About Me:
Returning pipe smoker. Started smoking a pipe in the early 1970's, about the time Captn. Black and Borkum Riff were making the scene. I'm a semi-retired geri-psych/hospice RN, but worked 25 years in graphic arts/advertising prior to that. I enjoy writing, poetry, folk art, pipe smoking, gardening, inventing & tinkering, leather craft, hunting, fishing, camping, mushroom & asparagus hunting, and especially friends & family. I live with my wife of 35 plus years in Sycamore, IL.

Cornell & Diehl - Five O'Clock Shadow 2oz
Sweet Tart
Five O’clock Shadow? They should call this Uncle Si’s Beard. Seriously though, This blend strikes a surprising balance between the sweetness of the Virginias, the rich acrid smoky tartness of the Perique, with the earthy flavors of the Dark Fired filling out the bottom. Not harsh, or overpowering. Maybe not one for my daily rotation, but definitely a weekender, after dinner smoke with a libation and a good cup of coffee. Has a moderate nic-kick. Moist cake (no fungi noted), but I was too curious to wait for drying time. Burned like a house on fire to the bottom of the bowl, but fairly cool. Perhaps, not the blend for beginners. Then again, as for strength on a scale of 1-10: C&D, “Exclusive” being a “10,” I would only rate “Five O’Clock Shadow a “6.”. A Perique lover’s dream.

Fribourg & Treyer - Special Brown Flake 50g
They're Writing Songs of Love…
…But, not for me. When I spied the deep brown flakes in the tin I knew I was looking at fine quality tobacco, here. I wanted to like it. I just didn’t. Has baked bread-like flavors, and further on tastes like a strong cup of Columbian coffee, with a half teaspoon of sugar. I could not detect the rum top note. Just as well I suppose. I prefer my rum in a Cuba Libre. Bitter at times, just not enough sugar for my sweet tooth. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize this as an excellent tobacco, it’s just not my cup of tea (or, coffee, rather). It may end up your favorite. I can sure understand that.

Astley's - No. 109 Medium Flake 50g
Report Tobacco Abuse
From the looks of these gorgeous flakes, ole #109 started off life as an excellent quality tobacco. Then someone sprayed it with a top dressing of what tastes like a mixture of nutmeg, and soap suds. I know both flavors well, one, from sprinkling on my Tom & Jerrys, at Christmas time; the other, from Tourette-like outbursts in front of my mother, as a youngster. I was hoping some of this casing would burn off as it burned, but no such luck. When it descended into burning rubber, I dumped the bowl. They say your taste buds die as you age. I guess I’ll keep this around until I’m about 98 yrs old, and try it again. Maybe, by then, enough taste buds will have died, or I will have become nostalgic for the old Lifebuoy.

McClelland - Matured Virginia: No. 25 50g
A rich, hot fudge sundae of a smoke. Few folks do Virginias better than McClelland. Kudos

Cornell & Diehl - Bijou 2oz
Rich Dark Flakes
This seems a lot like stoved Virginia to me. Taste was very similar to Mc Clelland Personal Reserve: Blackwoods Flake, a stoved Virginia. Even appearance is similar. Taste was sweet, perhaps pumpernickel bread drizzled in Karo syrup, or, dates/dried figs/etc. Couldn’t put my finger on a honey flavor. Good use of the Katerini to sweeten, but does not dominate and over power the Virginia. Smoky quality, much like a Perique blend. No dry time needed. Smokes well rubbed-out from the tin.

Samuel Gawith - Spring Time Flake 50g
Sensuous Splendor
I would almost purchase this, just for the tin note. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. You’ll swear you're standing in the middle of a tobacco shed full of drying leaves. Flavor much like Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture, but sweeter. Somewhere in between the hay/grass, and the chocolate of the Virginia flavor range. I would describe it as fresh churned butter and honey, on fresh out of the oven, stone-ground wheat bread. Like most SG tobaccos, this could use some drying time, but smokes well right from the tin. I didn't really note the Perique, or the old sherry barrels, but liked the flavor, however they effected it. I’ll definitely be back for more. P.S. I get a kick out of the tin art. They appear to be crop dusting the dandelions.

