Lane Limited - Dark Red
Cool, Dry, but Lacking the Expected Flavours
Very sticky tobacco, but surprisingly dry, cool, and clean burning. The flavour itself is decent; the draw is sweet black cavendish with cinnamon and cloves, while the finish has a subtle cherry taste. It gets a little bland near the end.
James J. Fox - Hibernia 50g
It's Grown on Me
Smokes similar to a dutch style aromatic with that cinnamon-like, old book store flavour. Burns cool and stays lit well. The added flavours aren't overwhelming.
Amphora - Full Aroma 1.75oz
Mild and Gentle
Nice enough. Not too sweet, mild baking spice and chocolate flavours. Mild strength and good burn. Similar to Sail Aromatic, maybe with less liquorice. If you're a fan Dutch aromatics, go for it.
Dunhill - Standard Mixture 50g
From the tin, it's Oriental forward, with an olive-like sourness and some sweet/smoky latakia. Behind this, there's a light smell of dried fruit. I love the cut and moisture level of this; it's very easy to handle, pack, and light. As you smoke it, once again, the Orientals take centre stage with an herbal/nutty quality, and the Virginias give a toasted and caramel-ish flavour on the finish. Overall, the latakia is very mild in the bowl, but that is no way a complaint. Excellent, all-day mixture.
Samuel Gawith - Kendal Cream Flake 50g
I love Samuel Gawith, but I found this disappointing. Flat and a little ashy.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Best Brown #2 Flake 50g
Upon opening, you are greeted with a block of beautiful, partially broken flakes dotted with a decent amount of sugar crystals. The smell is akin to McClelland virginias; sharp, with a vinegar like sourness. This is the dominant smell, but there are also dried fruits in the background. The delicate floral quality of this blend presents itself while smoking, though it does not mask the flavour of the leaves. Lightly sweet on the draw, and toasted on the finish. I wouldn't say this is a "bright" tasting tobacco; it carries warmer tones, and is not as harsh as some other Va/Bur or Lakeland flakes can be.
Samuel Gawith - Perfection Mixture 50g
Classic Samuel Gawith
The vanilla in this blend is incredibly subtle; it doesn't add flavour so much as it rounds out the smoke. It has classic creamy, herbal, leathery oriental/latakia flavours, with medium strength. I think it's a very nice all-day blend.
Hearth & Home - Classic Burley Kake 1.5oz
This is Essentially Sir Walter Raleigh
Huge, sweet chocolate smell from the tin, and a nice sliced crumble cake that rubs down into an easy to pack coarse/cube cut. The smoke itself has the toasty, nutty, chocolatey flavours associated with classic American burley blends. Nice enough, I do enjoy smoking it.
Orlik - Golden Sliced 50g
More of a subtle sweetness here. I can see this being an all-day blend, but I only smoke it occasionally. Grassy, toasty flavours on the draw, with an herbal quality and some caramel/maltiness on the finish.
Cornell & Diehl - Easy Times 2oz
Full Burley Blend
Typical dry, chalky C&D, but more bearable. Not the boldest of their blends (i.e. Purple Cow or Billy Budd) but is still full and packs some punch. Like many other C&D's, I find it very cigar like and get "burley throat". Not bad, but I have to be in the mood.
G. L. Pease - JackKnife Plug 2oz
From the tin you are greeted with a smoky/savoury kentucky smell (think Russian caravan tea), and a slightly sour, grassy, fruity smell from the virginias. While smoking, the virginias come across in a herbal, somewhat haylike way, with the kentucky adding body, and beautiful earthy/leathery flavours. Not a sweet blend. It burns evenly, cool, and carries a nice level of nicotine that grows throughout the bowl. I'm a fan.
Peterson - Irish Flake 50g
Sipping is the way to go here. The smoke is floral, spicy, herbal, and leathery. I'd imagine this is similar to the Irish style plugs sold in the UK. If you enjoy dark, powerful lakelands, this is worth a try; it's just a touch lighter on the burley.
Carter Hall - Carter Hall 1.5oz Pouch
One of my first blends, and one of the better classic American OTC blends. Simple, chocolatey and nutty burley flavours; definitely more earthy than sweet, but not in any way overpowering. Very nice. I really enjoy it.
