Solani - Virginia Flake - 633 100g
It's a VAPer
I love Virginias. Have avoided this one for years simply because Perique - unless in a combination with a fairly complex blend - isn't high on my list. The Virginia in this tobacco is excellent, the flakes are fine and well- presented, burn rate is splended, faint honey topping is a nice touch. Then comes the Perique. Less obnoxious than usual, but sufficient to add an unwanted after taste to an otherwise pleasant smoke. Decided to age most of the tin and see what happens in a year or so.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Red Style
This impresses me as Carter Hall on steroids. You get a nice Va/B balance and a distinct red wine presence in the pouch and when smoked. The difference is strength, as RS is stronger, and burn, as CH tends to burn more rapidly. Of course, RS is more expensive.
Carter Hall - Carter Hall 14oz
I hated this stuff 'back in the day'. Whether it changed since the 1960's, or my taste has evolved is probably a pointless question, but I really enjoy it now. You can't make it bite, the burly doesn't taste like dirt, and there's a subtle and constant sweetness - perhaps red wine - which is pleasant. Lights easily, but can 'smoke itself' if you set your pipe aside. Good all day smoke - room note doesn't seem to bother the civilians. Relatively low nic hit, but tastes good from one bowl to the next. Used to remind me of bubble gum (yeck), but not any more.
Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 250g
Aged by Accident
This is my second review of Full VA Flake and is based on how well it ages. I overlooked a box, somehow, that remained unopened for a 3 year interval. Once rehumidified - I don't like it dry - it turned out to be amazing. More of everything, so to speak, and even more smooth. If the availability were more consistent, this is the only VA I'd smoke.
Peter Stokkebye - PS52 Proper English
My only English blend
Always kept Penzance around for my occasional English blend cravings, but it's not worth dealing with shortages - dry spells - that come with it. This is different, but just as good.
Wessex - Brown Virginia Flake 50g
Tin note of a fine plum wine; lights easily and burns slowly to a fine ash; smooth and sweet but not cloying; no bite; a delicate fruity taste unusual in a Virginia flake; no after taste; smokes best in a group 1 or group 2 sized bowl; definitely a good addition to the rotation.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Broken Scotch Cake
Not to be confused with Scotch Flake under any circumstances, this is an OK blend remarkable only in its utter blandness. If it had a job, it'd be a movie extra.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Brown Flake Unscented
Another failed attempt to recapture Amphora Brown. This blend packs a real punch of nicotine, tastes strong almost to the extent of having no defining flavor, and left me yet again wishing for AB.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Bob's Square Cut Unscented
Chocolate Flake? Nope.
Bought some when Chocolate Flake was briefly unavailable. It's similar in that it consists of tobacco and flavorings, but the similarity doesn't extend to the realm occupied by Chocolate Flake. I didn't find much to enjoy when judging it solely on its own merits, either. You're on your own with this one....
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Best Brown #2
One more step in the quest...
I keep this around because it's not a bad smoke; initially, I tried it in my seemingly never-ending quest to duplicate the now unavailable Amphora Brown of my youth. Alas, another dead end. Judging it on its own merits, I find that half a bowl is sufficient at a time. Otherwise, the burly begins to dominate the Virginia and brings with it the flavor of dirt and a consequent case of heartburn. I haven't noticed much in the way of Lakeland flavor with this one, and that's a plus from my end of the bench. It doesn't ghost my pipe, exhibits minimal tendency to bite, burns appropriately, and lasts a long time because I don't use it frequently.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Ennerdale Flake
All a matter of taste...
This stuff is mild, lacks bite, and burns as a true flake tobacco should. Having said that, I find the taste to be less than satisfactory. If you've experienced soap in the mouth as a bad-word-saying child and long to recapture the experience, this one's for you; if, as a former cigarette smoker, you delighted in the taste of smokes that had been housed in your wife's purse and had absorbed the flavor of perfume and cosmetics, this one's a keeper. If you've learned to disregard the initial soapy taste of some G&H blends because it seems to dissipate after the first hit and progresses to the flavor of tobacco, be warned: this stuff will retain that initial flavor clear to the bottom of the bowl. Your pipe will never be the same - experiment, if you must, with a corncob. Then, again, why not just lick the soap next time you wash up?
