Cornell & Diehl - Gates of Light: Sha'are Orah 2oz
It’s As Magical as Its Name Suggests
The tin of this I’m finishing up now is almost a year old, so - bear in mind I hit the jackpot. But this has got to be my favorite treatment of C&D’s Perique so far. Its interplay between that mouth-watering Stoved Red and the floral hints of Turkish is nothing short of miraculous. A ponderous medley of some of the best raw components you can find, curl up with a good book and stretch your mind a little - you’re in for a sweet and spicy ride all the way to powdertown.
Cornell & Diehl - Morning Light: Boker Or 2oz
This stuff never gets old, so I smoke it all the way down to its tasty, powdered ashes. Perfect nicotine level for a daily smoke, even great at night. Another one that tastes as great to smoke as it does to sip and savor.
Cornell & Diehl - Sansepolcro 2oz
Not What You Might Expect
This is not an ordinary DFK blend. The Dark Fired here presents more of a vinegar and pepper profile than that of smoky leather, and it’s incredibly light. It reminds me of a good, unroasted Dark Burley. The Virginia here is sweet and grassy, and it comes in equal measures. Had no clue there was any cavendish in this until just now. That said, what seemed like a disappointment at first turned out to be a real champion - I have been milking this tin for months, and I’m eyeing another one before they’re all gone.
Daughters & Ryan - Ramback Gold
If it tastes this good now, I can only imagine what a year or two would do.
Daughters & Ryan - Windsail Platinum
Same Quality, More Convenience
Glad to see this in bulk, my wallet and my palate both love D&R.
Daughters & Ryan - Windsail Platinum 16oz
It’s a little sharp, but it doesn’t bite - this is an incredibly smooth and citrusy bright Virginia blend, rich with flavor and intended for a pipe. Some of these bags must have been sitting around for a while, because the bag I received had a depth of flavor it takes some age to acquire (think the bag said over a year.) Windsail Platinum is high-quality, naked leaf - it’s ready to smoke straight from the bag and burns down clean. I have made this my daily smoke since I received it, and that says a lot. Try blending 2:1 with Ramback Gold, you won’t regret it.
Low Country - Natural Virginia & Burley
Bargain Price, Bombshell Flavor
I was hesitant trying this blend. As far as I understand, Low Country is blended by C&D, and my experience with their Dark Burley has been a little rough. The batch I recently received was a bit long in the tooth, and it had more pepper than flavor - that was even blended 2:3 with LC Natural Virginia. What was used in this blend, however, is a lot more fresh - the balance here between pepper and flavor is perfect. For the price, this is one of the best “sit down and smoke” blends you can find for the price.
Cornell & Diehl - Pegasus 2oz
Thankfully, You Don’t Need To Be Bellerophon To Fly This Steed
This is my personal favorite C&D blend to-date - it’s the pentacle of the art. Stout but cool, bite-free and easy smoking all day long, unrelenting with natural flavors of cocoa, cream, and granola all the way down to the powdery ashes, an almost carbonated tingle on the retro - I can’t seem to put this stuff down. Tasty doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’m puffing on a bowl right now in my Country Gentleman, and nothing could wipe the grin off my face for the next half-hour. No, it’s not very complex, but it does not need to be - everything is in perfect proportion. Yes, it can be a bit rough, but it’s raw and I love it. This is the reason Burley is still the king of pipe tobacco to my palate. And unlike its namesake, this one might actually fly you to the heavens.
Cornell & Diehl - Daylight: Or L'yom 2oz
Tobacco The Way Adonai Intended
I must say, I was somewhat disappointed in this blend at first. I got nothing of the Perique or Turkish, and the Cavendish only appeared intermittently. It was all good tobacco, but that’s about it. It really surprised me today. It seems the more I smoke Daylight the more the components color my experience - the Cavendish is definitely present in every bowl. Now I can distinctly taste the melon tang of the Turkish, and won’t be shocked to discover in future bowls the musk of the Perique that no doubt contributes to the delightfully stout pepper in the retrohale. Given a chance and some attention, the pure taste and complexity of this blend really does shine like the Light of Day. In fact, I think Aaron could have burned this stuff in the tabernacle instead of frankincense and G-d would have been just as pleased. Wish they carried this in bulk! I’ll have to try the whole series!