Punch - London Club EMS
Great size. Starts off grassy/herbal on the finish and progresses into citrus pith, chocolate, coffee, wood and spice near the end. It got bitter around halfway in, but that cleared up and I was able to smoke it to the very end. Pleasant amount of nicotine and burnt well.
Peterson - Luxury Blend 50g
Misses the Mark
An okay aromatic. It's not goopy and oppressively flavoured, but it lacks excitement. It burns fairly hot and seems a little flat. Sorry, Peterson! I still love you.
G. L. Pease - Gaslight 2oz
Full of bold, creamy, smoky flavours. It`s not an every day blend for me, but it definitely hits the spot when I`m craving a strong latakia tobacco. Quite nice in the nicotine department too.
Orlik - Dark Strong Kentucky 50g
I was expecting more of what the name intimated. It's just too much like an aromatic. Very sweet, but not in a natural way. I was hoping to get some earthiness or smokiness, but this flake doesn't offer that. I'd say if you like aromatics and want to get into virginias, this might be the way to go. If you are expecting "Dark Strong Kentucky" however, look elsewhere.
Rotary - Luxury Navy Cut 50g
An awesome navy flake! Sweet and easy going; great for an all-day smoke.
Samuel Gawith - Grousemoor 50g
What a great blend! It is easily a great morning tobacco with it's own distinct character. From the tin, the smell is very fruity and rich; think plums and figs. I was expecting more of a sharp or zesty sweetness, but found it to be a deeper and more savoury sweet. The flavour is almost identical to the smell, but has some added floral and grassy notes. If smoked slowly, it delivers a somewhat "refreshing" quality. Overall, It's not what I'd expect as a typical lakeland (at least in a floral sense), but stands in a class of its own. Highly recommended.
A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
Classic All-Day Smoke
What I really love about this tobacco is how easy it rubs down to a beautiful thin ribbon (better than Luxury Bullseye). It just packs and lights so well. The taste instantly hits me as a classic; the virginias provide sweetness, and the perique opens it up with stewed fruits, chocolate, and some spice. Just the right amount of vitamin N, too.
Cornell & Diehl - Crooner
I was really excited to try a blend with deertongue in it. Unfortunately, I find this blend to be a little bitter and flat. On the bright side, the smell from the pouch is awesome; the deertongue reminds me of something between vanilla and sweetgrass, but it just doesn't smoke well for me. Too bad!
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Rum Flake 50g
One You Should Experience
I believe a slow smoking cadence is best suited to bring out the subtleties in this rather delicate blend. It arrives in a nice somewhat broken flake form and is very easy to break up and light. A very pleasant and rich fruity taste with hints of spice makes this blend a winner.
Sir Walter Raleigh - Aromatic 1.5oz
Just received my first Dr. Grabow and I thought this would be a great blend to break it in with. I really love how the essence of the original SWR is there; the nuttiness and sweetness is great. I also love how it isn't sticky or goopy like most other aromatics. Truly a classic blend, and one of the better smoking aromatics I've tried. Go for it.
McClelland - Matured Virginia: Navy Cavendish 50g
Full and Smooth
This is a great blend. I was expecting more of a typical McClelland vinegar note out of the tin, but this blend has a much deeper and warmer smell. It's not bright, but rather very savoury; akin to Full Virginia Flake. The flakes rub down fairly easily and take a light well. Again, the taste is very smooth and savoury, but it has enough sweetness to keep you going. Overall, I really do rate this one highly. Give it a go.
Cornell & Diehl - Mississippi Mud 2oz
When I first bought this blend I wasn't overly keen on it. I let it sit in a jar for a few months, always skimming past it when choosing what to smoke. Only tonight did I come back to it, and I have to say I'm enjoying it a lot more! It has a nice chocolate quality about it. Very rich and hearty blend.
Sir Walter Raleigh - Regular 1.5oz
Classic, All Day Burley Blend
To me, this comes off as the classic "comfort" blend. It's sweet, easy-going, and gives you that nostalgic feeling. I just smoked it for the first time in a fresh MM legend, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. The pouch aroma is candy-like sweet with a little liquorice note. Smoking it, it has a chocolatey/marshmallow flavour, with, oddly enough, a finish similar to black tea. I was expecting an earthy burley presence, but didn't find any. The cut allows for easy packing, and though it did burn a little hot, I can look past it. Overall, a really nice blend I can see coming back to.