McClelland - Special: Christmas Cheer 2012 100g
Difficult to exercise patience!
I keep intending to stash one tin of Christmas Cheer until next holiday season - letting it mature a bit. However, once one tin empties, another gets opened. My only hope is that it'll continue to be available until such time as I can learn a bit more self discipline. The drift here, folks, is simply that this stuff is good!
Orlik - Golden Sliced 50g
OK, but requires planning...
This stuff works into my rotation a couple times per week, but the circumstances (eg. the requisite pipe and location) bear a bit of consideration. Smoked in a small, dublin-esque bowl, it's not bad. Larger bowls and outdoor locations increase the bite factor to nearly intolerable levels, and the 'hint of citrus' becomes akin to biting into a grapefruit peel.
Pipe Accessories - 2 Pipe Bag Black Vinyl
Fine automotive accessory....
Mine lives in my truck and contains one pipe, a couple ounces of tobacco in a small pouch, a lighter, two tampers, and a pack of pipe cleaners. That's a lot of stuff for a smallish pouch! Fine alternative to scattering everything in different places....
Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired 3.5oz
For those of us who experience an occasional craving for burley, but generally prefer Virginia, this is a great find. Smoked in a free-drawing pot-like bowl (my Sebastian Beo bent bulldog of the larger variety works fine)the Virginia lends just enough sweetness to keep that 'earthy' burley taste from becoming a more 'dirt' flavored experience further down the bowl.
Mac Baren - HH Mature Virginia 100g
This tobacco performs almost exactly as described; personally, I believe the taste is wonderful. An added plus is that adapts well to larger bowls more readily than most Virginias of my experience.
Mac Baren - Virginia Flake 16oz
There's no pretense here: just a good, honest Virginia flake that tastes like it should. I find it best suited to smallish bowls like a Dunhill group 1.
Mac Baren - Vanilla Flake 1.75oz
Tastes good; bites hard!
This is a good tasting flake and the vanilla doesn't overpower the sweetness of the Virginia. The only drawback is the severity of bite as compared to, say MacBaren's Virginia Flake.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Rum Flake
Please refer to my original review....
Meant to rate this stuff as above - oops....
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Rum Flake
A fine flake with a rich flavor, not to be confused with the over-done impact of some rum-intensive blends. The aroma is that of a gourmet fruit cake.
McClelland - 600 - Special Black
Special Black tastes good, smells wonderful,and is very mild. It might prove a bit boring for the experienced pipe smoker, but for someone transitioning from the sorts of blends that often call out to the inexperienced to honest tobacco blends, this is what I'd recommend.
Sutliff - J4 - Burley
If you're looking to drive the ghosts from one of your pipes or just to enjoy an honest burley flavor, this tobacco will do well. A distinct plus, from my viewpoint, is the relative lack of bite.
McClelland - M55 - Georgia Cream
A good dessert smoke....
The flavor is as described. This tobacco goes especially well with a strong cup of coffee after a fine meal!
Newminster - No.3 Very Cherry
Pleasant and behaves well....
Very Cherry has a good cherry flavor without becoming overly assertive. It tends to retain flavor through the entire bowl, burns evenly - although somewhat hastily - to a white ash. It won't haunt your pipe to excess, and the ghost pretty well disappears after smoking a bowl of something else.
Newminster - No.23 Blackberry Brandy
True to taste....
Tastes exactly like Blackberry brandy, which is outstanding. Tends to become less distinct in flavor for the last third of a bowl, which is a bit disappointing. Best to reserve a single pipe for this blend - the ghost haunts with a vengeance.
McClelland - 221-B Series: Honeydew 50g
A good second pipe of the day....
Honeydew is sweet without being cloying. I find it a bit too assertive to qualify for my first daily smoke, but it works well for the second. Dried overnight in the bowl of a smaller Dunhill group l and sipped rather than puffed. the flavor is maximized.
McClelland - 221-B Series: Black Shag 50g
A good smoke for a good book....
Black Shag, for me, is at its best in a smaller churchwarden bowl and sipped gently while reading. It lacks the sweetness of many Virginia tobaccos and can deliver a bulldog bite if not approached respectfully, but the flavor is rewarding.
