Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Flake Aromatic
One of my favorite Lakeland
A wonderful strong Lakeland style flake of superior quality. Along with the flavors mentioned ( tonquin, maple, and licorice), of which are background notes, the main flavor is I believe bergamot (same flavoring used in Earl Gray tea). I find the scent dominates in a small bowl, in a large bowl the tobacco dominates. Your choice, I like both but find large bowls smoother tasting, if you can handle the extra nicotine. Also this smokes very good moist, just rubbed out and packed light, no bite. Dry I find it bites! Don't know why. This seems to be a common experience for me and G&H tobaccos.
Cornell & Diehl - Bayou Night
Great heavy hitter
Another one-note masterpiece that could only come from C&D. They do this kind of blend so well. We are conditioned to search for complexity in anything that one might be a connoisseur of, but a lot of C&D bends seem to make a good point of saying "Smoke this, it's real good, don't analyze it!" Well I guess I am anyway. I love blends with layers of complexity, but a lot of times I grab a C&D blend because it's simple and good. The blend itself is delicious to me. I concur with Zombie Gentleman about it's chocolate note which I think comes from C&D's granulated perique (I got some of their blender perique and it smelled of dry chocolate cake mix and wood ear mushrooms) and it also has a round base note of bitterness like french roast coffee, plus the expected black pepper and fig. This is very low rated and I think I know why. This particular blend didn't grab me at first and for a good reason, it hurt. I got a sample and felt that it was pretty moist, so naturally I dried it out a lot. It wrecked the roof of my mouth but good. A week later I tried it again, this time drying out more... much worst. I had it in a mason jar (it is so hard to throw away tobacco) and 4 or 6 months latter I had learned something about at least my body chemistry, blends with a lot of perique, like a newly found C&D favorite Kajun Kake, like to be moist. I thought back to that jar of Bayou Night and remember that it was fifty percent perique. I tried it again and packed a bowl fully moist and found it to be amazing cool smoking and bite-less. It is spicy at the mid-bowl mark but it wasn't damaging my mouth at all. It is now a blend that I grab when I want to be sure I don't get bit. Night and day difference. Try it again if this sound like you first experience, I'm glad I did!
Captain Earle's - Ten Russians 2oz
Rich and powerful blend
Yes it's one note (Latakia!!) but I have smoked straight Latakia before, once, you know just curious, and it didn't taste any thing like this. For this reason it seems to me a clever blend in that it has such a smooth flavor while giving you the impression that you're mainlining Latakia. There is the smoothness - (black cavendish) sweetness (Virginia) and fullness (Turkish?), it’s just that they are playing the part of structure but not even hinting at their own flavor. Usually I would say this means a lack of balance, but strangely I want to give this blend a pass because I find it has its own excessive kind of charm. You Know like an actor who always chews scenery, seems to like himself too much, and you want to hate him but you just can't. He gets away with it because of CHARM. Also, of all the high NIC hitters (Irish Flake, Nightcap, 1792, Brown and Black ropes) this seem to be the smoothest on the tongue, no bite. I do recommend not drying it out as much as others, smoke it moist and don't pack it as much either. And do yourself a favor, use a small pipe and go slowly. It seems like a pussycat at first and then you'll get the shakes. Just keep repeating, it's only the nicotine....it's only the nicotine....it's only the nicotine....
G. L. Pease - Charing Cross 2oz
This is one of my all time favorite blends. Always satisfying with it's rich, sharp and clear flavors, but some roundness. There is nothing thin about the flavor. It's balanced but with highs and lows. You could say it's a Lat bomb but on a different day, a different pipe you could say it's oriental forward. It seems to make a statement on all flavors; sour, bitter, savory, with pops of sweetness (a trick of Mr. Pease is the little birds eye shaped snips of Virginia flake-Union Square?) and on re-lights some hint of salt and a great oriental spiciness. I happen to like or love a lot of G.L.P. blends -Quiet Nights, Abingdon, Gas Light and Key Largo (once I figured out how to make it stop biting) in the love category and might go for a month before I get around to this blend (I like a large rotation), but every time I light up a bowl of this I wonder why I waited so long.