Half and Half - Half and Half 1.5oz
Half & Half is a very nice cherry aromatic. It's not as heavily cased or sticky as your typical cavendish based blends. From the pouch, you get very sweet chocolate and cherry, along with a nuttiness that's reminiscent of Carter Hall. The cherry comes across in the flavour, but is not very assertive. It's sweet, but has the classic "warm" burley taste. The finish brings lovely chocolate and caramel. The cut is ideal for easy packing and it stays lit fairly well. Overall, I expected something much different and am surprised with how much I'm enjoying it!
Sail - Natural 1.5oz (Beige)
From the pouch you get a sweet and slightly sour raisin smell from the virginias, but no notion of anything else. Do not expect latakia! It's cut in a nice, lightly pressed broken flake that is very easy to pack. I would recommend letting it dry slightly; it can get a bit wet at the bottom of the bowl. While smoking, it's mellow, sweet, grassy, and honey-like with a bit of a nutty finish from the burley. I'd say as long as you take it slow, and accept it for what it is, this is a satisfying smoke. An easygoing virginia and burley blend.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Kendal Flake
G&H Strike Again
Really nice lakeland flake. Not as strong or sharp as the Scented Dark Flake; has much rounder, softer flavours with an almost anesthetic quality. Finish is sweet and toasty. Burns very well. Prefer this over a few others (Scented Dark Flake, Grasmere Flake). Lovely! Right up there with Ennerdale and Bob's Choc!
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Louisiana Flake
This is a beautiful blend. The spiciness and savouriness from the perique works so well with the underlying floral essence of GH`s virginias. This essence is especially apparent upon the first few draws, but the perique develops it`s flavours as you work your way down the bowl, adding some depth. The finish is sweet, nutty and honey-like; almost malty. The typical thick cut flakes pack and burn surprisingly nicely and don`t require much attention at all. I would imagine this would be very similar to Samuel Gawith`s St. James Flake, as the virginia taste in this reminds me very much of SG`s Full Virginia.
Newminster - No.84 Oriental Pipe Cut
Newminster Does it Again
I can see this being an all day blend. The aroma is sweet, fragrant, and slightly sour. Not surprisingly, it does burn a little hot due to the cut and natural sugars in virginia and oriental tobacco, but this can be managed by sipping and savouring the rather delicate flavours.
Five Brothers - Five Brothers 1.25oz
It's a simple blend, but a solid smoke. The very fine shag cut allows for easy packing and lighting. Not necessarily a positive or negative, but this is the fastest burning tobacco I have ever smoked, though it doesn't burn particularly hot. In terms of strength, you get some "burley throat" and a bit of a whack from the nicotine, but it's not in any way as strong as blends such as Purple Cow or Billy Budd. For the price, I don't see why you shouldn't give it a go if you're a fan of burley.
Tom Eltang - Mixture 2oz
The virginias used by Cornell & Diehl have never really appealed to me. I found this to be a little acrid and ashy upon the first few lights, but after a while, the flavours did start to come out a little. Now, I would recommend that you smoke this blend slowly as it does have a good amount of nicotine, but also helps with the flavour, which I must say is very cigar-like, as is the case with many stronger C&D blends. It's okay, but I couldn't see myself going back again and again.
Newminster - No.400 Superior Navy Flake
This is gorgeous stuff! Very akin to blends such as Capstan Gold and Rotary Flake, but is a tad richer and carries a bit more body. I didn't experience bite for one second throughout the bowl, and it packed and burned beautifully. It really is a great flake to work with. Classic.
Sutliff - Frosty Mint
From the pouch this blend has a VERY strong smell of mint (the whole order reeked of it) and a slight hint of chocolate. I was excited to give it a go, and smoked it in a fresh MM hardwood. The taste is an incredibly intense mint, accompanied by an unpleasant bitter background. A strong cooling sensation when retrohaling makes for an interesting smoke, but the rest falls short. It's quite novel, but not my kind of thing.