Samuel Gawith - Cabbie's Mixture 50g
A Delightful Blend!
Very wet loosely spun coins of black & gold make a fine presentation when first opening the tin. Has a sweet, almost musty tin note, I suspect heavily cased/top dressed. First taste was sweet horse manure. I hope that’s not why they call it, “Cabbies Mixture” (they show a horse drawn cab on the tin). But whatever, I enjoyed it, thoroughly. Taste changed throughout the bowl, perhaps from the different moisture contents/burning time, from Perique (tighly spun center of coin), to the Virginia (loosely spun outer layer), with top dressing coming through at times, giving this blend a complexity usually reserved for English/Latakia/Oriental blends. Generous amounts of Perique, a sandalwood/wood smoke flavor coming subtlety through at times. Highly recommended.

Samuel Gawith - St. James Flake 50g
Top 5 Va/Per
Definitely the prettiest flake you ever did see. Browns, marbled with black, and even cream (cross sections of leaf stems?). Tin note is wonderfully pungent, slightly acidic. It even had some sugar crystal blossoms, indicating it is well aged. I wasn’t so sure at first. It started out with more grass/hay than I care for in Virginias. But it sweetened, and developed more chocolate half way through. Generous amount of Perique, which I like. Could use some drying time, but smokes well straight from the tin. A complex, and delightful smoke. I would rate it in my top five Va/Pers.

Samuel Gawith - Scottish Autumn Flake 50g
Very Nice
Sweet, but not an overly sweet Virginia. Could smoke this all day, every day. Well done. Flakes work out easily to fine ribbons. Smoked well right out of the tin. A medium bodied Virginia. Well worth a try.

McConnell - Black & Gold 50g
Try It, You'll Like It
Good, rock-solid Va/Per. Sweet, smoky, well balanced. Will be going into the rotation. No delicate ribbons, here. Looks like Shredder, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ripped it apart with his claws. Could use some dry time, but burnt well from the tin.

Tabac De La Semois - Reserve du Patron 3.5oz
Strangely Good
Cannot recall how I heard of this tobac, but glad I tried it. This is definitely something different, and if you like trying new tobacco, this should be on your bucket list. My first impression was, Native American tobacco mixture (red willow bark?). Like no tobac I’ve tried before, but something familiar here. ? Sweet, spicy, hints of wood smoke. Evokes autumn, like no other tobacco, to me. Hints of campfire toasted marshmallows. Dry, and yet condensation noted in pipe stem. No need for dry time. Would make a good blender to use like Perique, with a sweet Virginia, or an Oriental leaf. Pack tight, burns like a house on fire.

Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky 1.75oz
Don’t Let the Name Scare You
Although, this is a bold, heavy blend, don’t let the name scare you off. There is no bitterness, harshness, or bite here. Tin note is very pungent and earthy. Something between black tea, and horse manure (gotcha wanting’ to try it already, eh?). I gave it an hour’s dry time, but don’t think it needed it. The thin dark flakes work out into almost a shag cut. Burnt well, relight after I went to refill my coffee. Sweet earthy flavor, hints of oak smoke, charcoal, then fresh out of the oven pumpernickel bread about halfway thru. I’m not real sensitive to nicotine, but I suspect this has a good dose. Not something I’d smoke every day, but a nice smoke when you want to sink your chops into something more.

Dunhill - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
By Jove! Well Done, Ole Chap
I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. Many English blended Virginias have left me flat. Too much, grass and hay. This blend is not as sweet as most of the Va/per I enjoy, but I found it very satisfying. First off, I think Russ Ouellette, and Mike McNiel are Virginia/Perique blending gods. No one does it better (together, or separately). They know Virginias like, Bear Bryant knew football. I like the chocolaty sweetness in their Virginias and Va/pers. Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture was not like that at all. I would say, sweet-nut-grass, if there was such a thing. Not real complex. I could smoke this blend 365, and enjoy every pipe full (if it was available in bulk). Perique is definitely in the background here, a medium bodied blend. Burned well right from the tin, but off course, could use some dry time. It’s a, “Buy It,” from me.

Cornell & Diehl - Kajun Kake 2oz
Copious Clouds of Cajun Smoke
Very good Va/per, but not my favorite. I like my Virginia's a little sweeter. I think C&D’s, Sunday Picnic is better, to name one. Nice balance of Virginia to, Perique, though. Big Billows of smoke upon ignition. Deep pungent tin note. I will smoke this once or twice a week, for a change-up. Hey! C&D. How about getting some lids that fit your tins. Lid for this is a little small, and lid from Sunday Picnic is like trying to slip a bikini on a manatee.

