Cornell & Diehl - Father the Flame (Straight Up English) 2oz
Better with some age
When I first opened this tin I found the contents a bit too strong and bitey for my taste. I decided to let it sit for a while and jarred it up. It’s been been about three months, so time for another sip. The seal on the jar wasa bit leaky sothe blend was both older and dryer. Mostimportant, though, is that it was better. It was milder, sweeter, but still a bit bitey. Maybe c&d slipped some perique into the blend.. anyway, it’s now a decent smoke. I figure it needs a full year in the tin (or a new jar) to hit its peak. So stay tuned.
Drucquer & Sons - The Devil's Own 100g
When I first opened this tin I just didn’t care for it. So into a jar it went and sat for 6 months. Now I find it more congenial. The pipe starts out with a smooth white chocolate kindof flavover. Then about halfway down it become more nutty and pepper begins to build. I think it needs another 6 months in the jar and then I’ll be a fan.
Sutliff - 503 Heavy English
Not really a balkan
I’ve smoked a lot of things that are labelled ‘orientals.’ Thanks to the now defunct McClelland brands I have a pretty clear idea of what constitutes oriental influence. 503 is some lat and a lot of virginias and just enough oriental to justify calling it ann ‘english’ blend rater that a verlat. Not that there is anything wrong with 503, but it’s hardly heavy. Westminster and Nightcap bracket what I think of as heavy, 503 is a light, all-day smoke. Good for a starting smoker. The nose is woodsy, taste is a bit earthy with a faint sweetness. Lots of smoke and a clean ash.
Dunhill - Nightcap 50g
Here I am, writing the 111th review of this fine blend. I’ve stuck mynose in this jar 111 times and noted its earth tone every time. This odor is echoed in the latakia forward taste with a side order of oriental and Virgina sweetness, and, if you don’t overpuff, a tiny bit of pepper. This makes for a well balanced smoke. I usually load up a group 3 size pipe and have never experienced that legendary strength that he-men smokers proudly proclaim. Sure, is a dark blend suited for an evening of contemplation, but don’t expect a heavy nic hit.
Stands & Pouches - Neal Yarm Tilt Head 7 Pipe Stand Mahogany
I bought this stand because 1) it holds 7 pipes, and 2) the pipes lay down at an angle. The latter may seem trivial, but the 6 pipe stand it replaced held the pipes so that the stems got in the way of a tiny but important corner of the monitor of my PS4. That said, the stand is well made of nicely finished wood, with felt in all the right places. Now for wht’s wrong. The holes are a bit too shallow. Some of my slide right out. And the bit rest is a little to far back. Some of my shorter pipes wont reach. This caused me to rearrange a number of pipes. No big deal and I’m consitering taking down to the wood shop and making the necessary changes. But don’t be put off, this is an excellent stand at a reasonable price.
McClelland - Syrian Latakia: Rose of Latakia 50g
I have the last 3 tins in the universe
I just ordered theee tins of this from an ebay dealer. Since this blend contains the rarest of already rare Syrian latakia I thought a review would be of interest. And who knows, peace might break out. More to follow... Well, to my surprise the tins arrived and 2 of the tins were marked as 10 years old,, the other not far behind. Since I ordered these before the great McClellend demise I paid a reasonable price for tins that are really rare. Enough for a back story, on to the tobacco.. As one might expect from 10 year old Syrian latakia, the tin note is a faint mushroomy scent - a bit earthy. The taste follows suit with a pleasant sweetness in the foreground. GL Pease once remarked on Syrians wine like characteristic and I have to agree. How much of this is due to the ‘rose’ is hard to tell, since latakia of this maturity is hardto come by. But this is an exceptional smoke in any case. I’d recommend snaping this up once the silly McClelland prive jump quiets down. I mean $60 a tin for Balkan Beauty is jusy ridiculous.
McClelland - Balkan Beauty 50g
One day, I was puffing on a favorite vaper, and the sudden urge to find out what Balkans were about. Now I’d smoked plenty of Balkans in various English blends but they are always overshadowed by the latakia. So I found Ballkan Beauty - still an English blend, but with a much higher percent of Balkan in it. Whoa! What sweet smoke was this? Where did the latakia hide? This blend is as sweet if not sweeter than the finest Virginias. A wee bit of tang, an aaftertaste of apples, and, yes, some depth and weight borrowed from the Lats. This sent me on a quest to try some specific Balkans, but nothing has equalled it yet. Unfortinately, with McClelland defunct I have but one tin left. Going price is $1,000,000. :-)
Esoterica - Penzance 2oz
Just Plain Strange
It’s probably futile to write this review, since, it’s pretty much unavailabe and likely to stay that way. I got lucky and managed to acquire enough that my heirs will still be smoking it. I think the base flavor is something like bittersweet chocolate with a faint pepperiness. But hold on — that’s in this pipe, today. Tomorrow, same pipe, different taste. Diifferent pipe, yet another taste. As this pipe gets smoked the pepper rises and falls, then sweetness begins to build. One can see (well, taste) why this tobacco is legendary. Is it the best tobacco ever? Probably not, but if you like dark, dark Balkan/oriental blends, don’t pass up a chance to try it.
