Lane Limited - Medal of Valor
Received the sample with another purchase. For an English blend, it has the characteristics that I appreciate. Smooth and creamy. A little smokey and mildly sweet but a nice pure tobacco leaf taste. However, there is a taste of toasted Cumin that is woven into this blend. I appreciated the unusual flavour, but didn't find it to be something I can smoke every day.
Sutliff - Ready Rubbed Match
A burley I like...
I'm not a fan of most Burleys, so please take that into consideration. The casings and aromatic qualities are what really make me like this blend. I don't smoke aromatics regularly but this makes me come around more frequently than I used to. The smoke is sweet and smooth, not drying but not mouth filling or cloying. A nice balance. Some marshmallow and chocolate notes, but overall a nutty and earthy smoke with a kiss of sweetness and aromatic quality to help make this a yard work/tooting around with family in the canoe blend. I don't know if this honestly match's to ERR, but if this is what it did taste like, I can understand the nostalgia and wish to have it back. Worth a purchase!
Solani - Aged Burley Flake - 656 50g
Learning about burley
I have been trying burley blends trying to find out if I have a taste for them. So far no luck. This flake comes recommended as the top of the line Burley. If you want the best Burley flake you need to spend the money on a tin of this. Me? Meh. I can taste the mild cacao and graham cracker like flavours from time to time, but there is this overall palate drying quality to Burley's that turn me off. And a noticeable dry wood/cedar pencil shaving flavour that is not appealing. So for me, this one is not getting reordered. Maybe you are a burley fan and will love this, but if you are not on the burley train, this may not convince you either.
Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 50g
Hype? Yes. Good Tobacco? Of course
This was one of the first pipe tobaccos I had ever tried to smoke. I was unimpressed with all the reviews online and hype and convinced pipe smoking was for suckers. Time. Patience. Practice. Is this god's gift to pipe smokers? Nope. Is it a very delicious Virginia? Absolutely. It has the rich, very singular flavour of an uncomplicated blend that is made well and consistently. Room note is great and the smoke is deeply satisfying. Age a tin and dry the flakes out properly and understand why people have come to love this flake.
Peter Heinrichs - Dark Strong Flake 200g
It can be good
The first bowl of these little flakes was amazing. A sweet, sugary and soft anise flavour. I'm not the biggest fan of anise/licorice but combined with the flavour of tobacco and dry wood/barbeque smoke really worked. However, trying this blend several other times over a few months I started noticing very dry, bland smokes that left me unimpressed. There is some combination of gold/brown virginia to Dark Kentucky that gives a lovely smoke, but I can't seem to nail it down and really detracts from this blend. Rubbed out, folded and stuffed, it never seems like I can get a consistent smoke with this. Beginner's luck on the first smoke, and a luck of the draw ever since.
McClelland - Personal Reserve: Blackwoods Flake 100g
Great Virginia for introduction to McClelland
Open this tin about a month before you plan on smoking it. Leave the plastic lid off for about a day, then cover for a week. Repeat and check until the chunks of broken flake are at desired moisture content. I prefer it a little on the drier side. The big hit of clove/vinegar 'Ketchup' mostly disappears but can still be faintly tasted in the smoke. Faintly. It is very creamy, rich and smooth and SWEET. Burnt ends of steak and brown sugar? It needs a slow smoking tempo and proper preparation but the resulting smoke is well worth it! If this is any indication of McClelland's level of Virginia tobacco quality, then it seems I need to start diving into their offerings.
Hearth & Home - Marble Kake 1.5oz
Love this stuff!
I have been slowly finding out that I have a love for Virginia blends. Started with VaPers and have moved solidly into pure Virginia blends. One tin of this was purchased based of tobaccoreviews.com and I was sold from the first bowl. Initially, there is a raw, almost dry/bitter first few puffs that seem off putting, but whatever that is, disappears quickly and you are left with a very singular but wonderful smoke. A nice overall sweetness mixed with a meaty, rich Virginia tobacco flavour. I don't notice grass or hay or citrus, but a dark, mellow, sweet and earthy smoke. I smoke this over SG Full Virginia Flake and McClelland Virginias. Great price and perfect tobacco for me. Desert Island blend.
Hearth & Home - BlackHouse 1.75oz
My Top English Blend
Is this a perfect recreation of 759? I have no idea and really have no interest. I can count myself among the many who have never tried the 'original'. This blend has taken its place before all other English/Balkan blends in my limited cellar. Any time I feel the urge for Latakia, this is the blend that goes into my pipe. All of the classic 'English' flavours: earthy smoke, mild incense, a little musty and a perfect amount of sweetness that helps prevent this blend from feeling dry on the palate and just right. Occasionally, I even get a taste of pure dark chocolate. I bought a tin of this based on the hype, with a big pinch of skepticism, and was pleasantly surprised. Give this blend a try... just save me some tins!
McConnell - Folded Flake 50g
Smells wonderful in the tin and looks interesting. I fully rubbed the entire tin of flake and stored in a mason jar. Came at a decent moisture content. Lit easily, smoked with minimum relights (even outdoors in the fall weather) and had no noticeable bite. The flavours were earthy and 'meaty', but not very strong. Some sweetness from the Virginia and kept reminding me of grilled steak, that sweetness from the crispy caramelized bits. No real Perique until the bottom of the bowl, where the flavours dropped to a very mild and the pepper tingle came forward. I kept getting a smooth cigar aroma in the room note (wife does not approve) which was pleasant. Overall a nice experience that one could enjoy everyday and worth a try, but as I am an irregular pipe smoker, just not enough for me.
Peter Stokkebye - PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake
I've found this smoked best folded and stuffed for the most flavourful experience. Sweet and sour, smooth smoke. Some richness/body from the cavendish. Don't notice too much flavour from Perique during the smoke, however 10 or so seconds after exhaling, I slowly get this delayed black pepper tingle over my palate. Never experienced that before until this smoke, which was not unpleasant. This benefited from a slow smoking pace.
Sutliff - Molto Dolce 1.5oz
Rich, thick, very sweet smoke that has a mix of honey/caramel/vanilla flavour. I like an aromatic to taste as great as it smells, and this does just that. It can handle a fair amount of heavy puffing before the great taste disappears, but seems impossible to get it to bite. If you have a taste for aromatics, odds are you will enjoy Molto Dolce.
Hearth & Home - Louisiana Red 1.5oz
Really like this
This was the first VaPer I have ever smoked and I was sold right away. From first charring light to the bottom of the bowl, it's sweet and sour and tangy. Occasionally the flavour of something in the 'dark fruit' range. And the smoke just feels juicy on your palate, which was a nice surprise for me. Nice amount of black pepper tingle during the smoke and I think the room note is great. If you are looking for a trusty introduction to VaPer, Give It A Try!
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening 2oz
The first few times I tried this blend all I got was a hot, ashy smoke. Which was upsetting, based on previous reviews and most of all the tin note. This smells like sweet maple syrup at the pancake house. After a few more smokes I've discovered that this tin does have some maple flavour, but it is very mild and more of a synthetic 'Aunt Jemima' taste. I had to gently sip this blend to get the flavour out. Anything more and this became a steamy, flavourless smoke. Slow smoking, good packing and this can provide a mild, sweet, mapley experience, but it's a little too much work for such minimal rewards for me.