McClelland - M27 - Three Cherry Blend
Not Bad At All
This blend is very nice and smooth, though it does have the potential to bite and burn quite hot (I had to rest my pipe down while writing this; bad smoking habits!). I think the flavour is as you'd find in many other cherry blends: not so much a cherry, as a very sweet, round, nutty/vanilla taste (which I quite enjoy). The cut is ideal for easy packing, and if you're a slow smoker, this should do the trick for you aromatic fans. Good stuff.
Rattray's - Hal O' The Wynd 100g
I Wanted to Love It!
The cut is beautiful, it's easy to rub down, it retains it's moisture nicely, it burns well... But it's also not very exciting. It just falls flat for me. It's not awful, but the flavour just isn't there!
Cornell & Diehl - Purple Cow 2oz
If you're looking for a bold and incredibly powerful blend, look no further. A very intense mixture that has very cigar like and spicy characteristics with has a strong nicotine whack. Very in your face and very similar to Billy Budd. Gorgeous.
McClelland - 2015 Virginia-Perique Flake
I Need More!
This is amazing stuff. The aroma from the bag has the sourness that I love; typical McClelland and then some. While smoking, the sourness carries through slightly, but the Virginias take over with a beautiful sweetness. The perique shows itself in the finish with gorgeous and rich flavours of fruits and caramel. Delicious.
McClelland - 2050 - Oriental Cavendish
Beautiful smoke. Almost Lakeland-like in characteristic; very perfumey, fragrant and aromatic. The cavendish shines through beautifully with a sweetness well suited for the toppings used. I would absolutely recommend this blend if you're looking for something mellow and slightly exotic.
Capstan - Flake Yellow 1.75oz
I used to find virginias revolting, but after calming down my smoking cadence I found this to be an absolutely beautiful, classic smoke. The first VA blend I've truly come to enjoy, it's very subtle and zesty, and makes a great all day blend. Don't expect to be overcome with complexity, just sit back and relax!
Cigar Accessories - Craftsman's Bench Bullet Cutter and Key Chain
A really handy tool that gets the job done well and is priced fairly. If it ever gets a tad dull, I put it over the tip of my knife sharpener and give it a little twist.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening
From the pouch, this blend has a very prominent maple aroma, along with an astringent sour note. Odd. When you start smoking, you get beautiful flavours of light virginias, maple, and pancakes (!). A very mellow smoke. I also found very pleasant bitter coffee/chocolate notes on the finish. It peaks with nice soft vanilla/oak flavours, and is very nicely balanced. Burns beautifully when treated with respect, and is a sipper if you truly want to appreciate the flavours. Quite honestly, this is one of the best aromatics I've ever had... In the first half.. After that, all of those soft/delicate flavours get lost and the smoke becomes rather bland and bitter. Truly a shame. It WAS beautiful!
Punch - Gran Puro Rancho
A nice light smoke with hints of oak and vanilla on the finish. As you progress, found are notes of leather and some spice. Very pleasant.
Brebbia - Balkan 50g
This blend is absolutely SUBLIME. The best latakia mixture and flat out tobacco I have ever smoked. The Syrian latakia is so smooth, cool and herbal, while the orientals lend a light creaminess, and the kentucky and perique add some more depth and earthiness. For me, lack of virginias is a good thing, as I've never gotten on with them. Smoking this blend is out of this world.
CAO - OSA SOL Lot 50
This is a beautiful cigar, great chocolaty sweet notes with dark caramels and coffee. The burn was fantastic and produced a smooth white ash.
Lane Limited - Black Raspberry
In the Middle
From the bag, this tobacco smells like a 'general' sweet American aromatic; not much of a raspberry scent at all. While smoking, it did burn a tad hot, but I've had tobaccos get hotter. The taste is good, again, lacking in raspberry flavour, though a bit was detected on the finish (though this may be due to me taking some McChrystal's Raspberry Snuff during the bowl). Overall, it's not awful, it's not great, but if you're a fan of Lane's blends, this should be for you!
Brigham - Aurora Borealis 50g
Whole Lata Kia (heh)
I'm going to be honest here and say I originally bought this for the tin, but I must say it is a great tobacco! Very rich in the latakia department (which is great for me), with a tin note of new shoes and chalk (mmm). It was a while ago I last had it, so I don't remember much besides the tin going very fast!
