Cornell & Diehl - Vieux Carré 2oz
In my ongoing exploration of Balkan style blends, I purchased Vieux Carre' and am glad I did. Smooth and layered, I am finding that I really prefer the spice of orientals over perique. Now with Vieux, the scotch is really noticeable in the tin, but I have not picked up on it during a smoke. Still, an enjoyable smoke, albeit not to the level of Hearth & Home's Black House.
Rattray's - Exotic Passion 100g
Unlike anything else...
Full disclosure: I DO smoke aros! The tin note is ridiculous in the amount of citrus and perfume you get - prob the best and worst tin note I've ever experienced. Yea, I know THAT didn't make sense. But, its a tobacco, not potpourri, so how it smokes is what rates. I liked it. It's so full of fruit notes its crazy. I found drying it for 10 min or so smokes more to my tastes. It does need to be sipped because as noted by others can burn hot. And I have dedicated a new cob to smoke it so eliminate any ghosting issues.
Cornell & Diehl - Pennington Gap 2oz
Comes and goes...
My first couple bowls were pretty good and I thought "man, this stuff is the real deal." The booze came through, but in waves. Took a break and when I revisited it just wasn't as good. Took a break and went back to a small bowl prince - and found the groove again. Reading other reviews, lots of folks feel the Perique represents, but I found that it stood on the sidelines a bit - which actually works for me. The aro comes and goes, which is nice as the bowl changes flavor during the smoke. Conclusion: it is a nice smoke, the Burley/Perique mix provides a bit of spice, but for a Black Cav/Burley aro, I prefer Founding Fathers. Yes, they are different, but there are only so many hours in a day.
Cornell & Diehl - Founding Fathers 2oz
Powdered wigs optional
Sans the pedestrian label art, this stuff is the real deal! I loved the first bowl and was all in after the second. BUT - I smoked a few more before reviewing and am hooked. The flavor and experience changes during the smoke. The fruit topping comes through - but only in passing moments - and more like a wing-man than the star. I'm not a fan of bacca that's too Burley forward, but in FF it really plays a nice role and for me, adds the right amount of nuttiness and flavor.
Edward G. Robinson - Edward G. Robinson's Pipe Blend 1.5oz
"You're not smarter...you're just taller."
I grabbed a tin of EGR because it was sampled in the Smoking Pipes OTC tobacco comparison. After several bowls in different pipes, I found it a little disappointing. For me, it tasted like a mild English that was very Latikia light, but the alleged aro components were MIA. I just didn't get the fruit described by other reviewers. It's pleasant, and an all-day smoker, but falls short of what I got out of Half and Half. We will see how it changes over time.
Lane Limited - RLP-6
Move over 1-Q...
As a 1-Q fan, RLP-6 is the natural next progression, and it only took a couple bowls for me to agree with all the hub-bub! Really nice. Not overtly sweet and just a hint of spiciness. The Burley is what brings it all home. I'll keep smoking 1-Q, but RLP just bumped it in the batting order.
Peterson - Nightcap 50g
Not there yet...
I first tried Nightcap sometime ago, but it was probably too early in my pipe smoking journey, as I found it a bit too strong/spicy for my taste. I prefer EMP instead. That being said, it is clear that its a flavorful, robust tobacco that I will revisit down the line.
Cornell & Diehl - Haunted Bookshop 2oz
HBS is like a first girlfriend: upon a time I did like her, and she was great, but I moved on. I enjoy HBS, as has been stated by others, the Burley is solid, only a touch of the Perique, but I find it burns a bit hot. I still go to HBS for a change-up.
Hearth & Home - Black House 1.75oz
Great Balkan Batman!
Not being familiar with blends identified as "balkan" I decided to buy a few and see what the fuss was all about. I was interested in how much different they were compared to my usual English blends. So, I started with Black House, based on the glowing reviews. Well folks, those 4 and 5 star reviews weren't full of hot air; this stuff is excellent. The Orientals are forward and I really developed a taste for them (when not hidden behind too much Latikia). I feel that the Perique was very subdued like it was put into a time-out for misbehavior. Frankly, which suits me fine since I find it can be irritating. Nice amount of smoke, behaved nicely right out of the tin. I have smoked it in a cob, a Peterson system, and a Savenelli Dublin-filtered. I think the Peterson gave the best experience. Bonus: the awesome artwork on the tin.
Sir Walter Raleigh - Regular 1.5oz
Only "Half" as good
OK so this is the second OTC blend in my tobacco comparison. Simply said, this was mild, middle of the road and "found wanting." It wasn't bad, just a mild, non-challenging smoke. It would definitely be a codger all-day-smoker since it is so middling. Not as good a Half and Half.
Half and Half - Half and Half 1.5oz
No Half Measure
I decided to try Smoking Pipes Jeffery Sitts OTC tobacco comparison (see his blog series). I already had experience with Captain Black, so I chose to start with Half and Half. Wow - was I surprised at how good this tobacco is! Smooth, nutty and pleasantly spicy, but with the spice profile very unlike perique or orientals (probably because it is incorporated in the topping). It was an easy packer and burned well. After multiple bowls I have a good handle on Half and Half and decided to buy more and put it into my rotation. So, on to the next "codger" blend.
Cornell & Diehl - We Three Kings 2oz
Gold, Frankincense and meh...
For me, this tobacco is a tweener, where its a bit aro and the orientals make it a bit english. But like all things that try and do too much, it's not great at either. It was pleasant and my only real negative was the odd amount of stem that I came across.
Peterson - Early Morning Pipe 50g
This is one of my favorite English blends, and it sits right at the upper range of my taste in terms of strength. Much has already been said about EMP, so a quick comparison. Kramer's Father Dempsey is my current fav Eng, and acts as my profile barometer. EMP brings a little more to the party that Dempsey, but not quite as much as Nightcap, which I haven't developed a taste for - yet! A bit more smokey than Dempsey, the latakia strikes the right note without being excessive. Not the treasure trove of flavor contained in Plum Pudding, but a really good Eng smoke.
Lane Limited - 1-Q
Just my Lane
Well, well, this was a nice surprise. Despite having been informed by all the glowing reviews, I still found this tobacco to be a surprisingly wonderful experience. Light, smooth, not overly sweet, just a good old fashioned Cavendish smoke. Not much to add that hasn't already been said (both good and bad) about this tobacco, except that its good enough to maintain a place in my rotation.
CAO - Eileen's Dream 50g
I Dream of Eileen...
Starting with the usual disclaimer about not being a frequent smoker of aromatics, I can say that I enjoyed Eileen's Dream very, very much. It's a nice change from my usual English and Va/Per smoking routine. Straight out of the tin, the tobacco was moist but ready to smoke. I have experimented with drying before smoking but found no appreciable difference. It burned cleanly to the bottom of the bowl. A nice, not overly sweet, aromatic that delivers a pleasant smoke!
Kramer's - Father Dempsey 50g
Bless me Father...
In my tobacco world, Father D's has earned the ubiquitous title of "All Day Smoker." A very pleasant and accessible English that brings just the right amount of latakia to the party. It's well behaved in how it burns and smokes and I have never found it to be bitey, so I think that it's a nice gateway tobacco into the realm of English style tobaccos. As a comparison, when I want a step up in strength from Father D's, I smoke Peterson's EMP and 965. For me, Father D's is my current favorite.
Herman Melville's Literary Pipes
- ► I really enjoyed this article and your writing style.