my preferred blend with early morning coffee.
Peter Stokkebye - PS400 Luxury Navy Flake
This is by far my favorite bulk blend to date. It is a beautiful flake tobacco that packs easily in about any method you prefer. It lights easily and burns almost without relight to a nice fine ash. The flavor is more toward the sweet hay/grass side, not heavy at all. It has never bitten my tongue even when I get a little heavy on the puff. A little on the sweet side like a good VA. blend should be but not quite as high on the spice side of Perique. A can't go wrong blend.
Larsen - Signature Vintage Mixture 100g
has the most wonderful tin presentation you can imagine, it smells wonderful and is full of color and cuts. the flavor is a pretty good tobacco taste with great variety throughout the bowl and with the casing coming into play for the first 1/4 but not overbearing. if not careful this will leave behind the aromatic tongue bite so puff slowly. i am not much on aromatics but have gone through two tins of this and may buy another down the road.
Mac Baren - Mixture: Scottish Blend 3.5oz
Ist impressions - my interest is always peaked when I hear of an aromatic that is a good crossover for English smokers and my interest is even more peaked when it is said by Tad Gage in the Trial by Fire reviews in P&T magazine. That being said, I decided that this was one I had to try; but then before I received the tin I ordered I started reading reviews that spoke of tongue bite. I hate tongue bite! Fear set in. I finally received my package and decided to chance it. I opened the tin and the first thing that was evident to me was the honey smell. The tobacco was packed tight in the tin and had become somewhat caked together. Pulling it apart I found the strands to be very long and fine. I rubbed the strands out so that they were not stuck together and loosely loaded my smallish bowl Savinelli Virginia. The unlit draw was good and had a nice taste to it. I lit the tobacco and puffed light and easy for a few puffs, I then let the pipe sit for a short time. I relit the tobacco and started smoke with some unease in fear of scorching my tongue. The smoke lasted for approximately 45 minutes and I never had to relight a single time with only a single pass of a pipe cleaner for the slightest of moisture. All said and done, I did not experience tongue burn but did not find this to be a "bowl me over" flavor blend, it was pleasant and I hope to be able to unpack more flavor as the fear of scorching my tongue diminishes. As others have said, I would rate this as a "must try" for most all pipe smokers. Will update after several more bowls.
Sutliff - Match 20
smooth english blend at good price
This is a very good blending of the described tobaccos, it is a very nice mild English with a good hint of Latakia but the Orientals seem to play the major role, the cavendish is slightly detectable ( which I prefer). It has a moderate amount of smokiness and the nic hit is light. I would put this as a good all day smoke for those who do but the aroma will not be a big crowd pleaser. As for being a good match to the original, yes, but if you are big Dunhill fan you will not agree. I personally have hard time supporting current Dunhill due to the companies direction of disassociating themselves from tobacco. The only negative comment I think I could have about the blend is the the cut could use a little more attention, some of the strands were on the long and leathery side.
McClelland - Royal Cajun: Special 50g
i like this! i found it to be quite flavorful and unique. rich, smooth, and satisfying. the tin aroma and the color are wonderful, it packs and burns with ease, and solicits many compliments about how good it smells burning. as we all know, this is blended with the "new perique" due to the la. st. james parrish hardships, while i am not so sure it is too similar to the original perique (which i like very much), i would accept it as an alternative on it's own merit any day. i applaud the group that had the foresight to develop this. i will return to this and i will try the other two in the series. 01/2016 as an additional note, I found this to be even more pleasant when put through a tobacco grinder to loosen up and tear some of the larger chunks, it helped bring out more flavor and aided in burn. Good made better.
McClelland - Craftsbury: Grey Havens 50g
this blend was one of my earliest introductions to the mcclellands blends and i liked it from the beginning. the balance of the burley and virginia are just right and the "hint" of perique add just the right amount of the something extra. the tin aroma is wonderful and the tobacco colors make for a very inviting presentation. the varied cuts pack easily and set out to a nice flavorful smoke from the first wave of the lighter. as far as variation down the bowl, there is very little, but the flavor of the smoke from beginning to end is consistently good making for a good all day tobacco. update (6/9/17)- this has become one of my favorite "go to" blends, i have found very few others that offer the same consistent level of pleasure regardless of time of day, indoor/outdoor, pairing, or mood. i have upgraded from "recommended" to "highly recommended" and do so wholeheartedly.
Blog's Commented on
A Timely Smoke
- ► For many years I seemed to gravitate toward the larger bowls but more recently I have found that smaller bowls fit my lifestyle better. As I consider this I have to admit that it is a sad statement because it speaks of how busy our lives can get, preventing us from enjoying life's simpler pleasures.