Cornell & Diehl - King Cake 2oz
I found King Cake to be top-shelf excellent in every way. I'm always on the look-out for complex, mutlidimensional "aromatics"... ones that let true tobacco flavors and aromas shine as boldly or more so than other flavoring agents. King Cake, to my tastes, let the Virginias and orientals really shine, aided and abetted by the precocious perique. To me, the cavendish was like a perfectly balanced light-handed frosting on the whole mix. And the whole was far greater than the sum of its parts! I doubt I'll be able to let it alone for the recommended peak years, 10 or 15 down the line!
Dunhill - Three Year Matured 50g
This is one of my most outstandingly consistent and enjoyed blends! The Virginias are smooth and creamy with just the right balance of age and sweetness for me. The topping is just a dream of an essence that does not distract from the great tobacco flavor one bit. I have always enjoyed Dunhills discrete ribbon cut and this is no exception. This is indeed one of the blends I am stockpiling in advent of the FDA apocalypse, along with several other Dunhill blends including Dunhill's deluxe navy rolls, royal yacht, and ready-rubbed.
Lane Limited - Crown Achievement 1.75oz
A Truly Great Blend
A different Jerry L. with a different opinion. I was mesmerized by the whole story of this reintroduction of Lane Crown Achievement when it first came out... from Leonard Wortzel's super-sleuth work to the ferreting out of recipes, original machines, ingredients, etc. My first order was for two tins which quickly met their timely and immensely enjoyed ends. My next order was for 4 tins, and my next, half a pound in bulk. I find this a superior and refreshing full-on-English blend in all the best senses of the words! Right now, as I'm typing these thoughts, I am enjoying a bowl of Dunhill NIghtcap, also a favorite. Personally, Crown Achievement is my favorite of the genre by a nose. For some mysterious reason, in Crown Achievement, the layers of ingredients and the complexities of aromas evolve through a bowl a bit more orderly, discretely, and definably than Nightcap. And although it's probably my imagination, there is a new world freshness and sparkle to Crown Achievement that I don't experience as clearly in other venerably grand lords of the English domain. When my son asked me to recommend an all-around "quintessential English", my thoughts settled down on the magic formula of Crown Achievement... for the money and for the fun, it is my personal winner that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone asking the same question.
Peterson - St. Patrick's Day 2015 50g
Now this was a total surprise to me in every way! I was intrigued by the seemingly bizarre but creative mix of elements going into this blend. I was looking for an aromatic but one with “something extra”… a little more depth and complexity than I usually encounter in the genre. I like a wide variety of pipe blends of all different kinds. This one named the Virginias, Burley, oriental, and “spicy” tobaccos.(Wondering exactly what the spicy one might be… I didn’t detect any perique or others more commonly referred to that way.) The fruit mélange was fascinating… mango, “maracuja” – had to look that one up: a Brazilian version of the passion fruit… and vanilla, if that counts as a fruit. And of course rum! Black Cavendish could be a vehicle for just about any of those sweet elements. Upon cracking the tin, voila! There was the tightly packed “cube-cut”, just as they said. All the colors of the tobacco rainbow were present from light golden yellow to black and everything in between. The tin note was at once rich and complex with all the notes already mentioned discernible… fruitiness, sweetness, and smooth Virginia-scents prevailing. The only prior tobacco I had experienced that this reminded me of was Dan Blue Note, but only hints thereof. I quickly settled down to a long, totally enjoyable hour and a half smoke. The moisture and burning characteristics were fine to my taste right out of the tin. The aroma was smashing and won rave reviews from Her Majesty. The flavors were indeed rich, complex, and scintillating. And the freshness, creativity, and originality of the blend lasted the entire bowl to the last tiny cube-cut flake of bakkie was burned. No gunk, burn-out, gurgle, or anything of the other curses frequently visited upon rich aromatics. For anyone seeking a delicious, rich, flavorful, and totally unique aromatic blend, I’d heartily recommend this!
Wessex - Brown Virginia Flake 50g
Shane Ireland! I'm Calling You Out!