Lighters - IM Corona Old Boy Dark Smooth Briar
Since the basic mechanism has seen use in several other lighter its a testimony for its utility. Flint changes are straightforward, filling and adjust the flame areeasy. The weight is comforable in the hand. It can becleanedwith the judicious use of a toothbrush. My only complaint is that the screw in the bottom has a tendency to wander off. I have several of these and would be lost withough them..
A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
Its confusing when Shane reviews a blend and I actually agree with him. Escudo was on of my first vaper tries and I liked enough to order several tins. Then I got sidetracked by Stokeby’s navy flake and the escudo tins just sat for several years. Opening a tin now I find a pruney sweetness and the perique has tamed a bit - replacing some of the pepper with depth and a dash of a taste that I can only describe as oatmeal with brown sugar. The only place I disagree with Shane is that aged Haddos is now milder than Escudo. Not by much though.
Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 1855 1.4oz
This came up on my list of milder blends and I decided to give it a try. The tin note is sweet tith little overtone. On my first pinch I was surprise to find 1855 needed a lot of rubbing out to behave in the pipe bowl. The smoke itself is wheaty with a slight sweetness. This changed not a whit during the entire smoke. It offers no complexity so after a while I felt a little bored. Yet, if you are looking for a basic all-day blend, this is it..
G. L. Pease - Cumberland 8oz
The pipeful I’m smoking right now is the remains of an 8 oz tin I jarred three year ago. During that time Cumberland went from a slightly harsh vaper to a Virginia with an apricot flavored blend with a bit of pepperiness and a dark note of Kentucky. This is a complex blend in terms of flavor and has an in-your-face kind of strength. But it is altogether a very pleasant experience. The high level of nicotine is what keeps me from making it an all day smoke, though. If you like the buzz you will love this one.
Tampers & Tools - 8deco Bamboo Tamper
Cheaper is better
I’ve spent a lot on pipes and paraphernalia. Cost doesn’t scare me and I believe that good work deserves a reward. But much to my amazement the best tamper is by far the cheapest. I keep them all around the house, let the cat play with them, even grind the shank down a bit. And I get a grest tanp every time.
G. L. Pease - Chelsea Morning 2oz
Once I’m awake enough in the morning I grab an ancient Dunhill Redbark and fill it with Chelsea Morning. I’ve done that for years. The pipe is rickety but it. seems to augment the sugary sweetness of the tobacco. Just as the tobacco tastes seem to mirror the flavor of my cup of coffee. This is heaven! Until recently I thought this blend was unique, but then I discovered its louder, rowdier cousin McClelland’s Grand Samsun. Yes, there’s a lot of oriental in CM witheverything else dancing in the background. A lovely experience, morning after morning.
McClelland - Grand Orientals: Classic Samsun 50g
I’ve been experimenting with Balkans lately to see what all the noise is about and broaden my palate. This offering is certainly a bit noisy! On opening the tin I found a pleasant berry like aroma which was born out in the smoking. It looks like there’s a bit of bright and red virginias in the mix bit the rest is dark as dark can be. The very first few sips are an explosion of pepperiness, then it quickly calmed down. After jarring the blend for a month, the pepper faded out so maybe it was a casing issue. The predominent sweet prunish flavor comes to the fore. Then a note of dark chocolate slips in. Underlying this is an earthiness I associate with latakia. It smokes slowly with minimal heat. An enjoyabe change from my usual run of vapers and Engish blends. Worth having a few tins around.
G. L. Pease - Piccadilly 2oz
All Day Smoker
Touting a honeyed tin note and flavor, Picadilly refuses to offend. A liitle bit of perique pepper and a dash of latakia earthiness, outstanding Virginias. This is that many others try to emulate.
G. L. Pease - Westminster 2oz
This has been my goto english for years now. It has a slightly sweet, nut-like flavor that persists throughout the bowl. Add a dash of pepper and an occasional bit of bitterness and you have it. It’s darkly full bodied and incredibly consistent. The downside is that consistency - smoked all day it can become boring. Once a day though it remains amasing.