Sutliff - Westminster 1.5oz
Where it Began!
This is the blend that started my love affair with Latakia. A typical English blend that is priced right. And come on.. How can you not love that tin?
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Grasmere Flake
A Piece of History
A very pleasant, easy going smoke. Clean virginias with a pronounced floral/rose essence. A classic Lakeland blend that you should try!
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Sweet Maple Twist
I originally bought this one to chew, but didn't particularly get on with it. So I decided to load it into my Peterson System 303 and give it a go. Now, being iffy on straight Virginia pipe tobaccos, I was slightly hesitant. But before I start, let me say this was a very nice surprise. Upon opening the bag, the smell is very strong: deep, smoky, robust and kentucky like. I couldn't pick up any maple whatsoever, just a subtle sweet note. When lit, this tobacco smokes beautifully! Very cigar like with earthy, woodsy and spicy notes and a background of chocolaty sweetness. When I say cigar like, I don't mean as punchy as smoking a full bodied Nicaraguan, but rather, the taste of this twist is like smelling the toasting of a cigar. Just gorgeous.
Peterson - Old Dublin 50g
Great Latakia flavour, with the creaminess from the Orientals on the draw and a beautiful charred finish. Burns very well and smokes cool.
Samuel Gawith - Navy Flake 50g
My First Samuel Gawith Tobacco
One of my favourite flakes when smoked in a pipe that has a hefty latakia flavour embedded in the briar. However, in a fresh pipe, I find it to be a tad acrid as many virginia blends seem to me. More latakia would be nice, but still a lovely smoking tobacco.
McClelland - Craftsbury: Frog Morton's Cellar 50g
Frog Morton's Cellar
At first I wasn't sure what to think about this tobacco. The aroma from the tin is as you would expect, yet very peculiar; the "new shoes" smell from the latakia, and sweet whiskey. The flavour is not as jarring as the smell, it is very enjoyable and smooth. I do find it tends to want to leap out of the pipe while smoking, but otherwise burns consistently and is very cool in the mouth. Overall, it is definitely different and recommended if you love latakia or are looking to switch from aromatics to English blends.
Gran Habano - Corojo #5 Lunch Break
Beautiful rich flavours with a great fruity pre-light draw. A nice short smoke with a great burn! Recommended.
Dunhill - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
Elizabethan Mixture is only my second Va/Per blend, but makes me want to explore the style much more! A beautiful aroma from the tin of clean virginia, raisin, as well as some acidic/vinegary notes. Pleasant and sharp. Lovely, light yet rich flavours with slight spice and a nice finish of chocolate (drinking chocolate?) and caramel. Overall, mild and relatively cool with a good burn. Great stuff!
McClelland - 2035 - Dark Navy Flake
I was very excited to finally try this one. The flakes are very dark, oily, moist and smell of liquorice and sour vinegary notes. You get the slightest hint of sweet virginias and some spices, but the aroma is just dominated by the pungent and sour smell. I absolutely love it. I smoked this rubbed down in my Savinelli Hercules 803 EX Canadian. On the charring light, it was very sweet on the tongue as well as very mild, without much of a lingering after-taste. Though, after a bit of smoking that liquorice taste crept into the finish, and a slight spiciness/fruitiness came into the draw. About half way down the bowl the tobacco became a tad more stout and rounded, leaving the brighter flavour profile behind, but remaining mellow and smooth to the end. The burn was a little temperamental throughout, needing quite a few relights (especially near the end), but as stated earlier, it was very moist. Overall, This is not at all what I was expecting going into this tobacco judging by the aroma and appearance! But a nice, mellow, and mild smoke nonetheless. I would recommend you give this one a try!
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Ennerdale Flake
Wanting to dive straight into the Lakeland style of tobbacos, I thought the famed Ennerdale would be a great choice. The flakes arrived with a nice level of moisture and just look great! Out of the pouch, the dominant aromas were definitely of liquorice and floral perfumes. When lit (rubbed out), it smokes slowly and cool. The liquorice and floral notes still remain over a classic virginia background, with a finish of maple and caramel. Not so "soapy" as I had been expecting due to the general consensus. Very mild and easy going. As my first Lakeland, I'm very surprised and pleased. I love this stuff!