Cornell & Diehl - Captain Bob's Blend
A Completely Happy Surprise
To start with, I am not a Latakia smoker generally. It dominates the flavor of a blend too much for my taste, and often leaves me unable to taste much else all day afterwards. So when I'm in a latakia-friendly mood, it's always something where it merely a very light condimental flavor. Having said that, I appreciate blends that deliver their own unique flavor consistently, and always those which are easy to smoke, affordable, and readily available... so the ones I choose are almost always bulk. Captain Bob's Blend was an impulse buy for me largely because it was just so darn interesting, and I wanted to understand why these flavors would be put together. The grape/citrus flavor is there... but it works (smells and tastes wonderful by the way) and the latakia is there... but it works, and the amount is extremely small. Everything comes together to deliver something unexpected, and somehow exactly what I was hoping for. A mild, balanced, flavorful, aromatic, and completely satisfying smoke. Captain Bob and his buddies and C&D worked some real custom magic here. I can't believe, and won't deny how much I like it, or how quickly it grew on me. I smoked through my first 4 oz sample so fast it actually made me sad to think I'd be out of it. When they say a "refreshing flavor" they're right. The taste and overall experience is extremely comforting, but new and different. It's easy-going, every bowl delivers the same, it works in every pipe above tried it in, and it smokes cool, slowly, and dry... the wife loves (and is amused by the grapey aroma, which she compared to grape big league chew bubblegum) but it doesn't taste like that. It tastes like good tobacco, well-blended for balance and a particular palate- a palate I apparently share, to my complete surprise. It will not be for everyone. You have to like and appreciate (and know how to smoke) aromatic blends... and you need to be open to a unique vision. It is a masterpiece that might not be appreciated by everyone, but one I absolutely do. You might too, but you won't know until you try it. But if you do, give yourself a few bowls to give it a chance to show you how uniquely special and charming it really is. It just might surprise you just like it did me.

Peter Stokkebye - PS303 Peaches & Creme
An Exceptional Bulk Aromatic
I had tried some 4oz bags of Optimum, French Vanilla, Pistachio, and Nougat from Peter Stokkebye because I've been really impressed with how cool and mellow they burn while still delivering a satisfying smoke, with flavors that endure... and I saved the Peaches and Cream for last because I adore Peach. I wish I had skipped the others and gone right to this one. It might be the last aromatic I ever need. It does everything the rest do, but the flavor and aroma are to die for. Smooth, creamy, bite-free, and full of juicy peach flavor... and the Mrs. LOVES the smell. Can't recommend highly enough!

Books - Pipe Smoking in Middle Earth: The Fellowship of the Smoke Ring 3rd Edition by Mark Irwin
Don't Expect Much
I own a first edition of this book, and I'm proud to own it... but be forewarned... there is not much material here. It's very short, and most of the actual text is literally just excerpts from Tolkien's books wherever pipes and pipeweed are mentioned. The rest of the book is quite literally just a smattering of mild assumptions and opinions of the author regarding what he "thinks" a character pipe or race's pipe preferences might be in the stories. He also likes to tell you what the movies got wrong (in his opinion) several times. The only thing of any real value besides Tolkien's own words is the section on smoke rings, but there are videos online that will teach you just as well if not better how to make them. It's a 15 minute read at most and one you'll probably never do again. But it looks nice on a tobacco shelf or next to a Library of Tolkien's works, if only for its title and aesthetic. It isn't a must-have by any means.

Missouri Meerschaum - Missouri Pride Straight (6mm)
One of The Best
A Pride was my very first pipe. They are the truest and most simple ways to experience the magic of putting fire to tobacco in a pipe, and never disappoint. The texture of the unfinished corn cob, to remarkable affordability only add to the consistently great and absolutely classic smoking experience they provide. They're extra cool, forgiving in the extreme, and color gorgeously as they become tried and true loyal friends. I'm a briar guy through and through, but will always have a pride or two for one of the best, simple, and unpretentious smoking experiences out there. Buy them for yourself and any friend or acquaintance interested in smoking a pipe. Everyone will enjoy, I promise.

Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Bosun Cut Plug
Rich Virginias, Floral & Clove-y
This is a delicious mixture. Comes wet and in need of some extra rubbing out to pack well, in my opinion... but it rewards you with a dark, sweet, mild smoke with enough strength and flavor to take you somewhere special. The Lakeland essence on this one represents one of the best, the warm spicey clove and subtle floral background tastes highlight and contrast the dark smokey virginias and bring out a spiced sweetness that is just magical. My favorite, Grasmere Flake is more Floral, less spice, sweeter and lighter... but this blend is something that could be smoked all day with no regrets, unlike it's stronger and smokier relatives. The cut plug is superior to the full plug in every way. The flavors are stronger and the delivery is so much easier. If you want to taste a REAL traditional English Lakeland, but haven't before... try this one BEFORE you go for Ennerdale Flake.

