About Me:
I have been smoking a pipe for 30+ years. Introduced to pipe smoking by a friend who taught me to fly fish, it is something that I have always appreciated.

Samuel Gawith - 1792 Flake 50g
Rather strong but smooth
When I opened the tin, the first thing I noticed was the wetness of it. The smell of the Tonquin immediately rose up from the tin, giving it an interesting aroma. I took out a flake and let it dry for about 6 hours. Being as it was a coolish night I filled up my Peterson sitter and went out on the porch to smoke it. 'Twas good that I was sitting down because, as others have noted, it does have quite a nicotine jolt. I found that I liked the taste of the Tonquin quite a bit. Other than the nicotine jolt , it was not a really harsh smoke and burned down to a fine grey ash with only a single lighting. I think this will be a good smoke for either the end of the day or to accompany a good read. Despite it's strength, it is wonderfully smooth. I like this a lot.

Mac Baren - Modern Virginia Loose Cut 100g
Smooth and Dry
I received this as a free sample. The first time I smoked it I thought “Well it is not bad but I am not sure I would actually buy it”. I put it in my humidor and decided to come back to it later. Needing to take a break from the Latakia blends and heavy aromatics I normally smoke, I've starting smoking it again. I found it a nice smooth smoke although I do not smoke Virginias much. The Virginia dominates the taste and is only slightly offset by the Burly and Cavendish. Overall, it is not bad and I may wind up getting some for times when I want a change in taste.

Cornell & Diehl - Brigadier 2oz
A different taste
I decided to try this because I liked most of the components of the blend. However, of all of these, I have never tried Perique and I thought something new would be interesting. On the tin, it was stated that the blend had a light fruit flavor. When I opened the tin, I was greeted by an aroma the could best be described as fruit that was well past its' prime. I also found the mixture to be a bit over moist. None the less, I forged ahead and filled the bowl of a churchwarden and lit it up. I tasted the Latakia with what seemed to be a sharp underlying note I assumed was the Perique. Overall, this was a different taste but not unpleasant. In the background was a fruity note different from many of the aromatics I have tried in the past. I smoked the bowl about two thirds of the way down and then found that it seemed to be too moist. When I cleaned the pipe, I found a lot of unburned tobacco in the bottom that was quite wet. Overall, it was not a bad smoke but the next time I smoke this mixture, I will let it dry a bit first. Drying it a bit does the trick. It now burns all the way down with a fine grey ash.

Cleaners & Cleaning Supplies - B. J. Long Bristle Pipe Cleaners (40 pack)
What a good idea !
These are just the ticket for dealing with the residue left by some of my favorite tobaccos. I am a big fan of flakes that unfortunately leave a lot of gunk in the stem. It usually takes 2 or 3 regular cleaners to get it out, but with the stiff bristles, one does the trick nicely.

Cornell & Diehl - Star of the East 2oz
Holy Smoke !!!!
This has to be the best Cornell & Diehl I have had yet. Nice dry smokey taste and did not make my tongue feel like a piece of beef jerky. I like Latakia blends but this is one I will smoke with more regularity. I will certainly be getting more.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Balkan Mixture 50g
A good smoke !
Years ago I used to smoke Balkan Sobranie. I liked the dry taste but found it a bit harsh for a regular smoke. This, on the other hand is a lot cleaner. The Virginia really tempers the taste. Having grown up with a grandfather who, being English, liked British blends, I learned to appreciate them. This was my first pipe of this mixture. The only thing that tended to bother me is that I had to keep relighting it. Next time I will let it dry a bit. One can taste the Latakia strongly but it is smooth. I find I rather like it. My wife, on the other hand, has told me rather bluntly "That stuff is awful" so I have to smoke it when she is not around.

Erinmore - Erinmore Flake 50g
An old favorite
This was one of first "strong"blends that I tried many years ago. I was drawn to it by it's aroma and when I finally tried it, I thought the taste was unique, being a bit sweet but not overly so. Oddly enough, I used the fold and pack method as shown on the SPC video long before there was the web. I discovered this method by experimentation and since it worked well for me, I kept using it. I have tried both the mixture and the flake. I think of the two, the flake has a richer flavor.

Cleaners & Cleaning Supplies - B. J. Long Regular Pipe Cleaners (56 pack)
My favorite pipe cleaner
Great for tobacco that produces a lot of moisture in the stem. Since most of my favorites fall into this category, I use them after every smoke. Will be getting more.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Broken Scotch Cake 50g
A mild smoke
I thought this would be more of a flake that had been broken into pieces. It is closer to a ribbon cut actually. That said, it is a mild smooth smoke without much of a "bite". This is not unpleasant but is not as strong as my usual preferences. Ultimately, time will tell, as this is the first time I have tried it. It burns slowly and evenly, developing a nice red ember. It does not have a penetrating room note so is not likely to annoy my wife. That alone is a good point.

Mac Baren - Dark Twist 3.5oz
Forward into the past
I used to smoke this about 15 years ago and have been meaning to get another tin. This was not possible because my local smoke shop stopped carrying it. I saw it on this site and put it on my wish list for the holiday season. My wife got it for me and surprisingly, it does not bother her sinuses as do a lot of Virginia blends. It still has the same rich flavor I remember from years ago. It does have a little bite but this is not a problem with a Peterson P-lip. The bouquet reminds me of dried fruit but is not excessive. 'Twas good to see the return of an old friend.

Tampers & Tools - Rubber Pipe Bits (2 pack)
I have an a 20+ year old Savinelli that is one of my favorites, its' age reflected by the wear on the bit inflicted by my teeth. Since these looked like an inexpensive solution, I decided to give them a try. It changed the whole feel of the pipe and made it far easier to hold in my teeth whilst working at the computer. Since I like to smoke when I am writing I could not be happier. I am not sure if it will work with a Peterson P- lip but I will give that a try. I would recommend these wholeheartedly to anyone who smokes and works with one's hands at the same time.

Cornell & Diehl - Pirate Kake 2oz
Grows on you
I got this as a sample and was not sure I liked it at first but I found that after smoking it several times it began to grow on me. It does have, as others have mentioned, quite a punch but is great for when I am in a contemplative mood. It is a nice slow burning smoke and my first experience with cakes. I find I rather like it. I am on my second tin now. I have started using the cigar cutter method of preparation (As shown on the SPC blog) and find that it makes the smoke quite a bit smoother. This will be one of my regular smokes.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Bob's Chocolate Flake 50g
May well be my new favorite
I am a big fan of flakes and have liked the mix Virginia and Burley for years. I smoke Erinmore Flake most of the time but decided to give this a try. I was impressed by the smoothness. The Virginia and Burley flavors blend nicely with the Latakia. A great smoke !

Cornell & Diehl
Star of the East 2oz

20% Off Cornell & Diehl Tins
Reg. $14.70 $10.00
    50 Shades of Maduro
  • ► Great article! I smoke Padrons every so often and have always wondered about the varying shades of brown in the Maduro wrappers. I never noticed any variation in taste. Still I was curious about the color variation. Good information.