Seattle Pipe Club - Deception Pass 2oz
I’ll Take Exception, + Pass
Although, my first time trying Deception Pass, I have often added a pinch of Orientals to my Va/pers, so, this is nothing new to me. That said, I believe the Orientals are a little over-done, here. A little can go a long way. The second 2/3 of the bowl was more enjoyable, when the Orientals bowed-out a bit, and the Perique kicked-in. Next time I smoke it, I think I will add a little more Perique, and that might do the trick.

McClelland - Personal Reserve: Blackwoods Flake 100g
My first impression was, ‘dates.’ No, not the dates you spend $75 on for dinner and a show, then they develop a headache, and ask you to take them home. The fruit, dates. If you like Va/pers, I think you would enjoy a pipe of this. Has much of the qualities/characteristic of Perique (spicy, peppery, smoky), but with a dried fruit flavor. Va/sto = Virginia/stoved Virginia. Not overly sweet, but sweet. Bold, and rich. Definitely going into the rotation. Great after dinner smoke, with coffee, or your favorite libation.

McClelland - Personal Reserve: Dark Star 50g
Sweet Eater
Smoked by itself, I would only give this 3 stars, It is much like Perique in characteristics, but different in flavor. As a blender, I give it 5 stars (hence, the 4 star rating). Smoked alone: dried fruit dominates (I thought of plums) first 1/3, then some smoky, acidic, Perique-like flavors, campfire toasted marshmallows toward the end (most unexpected). Very wet from tin, needs extensive dry time before even working it into ribbons. Has McClelland’s ketchup/vinegar tin note in spades, strongest I’ve noted. Where this shines is used as a blender, like Perique. Tried 2 parts Mc 5100 Red Cake, to 1 part Dark Star, but still needed a tweak. Added 2 parts of Mc Classic Samsun, and, Shazam! A most excellent smoke. If you like Va/pers, I think you’d like a bit of this in your blends. Use as you would Perique, at about 10-20% with a sweet Virginia, or Oriental. A little too bold for beginning smokers. Not for the nicotine sensitive (Carolina leaf adds a little N kick). Great for an early morning wake-up smoke.

McClelland - Grand Orientals: Smyrna No. 1 50g
Smyrna No.1, VS: Classic Samsun, SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! @ U.S. Smokin’ Man Cave!
Howard: “Don, we’re here tonight at the beautiful, Smelly Ole Workshop behind the Garage, to witness an epic smoking battle, for the Non-Latakia Oriental Bantam-Weight Championship Title Crown, between two monumental thoroughbred blends of the McClelland Grand Orientals stable, Symrna No. 1, and Classic Samsun.” Don: “That’s right, Howard, both these Oriental blends pack plenty of delicious, quality Turkish leaf, without resorting to Latakia, and it will be interesting to see if one of these contenders can land a knock-out punch. They’ll both be stylishly clad in matching Missouri Meerschaum, 5th Avenue, bent, ‘Legends,’ here tonight, so it should be a fair and even match.” Howard: “And, without further adieu, Don, we’ll get this fight underway. The two brawlers are stepping into the ring for tonight’s title bout.” Round 1. PRESENTATION: Smyrna No. 1 lands a solid right jab, staggering Classic Samsun, with its inclusion of a single, whole, golden Smyrna leaf, lying atop the ribbon cut blend. Round 2. FLAVOR: Classic Samsun leads with nut and fruit, perhaps spice and tea, sweet and pleasurable, mild and mellow. Smyrna No. 1 is not throwing in the towel, just yet. It retorts with sweet and mellow nut bread, with hints of caramel/chocolate Virginia, kicking-in about mid-bowl Round 3. SMOKE-ABILITY: Classic Samsun comes out strong, burning cool, and thoroughly, with only a stir, and a tamp, right from the tin. Not to be outdone, Smyrna No. 1 matches Samsun’s performance, burning perhaps a tad warmer, But to a finer ash. A slight tongue bite is noted towards the end of the round. Howard: “Don, we have witnessed a truly historic bout here tonight. I feel we have seen a preponderance of precisely perfumed, perfectly pleasurable, pipe puffing, performance, here tonight.” Don: “Well, you said a mouthful there, Howard, and I couldn’t agree, more. You can tell….” Howard: “…Don. Excuse me, Don. The judges’ decision is just in. The new Non-Latakia Oriental Bantam-Weight Champion of the World, is, … Smyrna No. 1., in a 2-1 decision.” Don: “Howard, I can’t help but feel, that resentment by the Russian judge played a role in this decision, related to Classic Samsun’s knock-out of Russia’s favorite blend, Мой папа в старом носки (Grandpa’s Old Socks), in the opening minute, of the first round, in the bout leading up to this title match.” Howard: “Well, that’s about all the time we have for tonight. This is Howard Smokeswell…” Don: “…And, ‘Dandy’ Don Dublin, saying, So long, and goodnight from, the Smelly Ole Workshop behind the Garage.”