Shane Ireland, this is Jerry Germany commanding you, well ok, asking nicely, to post your "Tobacco Dreams" essay of a couple day's newsletters ago about Wessex BVF HERE!! BECAUSE IT'S YOUR FAULT! I may be almost 60 but I'm too young and impressionable to suffer writing like that... that tantalizes, seduces, and otherwise mischievously mesmerizes my money maniacally out of me!!! Everyone, everything this fiend wrote about Wessex BVF is totally true!! It was because of him I just had to order some immediately. Kudos Laudisians, I think it arrived in less than 36 hours and I only paid for the cheapest shipping. I immediately violated that gorgeous tin, sat on the porch with pipe in hand, and entered that sublime singularity just past the event horizon of the vulcanite bit! Live long and prosper! Now I am compelled to mortgage my house yet AGAIN to bring the next semi load of this unimaginably magnificent tobacco HERE!! (To keep your "out of stock" sign up!)
G. L. Pease - Gaslight 8oz
Gaslight - Phos Hilaron
I know there this is this thing out there about deep rich Latakia mixtures being best and most appropriate for the dead of winter... or some cold clammy ghastly foggy London night or something. But on this, arguably the first tropical day we've experienced here in North Central Pennsylvania in eight months(May 13), I just lit up a bowl of this divine ambrosia on the back porch, in the sun, after mowing the lawn for only the 2nd time this year... in a long, slender, delicate Big Ben paneled Classicline... and I might as well have been directly and bodied assumed into Nirvana, Valhalla, Heaven, or wherever similar! Don't get me wrong, I also smoked it this past February in full Arctic gear at 8°F on the same porch. But be it sunstroke or more likely the activating humidity in the air, all the levels of aroma, depth, complexity, genius, brooding mystery, and the seething vitality of Spring just totally utterly sprung, so to speak! I don't want this bowl to end... ever. If I could sneak it by My Majesty's bursar, I'd buy a ton of it RIGHT NOW, before it was too late, The Tobaccolypse prophesied to happen before the end if this year if the TobNazis have their way. Perhaps a trade? Firstborn son and heir anyone?
Samuel Gawith - Bracken Flake 50g
Get Crackin' for Bracken!
If you enjoy running with the bulls… sailing straight out to sea when everyone else believes the world is flat… single-handedly defeating an advancing horde of marauding Huns, dying with your mighty sword in hand and being transported to Valhalla by boldly buxom Valkyries, ALL in the comfort of sitting in your skivvies and smoking your pipe on your back porch on a cold, windy and rainy October day, NEVER having to leave your swivel-rocker in the process, THEN, by Krakken, Bracken is FOR YOU! Read ALL the reviews out there! They are ALL true at once and more! Send me a tri-axle of this stuff! I love it to death! Someone please whap me over the head with a 6x6 when it’s time to go to work! Thanks. (Yes, I know a run-on sentence when I see it! Give me a break! I’m smokin’ this, uh, shtuff!!) 10 stars out of 5!!!
Peterson - Hyde Park 50g
Nectar & Abrosia
I am struggling to find the best words for how I experience Hyde Park. I have found it extraordinary and totally unique in my experience. I maximally enjoy and appreciate complex full-bodied latakia blends... present favorites are GLPs Sextant and Lagonda, and Ouellette's Black HOUSE. I equally exalt in rich, sweet, luscious, dessert-y aromatics, presently Boswell's Pom Holiday, Christmas Cookie, and HPSC Trout Stream. All that being said, Peterson's Hyde Park is absolutely UNLIKE any blend thus far in my experience AND I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT. I opened the tin and was at once in a spring meadow with myriad grasses and wildflowers ever so angelically blessing the elysian breeze. In the next field over, someone was making a first mow of hay. I spent a small pleasant eternity just enjoying the tin aroma. Upon ignition, I was presented with a huge orb of magic and mystery... something herbal, something lightly sweet, something faintly floral, a sense of a medium bodied but very fine cigar... with a touch of leather and alfalfa. But then there was this... once long ago I smelled church incense from the Greek "holy mountain" of Mount Athos... the predominant base was a combination of true frankincense in concert with a delicate pine-y resinous scent which was then dusted ever so lightly with the essence of either Russian gardenia or Syrian rose. Do not infer "floral" in any ghastly way upon Hyde Park... just passing pastel shades, sprites, tobacco nymphs. Rich tobaccos, delicate sweetness, the comfort of a slow hot bath after splitting wood all day... that was my stroll through Hyde Park. One final observation, nicotine doesn't usually figure in either my requirements, enjoyment, observations, or evaluation of a pipe-tobacco blend and has never mattered much to me. Hyde Park hit me with all the subtlety of a fire-engine-red double-decker London bus at about Mach 3! I have never been that happily high in my life!! Gotta get more!!