McConnell - Mature 50g
Too Much Topping
I found the topping too persistent and heavy. It's so distracting that the Virginia leaf itself is somewhat lost, making this more an aromatic than otherwise. And yes, there will be ghosting.
Fribourg & Treyer - Cut Blended Plug 50g
Needs Time and Air, Perhaps
The tin note and cut expresses nothing but quality. But even after a couple of weeks of breathing, a chemical taste prevailed. Perhaps more aging in the jar would curb the sharp almost alcoholic flavor of the burn, which I can only imagine is an over prevalent preservative or anti-mold agent. Either way, the fact that it seemed as strong in the end of the tin as it did at the beginning was enough to put me off. Again, I'm sure there's a fine smoke to be had should one be youthful and adventurous enough to seek it out. But too many other blends beckon, and life is fleeting.
Wessex - Brigade Classic Virginia 50g
A delicious, full bodied Virginia with spicy undertones. Not sharp or grassy, but smooth and biteless. Once lit, she'll burn effortlessly and dry, even in an Oom Paul or any full bent you might have. And as Sherman L. noted in his review, bystanders will find this blend pleasing.
Cornell & Diehl - Opening Night 2oz
Warm, but not hot. Doughy and well-rounded with the subtle fragrances of summer. Does not bite nor demands frequent relights, and constantly begs you to draw your pipe close and breath deeply its deliciously sweet smoke. It's not as hayish or bright as one might expect. Just cozy and friendly, and in no wise contrary to a night spent in quiet contemplation.
McConnell - Highgate 50g
Smooth then Peppery
These coins are a joy to smoke straight from the tin. Just give them a good rub to marry the leaves. The virginia is foremost in the beginning, being warm and biteless. Then the mild spice of the perique kicks in. If you want the latter condiment to really sing, smoke it to the dregs. With both spectrums playing off one another in this way, Highgate can be a pleasant all day smoke with an Oom Paul, or a smaller pipe if that's your fancy.
Comoy's - Cask No.4 3.5oz
Like a Breeze
Smoked slowly in a deep pipe, this mild Perique blend is a perfect all day pleasure. Needs few relights or fuss, turns slightly sour as it nears the bottom of the bowl (in a pleasant way) and is ready to enjoy straight out of tin. Makes me wonder how smooth it might become with a little age.
Three Nuns - Three Nuns Yellow 1.75oz
Slow Is Best
If rubbed vigorously and smoked gently, this blend of sweet Virginias will serve well as an all day smoke. It is sometimes peppery, sometimes sour, but always grassy and bright. No bite or chemical taste, and very few relights needed. Just a solid, straightforward pipe experience.
Vauen - No. 14 Virginia Flake 50g
An Easy Smoke
From a wonderful tin note to a smooth, effortless smoke, this blend has it all. But Vince D was right about the drying time, do give it an hour or so. As for the smoke itself, its very rich in flavor, but somehow mild in taste and also very consistent from first to last. An excellent late night burn after a long day.
Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 1855 1.4oz
A very bright, hayish blend that burns smooth and effortlessly. Cut is perfect, more of a ready rub than ribbon to my eye. Can be smoked straight from the tin, but is much more round and smooth with a few months of aging.
Dan Tobacco - Patriot Flake 50g
A Pleasant Smoke
While revisiting some blends that, for various and sometimes undetermined reasons were deemed not for me, this little gem stood out. Age might have been a factor, and an extra rubbing out. Whatever the case, it burns warm but not hot, is mildly sweet and requires few relights. An earthy fragrance comes and goes, making this flake interesting despite it being straight Virginia.
Wessex - Gold Slice 1.5oz
A pleasant, smooth and unassuming Virginia that won't disappoint. Great all day smoke that burns none too hot, none too sweet and without much trouble.
G. L. Pease - Union Square 2oz
Of The Earth
It's taken a few tins and some time to consider where I stood with this blend. In the end, the earthy purity of it got to me. Though it may never find a spot in my rotation, Union Square remains a rustic curiosity among Virginias. It's not for everyone, to be sure. But for those looking for an unadulterated Virginia smoke, very few blends come close to this one.