Rattray's - 40 Virginia 100g
Dare’s Gold in Dem Dare Cans!
More Gold than the California Gold Rush, Rattray’s: 40 Virginia is a bright and sassy Virginia/Burley blend, with a mild peppery tongue bite. Starts out with hay, and about ½ way through the sugars start to caramelize, and you start picking up some subtle sweeter chocolate notes. Towards the end it reminded me of Tareyton cigarettes, and I have enjoyed a few of those, back in the day. There add slogan was, “I’d rather fight, than switch,” and featured smokers with a black eye, and cigarette dangling from their lip. They were good quality, and had a unique and enjoyable flavor. ****************************************** Nice ribbon cut. Burns well right from tin, but could use some dry time. Not my favorite Virginia blend, but I liked the transition of flavors, and I understand why people enjoy this blend. It is not overly sweet. I think I will treat it like Cheeze-it’s cheese, and give it a time-out in the corner to think about it, and mature a little. I might try stoving some in an old Altoids tin, just to play Dr. Frankenstein with it. Enjoy.

McClelland - Collector: Beacon 50g
A Perique Lover’s Orgy
Not for Va/per posers. This is the real deal, Perique upfront, and in your face. You’ll recognize the quality of this blend the moment you pop the tin, and spy the dark coffee brown, aged Virginia, and the jet black Perique, pressed flake. I’m almost awe struck at the quality, craftsmanship, and artistry the tobacconist at McClelland put into their tobaccos, every time I crack open one of their blends. Beacon is no exception. ************************************ This is the blend Captain Ahab, a man of focus and drive who takes life as it comes, would smoke from his pipe. No sweet rum soaked tobac for him; nor a dainty English blend. No, Capt Ahab would smoke a blend as bold, and wild, as the sea he made his home. A man who demanded excellence in his crew, his ship, tools (from harpoons, to hawsers), and tobacco, in his focused pursuit of his goals. ************************************* Burns like a ship’s galley stove, right from the tin, after being rubbed out. All the sweet smoky dried fruit/chocolate flavors you expect of Perique, not overly sweet. Strong as Capt. Ahab, but as kind as Queequeg. Nary a bite in a bag. ************************************* If you are a Va/per lover you’ll set your course toward this Beacon, or you may find yourself wash-up, high 'n' dry on the reef mediocre, lesser blends, ya’ lily-livered, land lubbers.

McClelland - Grand Orientals: Classic Samsun 50g
Sweet Gunpowder?
There’s an old tale that the Native Americans were unable to see Columbus’s ships when they arrived off shore in the New World. The story goes that the cause was not that they were struck blind, but because it was so outside their realm of experience, that their mind’s eye could not comprehend it, and thus shut the image completely off from the brain. I believe this tale has since been debunked as pseudo science/psycho-babble/poppy-cock. But it is a good intro into the dilemma of describing this blend. Samsun’s flavor is so outside the realm of Western culture, it is difficult to describe. Unfortunately (or, fortunately), it doesn’t taste, “ just like chicken.” ************************************** It is described on the tin as a sweet nutty flavor, and there is a bit of that, but I defy you to name a nut that has a similar flavor. That’s kinda like saying, “the Rocky Mountains are mole hill-ish.” I can only give some impression that came to mind while smoking: Sweet gunpowder; Old Spice cologne; strong tea with honey; burning chocolate upholstery; and a musty old house covered in doughnut frosting, and set ablaze. Funny thing, all of these were most pleasant flavors. At one point, well along, I picked up a note of my mother’s old steam iron. A pleasant memory, but what is that? Caramelizing of the sugars in starch?****************************************** Burns exceptional cool right from the tin. You can puff on this like a fireman stoking a steam locomotive, and it doesn’t heat up the pipe. Revive that old, thin walled briar that was always burning your fingers, and puff away. **************************************** This is an excellent blend for someone to try who wants something a little exotic, but doesn’t care for Latakias. Nice, and mild. I believe aromatic smokers may enjoy this as a change of pace; a great transitional blend. Classic Samsun gives me the same sensation as eating a chocolate éclair, and I was going to save it as a desert smoke, but I keep dippin’ into it like it was a bag of Snickers bars. Try some, and see what impressions and memories it conjures up in you.