G. L. Pease - Haddo's Delight 2oz
I steered away from this blend due to this 4 dot stregth rating. I still something of a timid smoker. Finally, cheered on by some pleasant vapers I worked up my courage and ordered a tin. Much to my surprise I found it to be a smooth and pleasant blend, complex but with only a slight bite. It’s now part of my regular rotation. Three dots maybe but certainly not four.
Chonowitsch - T 12 50g
After a few bad experiences, I’m suspious of pipemaker blends (Dunhill excepted), so I was pleased ti find one I like - T12. It’s slightly sweet, creamy, with a dash of pepper. Smokes well right out of the tin. The pepper builds as you smoke, then seems to fade back behind the sweetness. This reminds me a bit of Picadiilly, which I rate a bit higher, but I expect to enjoy this tin.
Cornell & Diehl - Dark Cherry Cavendish 2oz
With few exceptions (like GL Peases’s blends) I am not a fan of C&D blends. Dark cherry is one such example. The additive is so mild that many pipes miss it entirely. And when you finally taste it, it tastes entirely artificial. To be honest, I don’t like many aromatics, but if iteren’t for the cavendish, there would be nothing of interest here. Strange to say, it ghosts pipes horribly. So after a few pipefuls the ghost accomplishes what the blend didn’t now you can taste the cherry! But this didn’improve my opinion.
G. L. Pease - Montgomery 2oz
I’ve tried a lot of GLP’s blends but somehow overlooked this one. I decided to try it when my ulcer sent me looking for milder blends, and this fit the bill. Yes, it’s mild, but not tasteless by any means. There’s that sweetness yhat marks Virginias, honey like with a touch of fruit. According to its billing, there is no perique ( unusual for a Pease blend) but there is still a bit of spiciness and a low pitched body to the flavor. This could be an all day smoke. Burns to a soft ash with few relights. No complaint here.
G. L. Pease - Stonehenge Flake 2oz
Not Worth It
When I opened the and loaded a pipe with this blend I expected something like what Shane promised. What I got was a mouthful of extremely peppery perique followed (after my mouth went numb) with what tasted like a very heavy burley about a third of the way down. And a bitterness at the 2/3 mark, No hint of chocolate, creamy, or fruity. Lots of nicotine though. i tried 3 different pipes, several different packs to no avail. And now I have three expensive pipes to nurse back to health. To me, this blend is simply a complete failure to deliver what was promised. I'm just a little peeved...
Esoterica - Margate 2oz
A Nice Traditional
A few years ago I acquired a large amount of Penzance along with a good number of miscellaneous tins - seveveral were of 1913 Margate. I have to admit, when I first decanted a tin into a mason jar, I wasn't impressed. And so the jar sat in my cellar untouched until now. On this retry I discovered that the tobacco fairy had converted what was a fairly washed out shag into a near perfect light english. Smooth and slightly sweet, burns cool - an all day smoke if there ever was one. It's sad that this blend and its brothers have all but disappeared from the market. But if you do get a chance do try it out.
Peter Stokkebye - PS400 Luxury Navy Flake
I'd tried escudo, and a few Pease vapers, and I was just not turned on. Perique tends to burn my mouth, so I just avoid it. Then a little pack of this arrived with an order. It sat around for a month or two and then I tried it - rolling a flake up and tearing it to bits. Lo, a door suddenly opened! I suddenly 'got' the natural sweetness of light virginias and an addict was born. While this is no longer my favorite vaper (Haddo's and Epitome are) I will always want this around. A note: I found that roll, fold and stufff produce the harshest smoke, and using a scissors to cut a flake into bits was best.
McClelland - Craftsbury: Grey Havens 50g
A little too light
I'm not sure why I bought this - probably the label and interest in trying a burley blend. When I first opened the tin there was a wheaty tin note that was very pleasant. Loading a small Former bull dog I found that, to my surprise, the pipe seemed to eat the flavor - kind of like light cigarettes was all I got. Later I decided to try a different pipe - a stove pipey billiard and, lo and behold, a faint, sweet and wheaty taste that developed as I smoked. Pleasant, but not enough presence foe to put it in rotation. I'll finish the tin though :-)
G. L. Pease - Regents Flake 2oz
I'm still working thru my first tin so take this with a grain of ash. I find that RF is extremely mild in flavor. So mild, in fact that in certain pipes the virginias disappear. But what taste there is is very good with some slight harshness. My other point is that despite the apparent mildness of flavor, RF is hardly nicotine free. I suspect that a number of years aging will bring out the virginias and I'll stick to small pipes to keep my head on straight.