Savinelli - Doblone d'Oro 100g
Very Good, Sometimes
Wonderful tin note, burns well and smokes nicely. But as A1W pointed out, it can sometime smoke poorly, almost dirty or mildly bitter. This kind of inconsistency became more pronounced as I soldiered on.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Broken Scotch Cake
The texture and color of this blend is very appealing to the eye - like long threads of a spongy bark. The smell is also nice. Sadly, it burns a little too sharp on its own. That said, it does mellows with age. A year in solitary confinement produced a more rounded smoke. Aged or not, Broken Scotch Cake works well as a condiment, adding zest to a dull or overly smoky blend without distorting the taste. As for the room note, it remains the same either way - simply outstanding.
Cornell & Diehl - Vieux Carré 2oz
A Blend with Depth
It's interesting how the aging quality of a newer blend can be assumed when, so far, I've found it to be far better fresh. Pete is right, it becomes a bit unbalanced with time. But otherwise, a very fine smoke indeed. And by fine I mean, it's rich enough for an after hours treat, and bright enough for anytime of the day, summer or winter.
Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 50g
This is some hardy leaf. Smokes well without fuss or tongue bite, and tastes flavorful, robust and unadulterated; like something our founding fathers might have smoked whilst cleaning their muskets. FVF is for those who have no fear of the wily and untamed ways of straight Virginia.
Samuel Gawith - Golden Glow 50g
A Very Bright Smoke
Very bright and citrusy blend that requires few relights. It's even bright and cheerful to look at in the tin, like the infamous Golden Block. But this stuff burns so much better! And when paired with a cold pint of Belgian, I don't see how life can get any better.
Samuel Gawith - Best Brown Flake 50g
A very pleasant blend that is neither too grassy nor too strong, but squarely in the middle realm. If rubbed out well, Best Brown becomes an easy all day smoke filled with a steady, warmish taste that remains constant from beginning to end. It needed a little time to dry, but not as much as it use to. The tins I received in July of 2018, were not that soddened. Perhaps the complaints of some smokers, regarding this issue, has been addressed. Whatever the case, it's still one of the best and purest Virginias out there.
Esoterica - Kingsbridge 8oz
A Curious Smoke
Having nearly finished 8oz of this blend, I'm still unclear where I stand. It's like smoking something from a different time; an earthy, pungent, all encompassing foundation of Virginia heaven, pressed into an unholy darkness. Were that not enough, a few weeks in the jar will see your leaf painted white with sugar. As for the smoke itself, most of the time I didn't know what I was smelling or tasting. That said, whenever I'd put it aside, to return to a blend firmly grounded in the current century, I would invariably be drawn back to that infernal concoction.
Cornell & Diehl - Yorktown 2oz
Simple But Good
A very bright Virginian blend that smokes well on its own, or when cut with others, for better roundness and warmth. Also, I wish it came in flake form.
G. L. Pease - Embarcadero 2oz
Oriental At The Fore
A very Izmir foreward blend that shines without the need of Latakia - though I sometime wonder how it would smoke with such an addition. But for now, I'll enjoy it as it is; pure earthiness with moments of spice and brightness.
G. L. Pease - JackKnife Plug 2oz
The Exotic Taste of Kentucky
A very earthy, oriental-like blend that, despite its richness, does not come off as overpowering or heady. And if you're craving something akin to Balkan Sobranie, try adding a generous measure of Virginia and a pinch of Latakia. Truly wondrous!
G. L. Pease - Sixpence 2oz
A very intriguing blend when cut with some mild Virginia. But on its own it's just too rich for me.
Amphora - Virginia Blend 1.75oz
A Fine Smoke
MB blends have never been a friend to me - just bad luck on the chemistry end. That said, I really enjoyed this blend. Smokes clean and bright. With regards to relights, gurgle and tongue bit, it behaves with great civility. Indeed, the quality is such that I would recommend it to any Virginia lover, seasoned or otherwise.
Solani - Virginia Flake - 633 50g
A Perfect Smoke
After thirty years and nearing five hundred different blends, this is by far the silkest and friendliest smoke of them all. To say that 633 is the champagne of Virginias is not enough. It's Dom Perignon.
