G. L. Pease - Montgomery 2oz
I spend a lot of time reading descriptions and reviews before buying a new blend. Sometimes they are helpful, and others not. What attracted me to this blend, and what I enjoy about it is that it's non-aromatic, but the VA gives is that rich sweetness. This is a hearty smoke, and just sweet enough. The aroma, both in the tin and in the room make me reminiscent of the holidays...cakes and pies baking in the kitchen. Without being able to put my finger on it exactly, I detect a hint of fruitcake spice. And by hint I mean that I'll keep puffing, tasting and sniffing an entire bowl and never really be able to put my finger on it, but it's very pleasing.
Peter Stokkebye - PS403 Luxury Bullseye Flake
I love the smell of this tobacco in the tin. It's rich, and reminds me of wet leather. And let's face it, rubbing out the coins makes that part of the ritual much more enjoyable. I find the flavor to be full, but not necessarily strong. However, after many ounces it seems it suits me better to smoke this in a smaller bowl. That is to say a little goes a long way. I found it to be less than satisfying towards the end of a large poker bowlful. Maybe it was from trying to enjoy too much of a good thing, or that the flavors that had accumulated thanged the flavor from rich and subtly sweet towards slightly but unpleasantly bitter. That is not to say my technique is blameless, but I try to be aware of these factors when making mental notes during the smoke and later when writing some review such as this. Overall, I enjoy this tobacco very much, and look forward to it as a treat now and again.
Lane Limited - RLP-6
Having gone browsing in search of some new flavors to try, I came across this tobacco. I must have missed the description, since as I was smoking it I thought what an amazing flavor this non-aromatic has! Well, it's very subtle, and it was only after someone picked up on the room note that I paid more attention. Vanilla and chocolate, yes, I'd say even Charleston Chew. It would be one of my choices when I want a satisfying bowlful, but am considering those non-smokers who'll be in the room with me.
McClelland - 5100 - Red Cake
Pass The Ketchup
I DO love the descriptions we have of the flavors we taste. The common thread with this type of tobacco seems to be the "ketchup" tin note. I rather think that's a factor of a straight VA more than this brand, though. That said, such an aroma is not a bad thing. It surely tastes less sweet than it smells. It leaves a pleasant room note, and though light-tasting, is still satisfying. I've read that breaking in a virgin/non-carbonized pipe benefits from smoking a few bowlfuls of straight VA; I'd use this one.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Scotch Mixture
I've only been enjoying pipe smoking for about a year, so have grains of salt handy. Unless I'm identifying the component incorrectly, this seems to be a very Latakia-forward blend. The tin-note is what I'd expect; rich and smokey. I found the mouthfeel to be quite strong in that flavor, but in an oddly pleasing way. One of the greatest things about reading these reviews is the descriptions of the flavors we taste. Here's one for you: The intensely smokey and cool flavor to me is somewhere between Wint-O-Green and Ivory Soap. If I'm not completely wrong, this is probably an acquired taste. But I still find that when choosing a tobacco to smoke and considering my mood, the pipe, and the weather, I invariably come back to this one just to check, and I do like it.
Tampers & Tools - 8deco Club Tamper Redwood
I've used Czech tools and pipe nails, and I prefer this. It's the sort of thing that comes along that makes me think "I better buy a back up in case I lose it." It's got as much heft to it as the Czech tool, and is about 1/2" longer and 1/10" wider. That doesn't sound like much, but in the hand, I definitely notice it. It just feels good. The draft holes are a great idea. Plus, not shown on these images, the underside is domed slightly, and has small grooves in a sort of starburst pattern radiating out from the center. I find this REALLY helps with stoking an ember...I can tamp and twist to get a nice even burn. Yes, unscrewing to get at the pick might be cumbersome, but I don't mind since during a bowl I might use it once if at all anyway. The price might seem like a lot for a simple tool, but it was worth it to me...I got a very functional and elegant bit of luxury for 1/3 the price of some other similar items out there.