Hearth & Home - AJ's VaPer 1.5oz
A Most Manly Blend
My first thought, after the first few puffs, “Hey mon, dis is not for your girlie-man tongue.” This is what 'Devil' Anse Hatfield would smoke in his Anse. Light bite right from the get-go. But after a while it mellowed on me, or my tongue blistered over, and I found it very enjoyable. ************************************* Pungent tin note. Burns well right out of the tin. I forgot to do a tamp down after ignition, but it didn’t care, and just went on burning like a house on fire. That said, it burned cool the whole bowl through, and didn’t heat up the pipe. This is a more Perique forward blend, but the smoky Cavendish and Perique seem meant for each other. About a third through the bowl it seemed to mellow somewhat, and I could taste the sweet Virginias coming through. This blend evokes Autumn, for me, better than any aromatic blend, with its smokehouse flavor, and hardwood smoke room note. Not a blend I would smoke every day, but a most enjoyable smoke to get your testosterone flowing.

Cornell & Diehl - Sunday Picnic 2oz
Quit Playing In Your Food!
I bet your mom told you that a hundred times. I think, “playing in your food,” is the reason many of us like flake, cake, and plug. It gives us a chance to experience the tobacco before we enjoy its smoke. Sunday Picnic is most enjoyable and engaging in that regard. The flake has good moisture content and is well pressed, and is a little chore to rub out properly. But it is a labor of love. It is like a Japanese tea ceremony, or, Morel mushrooms. The processing of the flake heightens the anticipation. You have to put some work into it, but are rewarded with beautiful ribbons of sweet golden Virginias, black and pungent, crumbling Perique, and toasty brown Izmir. It is the preparing of the fried chicken and potato salad before the Sunday picnic.******************* Well balanced flavor, medium in strength. Sweet Virginias dominate, but this is not an overly sweet blend. Wonderful smoky Perique accent. But, it is the Izmir that gives uniqueness to this blend. Perhaps, a black tea flavor, or slight notes of Paprika. Just mildly and intriguingly spicy. It reminded me somewhat of the non-filtered Camel cigarettes I smoked as a kid. Burned well, but not on the cool side. Simply delicious!************************ Like, the picture on the tin, Cornell & Diehl’s Sunday Picnic is as enjoyable as relaxing with Betty Lou, in her pink Sunday dress, spread out on a blanket 'neath the shady Elm… Elm tree? Morels grow under Elm trees. It’s April. A perfect excuse to enjoy a pipe of Sunday Picnic, on a Sunday picnic relaxing in the woods (anyone have Betty Lou's phone number?). I’m out.***************************** Thanks to all of you previous reviewers for recommending this wonderful flake. Most appreciated.

Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening
Like Smoking a Toll-house Cookie
More sweetness than a bag of Trick or Treat candy. Cornell& Diehl Autumn Evening is one of the few aromatics I will indulge in. It is a little too sweet for me to smoke straight-up, so I blend it with a mild Virginia/Burley blend and create a blend I call, Indian Summer. It will satisfy your sweet tooth with zero calories, and is a most pleasant desert smoke. It’s like smoking a Toll-house cookie, with a doughnut shop room note. ***** Indian Summer Blend: 1 Part Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening, to: 5 or 6 Parts mild Virginia/Burley blend. Adjust to taste. ***** For an added treat, Google: Chicago, Injun Summer, to see, John T. McCutcheon’s famous cartoon and poem (scroll all the way down to excerpt from, Hiawatha).

