Tsuge - Winter's Embrace 50g
Sub par is correct
I have to concur with Christopher B: this is a straight and sub par Virginia with lots of bite. If you want a decent Virginia, move on.
Peterson - Holiday Season 2015 100g
I concur with Christoper. This is a top quality blend. The berry aroma and flavor, combined with the cognac, is very festive. The quality of the leaf is excellent. I had no tongue bite, and at the end my bowl was clean without the goop and dottle of lesser aromatics.
Peterson - Nutty Cut 50g
After reading the positive reviews of this blend, I wanted it. However, it just didn't pan out for me. The aroma was really flat as was the flavor. I wouldn't even call this an aromatic, just tobacco that was OK. Flavor wise it was the same, bland. All in all, a dissapointing experience after they hype. I wouldn't buy it again.
Peterson - Founders Choice 100g
Just picked up a tin from my tobacconist on his recommendation. A new Peterson spigot of course should have Peterson tobacco in it for the first light. On opening the tin I was greeted with a heavenly aroma of and mango. The appearance was a melange of various colors, with plenty of cube cut tobacco inside. The moisture content freshly opened was spot on, and it packs easily in the bowl. On lighting the aroma of mango fills the air. Trust me no one will complain, and you will get many compliments. Flavor wise, again, another home run. It's clearly a Virginia blend, but the sharp and brassy qualities of that leaf are mellowed with the burley and cavendish. Flavor wise, the Mango and Vanilla are up front, and they complement the fine tobaccos perfectly. I didn't notice the rum that much. The bowl burned clean with little gunk or dottle. This is a repeat buy if you enjoy fine aromatics.
Rattray's - Bagpiper's Dream 100g
I've been going back to aromatics lately because of the heat here in Sacramento. I'm an outdoor smoker, and the mercury has been pushing over 100F lately. Latakias and Oriental are out. I've been getting tired of VA Flakes and VaPers as that's all that's been on my rotation these past 3 months. Thus the return to aromatics. Today it's time for the Bagpiper's Delight. On opening the tin, the nose is greeted with Cognac and Vanilla scents, slightly sweet. The appearance is a jumble of different flakes, rubbed flakes, broken flakes, and broken slices from pale to dark. There is a lot going on. The moisture is spot on; the tobacco packs easily, and burns perfectly. Also, there was no goop in my bowl and the end. The initial burst of flavor matches the tin note, only with wonderful tobacco flavor shining through. All told the intensity of flavor is between mild and medium. Because of the various bits of tobacco, the flavor is shifting constantly. I experienced no bite, but I am a cautious smoker. The aroma is a go with everyone. The nicotine level is low, which suits me fine when it's hot. This is a wonderful blend on first impression.
Dunhill - Early Morning Pipe 50g
Love the packaging. On opening the tin I was greeted by Latakia, not powerful but present. Moisture content out of the tin was just about right. I was however not impressed. It has the complexity of Dunhill Latakia blends, but this fell flat. Not bad, it just didn't please in taste or smell. Also, my pipe hand smelled like cigarettes after a bowl. I much prefer MM965 or Nightcap.
Samuel Gawith - Grousemoor 50g
Wonderful Floral Aromatic
This is my second Lakeland after Ennerdale. I love the tin and the presentation. Upon opening, one is greeted with a citrusy floral bouquet. The tobacco itself is a uniform pale blond cut in longish ribbons. Due to the cut, it is harder to load in smaller bowls. The tobacco is a little moist, but takes light readily with a few touch ups. The flavor is not as intense or soapy as Ennerdale, but the floral element is still pronounced. This may ghost your bowl for a day or two, not a month. I experienced no bite from this wonderful leaf, and can see this being a part of my regular Spring and Summer rotation. Highly recommended if you like floral aromatics made with good tobacco.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Ennerdale Flake
Like Smoking a Rose Sachet
This is my introduction to the Lakeland aromatic. Upon opening my package (I bought bulk) I was greeted with the aroma of a rose sachet, a wonderful but uncommon smell for me. The tobacco came in long size flakes about 8 inches in length. They have a dark mottled appearance, and fine crystals were present throughout. I cut the flakes in thirds to fit in a mason jar, then proceeded to rub one out. The flakes are moist. I made the mistake of packing my cob immediately; I should have waited ten minutes at least, as I had to relight constantly. I was surprised at how floral the smoke is, like smoking the essence of roses. It's a flavor one encounters in Middle Eastern cuisine. The tobacco is good, but takes second or third seat on this first tasting. Not once did I experience burn. I understand why people don't like this, though I will be coming back to it. Ennerdale is not a bread and butter smoke, and I can see myself smoking it a few times each month in the Spring and Summer. The flavor lingers long after the bowl is finished, and it certainly requires a dedicated pipe. I find I enjoy the ghost when I load the bowl the next day with a Virginia. Highly recommended for those seeking adventure and the unusual.
Tabac Manil - La Brumeuse 3.5oz
Unique and Tasty Smoke
This was a great surprise, and has become one of my favorites. I love that this is an all tobacco smoke, without casings or toppings. Just pure tobacco. Then there's the flavor, which is wonderful and rugged. I get notes of nuts, leather, wood, and cigar tobacco. It is a savory rather than sweet smoke, and certainly pairs nicely with a Chimay quad.
Samuel Gawith - Black XX 50g
Does Not Appeal
I was intrigued with the presentation and had to get some of this rope. While it looks impressive, the smell of it was not pleasant. "Not a problem" I thought, as it's important to give all of the tobacco chance. After packing and lighting, I was not pleased. The smell was foul, something akin to burning circuitry, mesquite, and rank oil all at once. I also don't like when my pipe hand stinks after smoking. My impression after six months is unchanged as far as aroma goes. As for flavor, I did pick up some sweeter notes on the tobacco after some rest and there was no bite, however, the smell makes me think I'm smoking something toxic.