E. Hoffman Company - Distinguished Gentleman 7oz
Know Before You Buy
A good mixture, but not unique from many other Sutliff products. The topping is a pretty standard rum/fruit/sweet, but lightly done... but the mix itself feels exactly the same as Heine's and Edward G. Robinson. Typical Cavendish and English crossover stuff. The only thing special about this blend is the packaging. It looks great on a shelf, but you won't reach for it often once you've tried it. If this kind of blend sounds appealing to you, try Sutliff Old Professioe or Lord Nelson, Revelation Match, Holiday Match or a dozen others. Pretty packaging isn't worth the extra cost for what you get here.

Esoterica - Penzance 2oz
Great Ingredients in An Over-Engineered Mess
This tobacco is not worth the fuss. High Quality leaf, yes... but the end product is like 100 others, and worse than many. It is a confused "everything and the kitchen sink" mixture that doesn't deliver a consistent experience throughout the bowl, from bowl to bowl, or tin to tin. One of the finest examples of small-batch production challenges doubled by an overblown reputation. It doesn't live up to the hype, unless one is trying to convince oneself it does to justify the obscene amount he probably spent on it. Nothing in the world wrong with it, but it doesn't deliver a single thing that you can't get elsewhere and for far less money.

Cornell & Diehl - Winchester
My New Everyday
Absolutely top-notch old-fashioned blend. Creamy, smooth, predictable with a satisfying natural flavor and light sweetness that will convince you you're smoking the same bowl every single time! The combo of unsweetened green river Cavendish and Virginia behaves like a good burley, but an exceptionally well-mannered one. It smells great, it is extremely easy to light and smoke, and it satisfies the smoker and those in the room. I smoke the better part of a pound of this every month and it has never disappointed... not once. It is just a wonderful blend that behaves like a trusted old friend.

Peter Stokkebye - PS31 Optimum
An Extremely Well-Done Aro
I have been buying this from a local shop that sells it from a jar that may not see many customers... so take the possible "counter-time" as a factor in this review... But this one surprised me. The remarkable thing is the cool, consistent smoke and gentle, consistent flavor. It doesn't bite, it smells great, and the tobaccos character shines, even if it's natural flavor takes a major backseat to the excellent top dressing. A little fruity, a little creamy, and a little boozy... but it always shows up and delivers what a good aromatic should! The wife loves the smell, I love the taste, and if you're smarter than I am and buy your bulk here on SP instead of an over-priced cigarette shop... the price is absolutely gorgeous. Great for aromatic smokers looking for something extremely well-done.

Sutliff - Christmas Spice
One of Sutliff's Best
Always enjoy a good aromatic, especially during the Holiday season and this one might be one of the best, not just by Sutliff. Smooth, creamy, cool-smoking (if you know how to appreciate an aromatic with an easy cadence and the right pack) It doesn't need drying, the flavors suffer for it. It tastes great, smells like Christmas, and will make your family and friends happy when you smoke it at your Christmas get-together! And again... there is NO beating Sutliff bulk pricing. A guilt-free try that really might surprise you.

Erinmore - Erinmore Mixture 100g
Ignore The Bad Reviews
This blend may or may not be the same as it once was, most reviewing it have no basis for that comparison anyway. Age changes the old stuff that's still around so dramatically it's of zero value for comparison, and memory... well... let's just say it isn't reliable when you're trying to define flavor and qualities from decades ago. But... The current iteration of Erinmore is an exceptionally well-done tobacco. It is bright, refreshing, cool-burning, and maybe one of the best balances of a nuanced and subtle top-note and satisfying natural tobacco flavor. Give it a try and decide for yourself, as you should with most things! As for me, I like it as an occasional treat and never regret a bowlful!

Cornell & Diehl - Miskatonic Mixture 2oz
Rich and Wonderful
I adore this tobacco. The oriental variety used here makes it extremely special and different from so many others. I'll admit, the name made me try it originally (the tacky gimmick of naming blends all kinds of un-related outlandish things usually bothers me terribly) but I ended up actually really appreciating this one for its own merits. Wish they made it in bulk, I'd buy it regularly and by the pound. As it is, it's an occasional treat but one very much worth trying. The best of the "Lovecraft" blends by a long mile for me, but oddly maybe the least reviewed or sold. Give it a try!

Tabac De La Semois - Le Petit Robin 100g
A Unique Luxury
This stuff is fantastic, but it takes adjusting your usual approach to appreciate and enjoy. Presented neatly in its cube, it is meant to be very dry. Pack it tightly, smoke it slowly, and you'll be treated to an extremely mild and enjoyable blend.

Mixture No. 79 - Mixture No. 79 14oz
Better than most opinions
Don't be led on by childish regurgitated opinions online. This tobacco is an absolute classic and delivers a distinctive old-fashioned flavor with sweet, well-behaved smoke. It might not be a flavor some are used to, but it delivers! A little floral, sweet, and creamy like a good old-fashioned root beer, maybe a hint of licorice. This blend is one that gets better the more you smoke it, and millions have for decades.