McClelland - Blenders: Perique 50g
As Advertised
Bought this for blending, but after I blended some, I decided to smoke a little on its own. It was very pleasant, though, maybe not something I’d smoke every day. Tinge of vinegar, as I suppose there should be in something fermented. On lighting, I could taste the fig, date, and smoky, stewed fruit notes others report. As it burned hotter it had more of a dark chocolate flavor. Blend that I eye-balled with Mc 5100 Red Cake was good, but I have had better Va/Per’s, and it definitely needed to be tweaked. It is as advertised, and I look forward to experimenting with it.

McClelland - Collector: Orient 996 50g
Another Great Blend from McClelland.
This is the way Latakias and Orientals should be used, as a condiment to the Virginias. Too, much Latakia is an onion sandwich. This is one of the few blends (and most are McClelland) that get it right. Sweet and mellow, with enough exotic, delicate, Syrian Latakia and Orientals to evoke a train ride on the Orient Express, but not enough to make you think your inside a 1970’s headshop, burning sandalwood incense. Well done.

McClelland - Collector: Wilderness 50g
Listen up. Can you keep a secret? This is just between you, and me. This is the finest vegetable matter I have ever set aflame. I will let others describe its essence, but picture this: A small tobacco shop in Liverpool in the 18 century. The proprietor makes a fine mariner’s pipe blend that many ship’s captains are fond of, and many seafarers visit his shop. He tells these sailing men to be on the lookout for exotic tobaccos in their travels. One day a captain walks in with a few pounds of Syrian Latkia. Later a sailor has just arrived from the Far East with an exotic tobacco called Drama. And, so it goes… *************************************************************************************** The proprietor starts blending these exotic tobaccos with Virginias, and Burleys from America, and shares some with his best customers, and friends. They like it so much, that they share it with their friends. His new tobacco soon becomes a fad. He contracts with ships captains to bring him more of these exotic tobaccos, creates a commercial blend, and soon has a nation-wide following. That’s what this tastes like. You can taste the Trade Route of the British Empire in this blend. ***** It is already becoming hard to get. Once the McClelland warehouse is empty of Syrian Latakia, will we ever taste it again? Is the Smoke Master who perfumed those Syrian Latakias sitting in a refugee camp somewhere, or with us no longer? I believe this is the, ‘Balkan Sobranie 759,’ of our era. This is the blend everyone will be talking about, and comparing to 50 years from now. But, don’t go blogging about it, or writing a 5 star review about it somewhere. ; )

Sutliff - Frosty Mint
Balkan Icehouse
Try something new? This blend is surprisingly refreshing. I believe Sutliff Frosty Mint, and Cyprian Latakia, complement each other well. It’s like, a tall glass of iced tea with a sprig of Spearmint on a hot summer’s day; or a Mint Julep sweating in your hands, beneath your wide brimmed Panama, at Churchill Downs. Balkan Icehouse Blend: 1- Part Sutliff Frosty Mint, To: 5- Parts of your favorite Balkan style blend. Adjust to taste and effect, so that one is not overpowering the other. The balance seems a, “thin red line,” but most enjoyable once that balance is met. It is better the 1st 1/3 of the pipe, as the mint flavor seems to lose traction beyond that point. For that reason, it will smoke better in a small pipe. Grecian lamb chops, with mint jelly? Maybe that’s stretching things a bit, but however you describe it, it is a pleasurable smoke for a hot summer’s day, or an after dinner mint.