Solani - Silver Label - 660 100g
A wonderful and creamy smoke. Components are well balanced and smooth, even during the last leg. I seldom enjoy the entire bowl, preferring to use the remaining third as a flavor filter, for lack of a better term. But with 660, I find myself smoking it to the bottom, often without realising I had. My only complaint is that it doesn't come in a sealed tin.
Samuel Gawith - English Summer Flake 50g
If you missed out on Scottish Autumn
This is a delicious blend, filled with a subdued taste and aroma. Perique fans will also find it pleasing as there's a slight peppery nuisance that never manifest beyond a tease or whisper. Unlike Scottish Autumn, it burns a little hot, but not as much as some of its German counterparts. It's another of SA's limited blends, so don't miss out on trying a tin.
Samuel Gawith - Cabbie's Mixture 50g
Sweet and Spicy
There's nothing about this blend I don't like. In the tin, it looks and smells wonderful, and it smokes like a dream. There are many Vapers out there, but very few are as perfectly balanced as this one.
Samuel Gawith - Scottish Autumn Flake 50g
Virginia as it should be
As clean and friendly a smoke as ever one might be. Burns smooth and slow, and tastes wonderful. Every bowlful will certainly be cherished, for it seems this gem was a limited run.
Drucquer & Sons - Blairgowrie 100g
A Solid Blend
Smooth and delicious from start to finish, with no bite or bitterness or any of the vexations that come from the newer Rattray and Dunhill blends. A perfect cut that burns none too hot, where the Perique and the Latakia are kept at a proper distance from the center stage. Pease has certainly meandered much. But with Blairgowerie, he's hit the mark dead center.
McClelland - Collector: 3 Oaks Syrian 50g
Rare and delicious
The Orientals and Latakia really sing. Smooth and full of taste to the bottom of the bowl.
G. L. Pease - Temple Bar 2oz
Loved it. But...
This blend smoked wonderfully. The sourness of the Orientals was pleasing from beginning to end. Unfortunately, there is a mold issue. The first time it happened I wrote it off. But now I'm convinced there's a problem. Three tins developed mold before I could finish them. One plug showed signs of it right out of a freshly opened tin. I really love this blend. But there is clearly something wrong. And until G L Pease addresses it, I'll steer clear of this plug. 2024 Update: Now that the mold issue has been resolved, I’ll say only this - it is a fine blend indeed. Smooth, grassy, very refined: essentially all you’d want in an all-day smoke, or an evening companion with a peaty Scotch or Mezcal, or some-such spirit. Well done GL Pease!
Savinelli - Brunello Flake 100g
All Day Smoke
A delicious, clean burning flake. Lightly cased but immensely flavorful with notes of hay and freshly baked bread. A deep chambered pipe, such as an Oom Paul, would be ideal. And like all such blends, a slow cadence is preferred. If you keep it constantly on the verge of going out, you and everyone around you will come to love Brunello.
Cornell & Diehl - Bourbon Bleu 2oz
The sample offered by smokingpipes.com and C&D sparked my curiosity enough to purchase more. On opening the tin, I noticed that these bright cakes were definitely infused with some kind of bourbon, just enough to make things interesting but not so much as to be distracting. When lit, I found the smoke extremely earthy and mildly peppery, especially as it progressed. Though it may not sound like a positive note, there were subtle hints of burning wood chips - and that somehow really worked for me. Indeed, it created a wonderfully cool and wholly unique smoke. Bravo! C&D - you nailed this one.
Blog's Commented on
Father The Flame Premieres At Chicago International Film Festival
- ► I just stumbled on this. It looks wonderful. I'm surprised it's not already available for purchase, either as a DVD or download. I can't image how else any revenue will be had to offset the cost of production. Is this something Smokingpipes is looking into? If not, can we as customers help in any way?
- ► Thanks for the update. Wishing you the best of luck.
How Tobacco Ages
- ► Very informative. Had to read it twice just to soak it all in. Thanks, Chuck, for explaining the unseen mysteries of a sealed tin. By the way, where can one obtain the tobacco jar displayed in the photos? It's gorgeous!
Peterson Joins The Laudisi Family
- ► What wonderful news! I can't wait to see your inventory grow, and both companies prosper. Congratulations!