Newminster - No. 702 Light Burley
IT’S A SECRET TO EVERYBODY
Tastes like Prince Albert but without the chemical lacquer applied to your tongue. If I couldn’t smoke any other tobacco but this one for the rest of my days, I could still die a happy man. If you don’t like it, you don’t like Burley - but let’s keep this a secret, alright?
Cornell & Diehl - Dark Burley
A Method for Setting One’s Face on Fire
Description reads, “a mellow smoke and fine flavor”, but smoking this batch on its own I get pepper maced and have to labor to find the flavor. I love the smoky ketchup and cigar taste of a good Kentucky Burley, and you will find it hiding its full glory in this leaf, but there is far more pepper here than anything else. It is fine blended - given a month to sit in a tin with some Virginia, the flavor becomes far more evident - it’s truly delicious - but the strength of the pepper persists. I ended up giving the majorly of the two ounces I purchased away to an older man in a care home who normally smokes sniped cigarettes, and he fell in love with it, though in hindsight I could have found my own good uses for it. Maybe it was just the batch I received - fermented indeed, there was a significant amount of bloom on the leaf, and I think if I’d sat on it much longer it might have turned into actual Perique (that was a joke). But in all fairness, mellow seems to be subjective. This stuff might actually set your face on fire. I’ll stick with tins and avoid bulk from now on, at least while I still have my own teeth!
Cornell & Diehl - Red Virginia Ribbon
Sticks & Powder
The leaf itself deserves a full 5 stars. Rich with the flavors of hay and tangy cider, this is pure, quality Red Virginia, and it doesn’t get any tastier than this so fresh. Smokes smooth, cool, and bite-free on its own, and has a fairly modest kick of nicotine. It arrived quite dry, but it hydrated nicely. When it arrived, I applied roughly 3mL of water to an ounce and a half, mixed it in the bag, and let it sit overnight. The problem is, I had ordered 2 ounces - roughly half an ounce of the weight consisted of a fine powder that I had to sift off the intact ribbons, and three disappointingly large stems (one of which was almost 7cm long and had the thickness of a muddling straw.) My advice, since this is such an excellent tobacco - try a tin first. C&D tins usually have perfect moisture levels (which means no powder) and fewer stems. Then, buy a pound in bulk if it suits you - the 1lb bags tend to have better moisture content, far less powder, and any large stems found within them will seem more unavoidable than disappointing.
Low Country - Natural Virginia
Not A Cheap Tobacco
It’s not just a decent blending base or cob-fodder, this by far the best value for an honestly good Virginia blend out there. It’s smooth, creamy, cheaper than any “pipe tobacco” bulk bag from a liquor store, and 10x tastier. A 4:1 blend of this and C&D’s Dark Fired has become my new daily smoke. In hindsight, I wish I would have gotten the Virginia/ Burley blend - didn’t expect it to be this good! EDIT, just bought another pound, and “complexity and sophistication” be damned, price is a factor, and it really does deserve a full 5 stars.
Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky 1.75oz
Very Good but Not Quite A Brown Rope
I love this stuff! The extremely rich and smoky flavor of the Burley really pairs nicely with the subtle sweetness of the Virginia here. It’s strong but well-balanced, and that musky flavor will permeate your senses in a way that keeps you coming back for more. I do have to add, though - another reviewer attempts to suggest this is a viable substitute for GH&Co ropes. Bold Kentucky certainly has a similar profile and decent strength, but it misses the flavor mark for me by a wide margin. It is not as oily or pungent - it’s more like a cousin than a brother. Still tastes delicious, worthy of 5 stars without any comparison, so don’t let that diminish your enjoyment of what this actually is - very good indeed.
Cornell & Diehl - Three Friars
Breakfast of Champions
Citrusy bright Virginia ribbon and musky, peppery balls of Perique is aggregated with big chunks of broken flake - what must be Brown Virginia. I don’t taste any of the Burley, only Perique and Virginia. The flake has an almost graham cracker-like twang to it, a lot like Newminster No. 400. No need to fiddle with this blend, just pack and light (I did find an almost entirely intact flake at the bottom of my bag, but still, the larger chunks lend enjoyable variation to each bowl.) The nicotine level is just right, but it can pack a punch after consecutive bowls. Turns out to be a pretty good daily smoke, though. Goes good with a cup of black coffee first thing in the morning - it’s an eye-opener.