Sutliff - Frosty Mint
Remise en Bouche
Native Americans and indigenous peoples throughout the world have long recognized the healing properties of mint (mentha). One of the healing properties of mint is the soothing of burns. Mint has long been used between courses in French cuisine as a palate cleanser to remove the taste of the previous course of fair from the tongue. * I detect, among true pipe enthusiast, a disdain for mint/menthol flavored tobacco. It seems a novelty, or relegated to the lowly realm of the cigarette smoker. It is little wonder this attitude prevails, if you have sampled most of the mint/menthol tobacco blends offered to the pipe smoker. For some reason the menthol flavor that holds up well in a cigarette, deteriorates quickly in a pipe and becomes harsh, acrid, and bitter. So, I was intrigued when I read reviews of Sutliff Frosty Mint, where reviewers stated the mint not only held up well, but dominated.* Fred Hanna, in his excellent book on the pleasures of pipe smoking, ‘The Perfect Smoke: Gourmet Pipe Smoking for Relaxation and Reflection,’ states that there is no palate cleanser for pipe smoking, and that once the tongue is burnt by too hot a smoke, the only cure is time. I’m afraid he may be correct. But, if there is anything that may sooth and restore the tongue, I believe it to be mint. It can’t hurt, and besides, some of us just enjoy mint. * Remise en Bouche Blend (Palate Cleanser Blend) - Everything sounds more elegant in French, don’t it? * 4 Parts mild Virginia/Burley blend * To: 1 Part Sutliff Frosty Mint Adjust to taste and effect. You may want to dedicate a small pipe to mint r/t ghosting of flavor.* Next time a pipe snob starts sniffing indignantly at the air around you while your smoking mint, and asks you, “What’s that you’re smoking, there?,” raise your pinky and extend it primly and properly from your cob, look down your nose, and proclaim proudly in your most haughty French, “Remise en Bouche, bien sur, Monsieur (Palate cleanser, of course, Sir).” * Try Sutliff Frosty Mint. Don’t be afraid, you might like it. We’ll keep it our little secret. We wouldn’t want to get black-balled from the pipe club. ;-)

McClelland - 5100 - Red Cake
The Marlboro Man on Steroids
Just great, classic Virginia taste. The smoke is thick, sweet, and rich, almost chocolaty. No bite I could perceive. Mild enough to smoke the live-long day. This is a cornerstone blend from which to judge all other red Virginias by. Superb.

Cornell & Diehl - Oriental Silk
Good Blender
I bought this as a blending tobacco, but I had to try it alone just to get an idea of what it can do. It is a fairly mild smoke, but with a strong black tea-like flavor. The first impression that came to mind was that it was calling out for orange. I think I will put an orange peel in a bag with about a ½ oz of the Orntl. Silk and leave it for a while, and see what develops. It also seems to have a sweet tooth. When it needed a re-light, I dropped a pinch of Lane BCA in the pipe just to test the theory. Although, that didn’t seem just the thing it needed, the kids played well in the sandbox together. I believe C&D Oriental Silk could decrease the sweetness in an overly sweet blend, and perhaps, tame an overly tangy Virginia, lending a slightly exotic flavor. I can’t wait to try my Oriental Silk-a l’orange Potpourri.

Hearth & Home - Louisiana Red 1.5oz
Oui Doggies, dats Good!
A sweet and tangy smoke, Zesty as a bowl of jumbalya (I had sweat running down my forehead). Warning: Not for the kids. That dog bites. It gets up on your tongue and does a little Zydeco dance. Ayeee! That’s right up my alley, a most exhilarating smoke that stands up and greets you.

Hearth & Home - Anniversary Kake 1.5oz
This is why God made Virginias. When I get to the pearly gates I expect St. Peter will be enjoying a bowl of Anniversary Cake in his Charatan Freehand. The smoke is thick, sweet, and rich as a chocolate malt. Probably needs a little drying time. But, when I peeled back the tin, the Virginia was making love to the Perique, and I had to jump right in. Another great, “must smoke,” from Hearth & Home. Delicious!

Hearth & Home - Classic Burley Kake 1.5oz
Good Stuff!
Smoked alone, this is in the Carter Hall vein, but a richer and nuttier flavor. Very good. The best use of Classic Burley Kake, is as a blender. It will smooth out a harsh blend and give it a nutty sweetness. But, if you are a Va/per lover, you've got to try a little in your favorite blend. Try about 1 part of CBK, to 7 parts va/per. If you go too far it will go nutty on you, but at the right balance it adds a rich, dark chocolate, full body flavor to the smoke. I love it with H&H Viprati. It seems to add more cubic inches under the hood, so to speak (maybe more nicotine, too). A great morning wake-up smoke.
    Brad Pohlmann's Favorite Pipe Designs
  • ► Gorgeous! Just curious, since 95% of us will never own one of these beautiful works of art, even as estates, due to cost, do you smoke one of his pipes, or is it just for show? If you smoke it, is there special tobaccos you smoke to break it in, so as not to risk charring the bowl (Perhaps something like, Dunhill's Gentle Baby's Bottom Blend). I certainly would never clinch one, or ever cant it on an angle for rear of rim darkening. By volume, I figure the stem alone to be worth several hundred $'s.