Peterson - Connoisseur's Choice 50g
Smoked gently - to avoid tongue bite - in a bowl of medium size, my experience is that one can actually isolate each of the flavors this tobacco has to offer. All of them are wonderful and the combination is outstanding. The aroma is delightful. The temptation to smoke this in excess is strong, but doing so interferes with my ability to properly appreciate it.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Black & Brown
Pleasant all around....
The taste is rich and mellow and no part of the blend overshadows the others. The aroma as nice, drawing positive responses from people who tend to grumble about pipe smoke in general. If you're fortunate enough to find a public location that still allows smoking, this is the tobacco to have with you!
Mac Baren - Dark Twist 100g
New companion/old friend....
Decades ago, a then college buddy of mine suggested that Dark Twist has a tin bouquet similar to that of quality leather. That is true now, as well as when we first discovered it. The rich taste goes on from there, and hasn't varied over the years. Try this one if you're looking for a new friend to follow you through the years.
Low Country - Waccamaw 2oz
This tobacco gives the Virginia flake smoker what he's expecting and adds just enough variation from the norm to prove interesting and noteworthy. Once you've smoked a tin, a repeat order is nearly certain.
Sail - Regular 7oz (Yellow)
A real survivor!
Many of us who began smoking a pipe during the 1960's might remember Sail Regular as a step-up from the aromatic trash that seemed to pervade the marketplace at the time, most of which smelled wonderful and tasted nothing but harsh. Amphora and Royal Tivoli were the remainder of our ventures into improved taste (pun intended), but - alas - they have disappeared. It is worth a try, to say the least.
F & K - Merde de Cheval 1.5oz
Great gift idea....
You'll love the tin - and so, probably, will your pipe-smoking (or not) friends. This blend is a wonderful gag - ahem - gift.
Skandinavik - Regular Cavendish 4.5oz
To be judged on its own merits....
Keep an open mind with this one. I tried it after reading somewhere that it was a close approximation of my long-lost favorite, Amphora brown label. It isn't, but evaluated without that expectation, it isn't a bad smoke.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Carved Spiral Sterling Silver Pipe Tamper
An outstanding blend of form and function, this tamper deserves a place next to an exceptionally nice rack of pipes!
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Tsuge Black Acrylic Tamper
This is a great tamper to carry because the design won't poke a hole in your pocket as sometimes has happened to me with a more elaborate bit of hardware. Its light weight also makes it good to carry in the chest pocket of a shirt. One word of caution: it will cheerfully roll off a plane surface of placed on its side....
Pipe Accessories - Gloredo 2 Pipe Bag Tan
Top quality; great utility.
This Gloredo pouch is very well-constructed, an exceptionally convenient size, and is my definite choice for daily use. Combined with the matching Gloredo pipe cleaner sleeve and an appropriately-sized tobacco pouch (the Columbus Tan is my favorite with this one), it's with me most of the time!
Pipe Accessories - Columbus Tobacco Pouch Tan
Look no further...
Grab one of these when you can: you won't be disappointed.
Sutliff - Tobacco Galleria: Fox & Hound
The Latakia in this blend isn't especially overpowering, making it possible to enjoy the other flavors as well.
Samuel Gawith - Mayor's Chocolate Flake 50g
Although very comparable to GH Bob's Chocolate Flake, this impresses me as a bit milder and more intensely chocolate in flavor.
Samuel Gawith - Golden Glow 250g
A non-tiring experience...
Though, sadly, not available frequently enough to be smoked exclusively throughout the day, it would otherwise be my constant daylight hour companion. Rich, sweet, and devoid of 'bite'!
Samuel Gawith - Full Virginia Flake 50g
A fine tobacco to relish slowly,,,
Full Virginia Flake is an extremely pleasant smoke, a wonderful place to visit a few times per week when time allows the opportunity to truly savor the experience. This is definitely a tobacco to be treasured and savored in relative moderation.
Esoterica - Penzance 2oz
Nice change of pace...
I would recommend this blend to people who (as I do) tend to stay primarily with Virginia flakes. Most Latakia blends call to my mind what it might be like to lick the bottom of an ashtray and, further, to dislike the experience. Penzance, however, offers a pleasant flavor for an occasional departure from my customary favorites.