Tampers & Tools - 8deco Legend Tamper Gold Diamond Cut
Tamping base is enormous
I adore the bamboo variety, but for some strange reason the tamping head on this guy is enormous in comparison, and won't fit in many of my pipes- you know, anything that isn't absolutely giant. The look and make is wonderful, but I swear the tamper is twice as big as it should be.

BriarWorks - Bacon Old Fashioned 2oz
Does what it's meant to
Not sure what others expected, but this tobacco tastes exactly like the name implies. Fruit notes, alcohol, and smokey dark-fired to taste like bacon. It's quite enjoyable if your expectations are realistic- it is tobacco after all, not a cocktail. But as far as making a pipe blend inspired by an interesting drink they got it as good as anyone could.

Sutliff - Troost Match
Simply Delicious
A simple, old-fashioned satisfying smoke. A touch of honey over a well-done blend of mild tobaccos, but all the flavors work together to be satisfying and traditional. Like the Match far better than the original.

Cornell & Diehl - Orion's Arrow
4 Equal Parts of Wonderful
I first tried this blend as a compromise- I wanted a bulk option that might be similar to my favorite tinned tobacco by C&D. Hate paying the extra cost for a can. This was not that blend, but maybe better. I adore Turkish tobacco, and it adds some real charm and interest to a very even and consistent tobacco here. A VaPer with an extra touch of character

Cornell & Diehl - Poplar Camp
Well Built, Consistent, Satisfying
Poplar Camp was a suggestion made by a dear friend, and it was a good one! It's about as straightforward as it gets for a VaPer, but... they had a good idea to smooth this one out with a little black Cavendish. Always liked the nice rounded flavor that can give to a blend like this one. VaPers aren't always as user-friendly as a pipe tobacco should be... this one sure is. Try some.

Cornell & Diehl - Winchester
Smooth, Sweet, and Simple
Red Virginia, solid green river black cavendish... nothing else. Easy to light, easy to smoke, easy to love. If you're like me and enjoy pleasant, straight-forward smoking without all the pretentious nonsense but with a consistent flavor and aroma you can enjoy anytime... try Winchester!

Velvet - Velvet 12oz
America's Smoothest
Edit 11/27/22: This review applies only to the older production of Velvet before the American plant was closed and production shipped to several overseas locations and before it was reduced in size from 12oz to 7oz. I refuse to purchase the new Velvet out of principle, so take the rest of my review of my previous favorite blend with a grain of salt. I don't know if the new stuff measures up, and I'm not interested in finding out. Original Review: After 20 years, and after having gone through every proverbial phase of pipe smoking- from aromatics to English, to fine aged Virginias... I came back around to old-fashioned, lightly topped burleys. Of the many great OTCs, Velvet is my favorite. Lane Limited (and STG) have brought the blend back to its original formula. A simple loose (rough cut) brown burley topped with a very light note of licorice and maple sugar. But the taste and smell is all its own- sometimes described as something like old crayola crayons or the aroma of Play-Dough... it has a delightfully old-timey room note and an aroma that the pipe smoker himself can enjoy as much as the smooth burley flavor. It never bites, smokes cool, and is the very definition of consistent from bowl to bowl and tub to tub. I go through a 12oz can every month and those aged virginias and complex englishes sit idly in my cellar while I keep cracking open tubs of Velvet. I can't say how much I love this stuff. It rings every bell for me and I find that I deeply enjoy it more and more with every bowl. I guess some of the best things in life don't need to be complicated... or expensive... or hard to find.

Tampers & Tools - 8deco Bamboo Tamper
Best Value, Great Tamper!
What to say about this little guy except that it is always the tamper I reach for first. It's cheap... but it really does an incredible job doming the tobacco and ash for a great burn. The bamboo is sturdy and the cut end scrapes wonderfully, doing very little to harm cake or bowl. I love love love love love LOVE these tampers above all others!

Cornell & Diehl
Haunted Bookshop

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Cornell & Diehl

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Cornell & Diehl
Oriental Silk

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Cornell & Diehl
New Market

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Cornell & Diehl
Bayou Morning

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Peter Stokkebye
PS303 Peaches & Creme

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Bourbon Street Match

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#600 Mixture 79

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St. Bruno
Ready Rubbed 1.75oz

$18.63 $14.37

G. L. Pease
Sixpence 8oz

$52.50 $44.63

Erinmore Mixture 100g

$34.25 $23.46

Royal Yacht 50g

$24.60 $16.69

Irish Cask 50g

$18.59 $12.36

House Aromatic

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Sail Yellow Match

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Match Victorian

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Cornell & Diehl

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Cornell & Diehl
Poplar Camp

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Cornell & Diehl
Orion's Arrow

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Cornell & Diehl
Engine #382

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Cornell & Diehl
Captain Bob's Blend

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Tampers & Tools
8deco Bamboo Tamper

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