Lighters - Zippo Antique Brass Pipe Lighter
Antique Finish Wore Off
Within about 4 months of normal use, the "antique" patina finish on the lighter wore off completely. 2 stars because at least I was still left with a brass zippo.
Three Nuns - Three Nuns 1.75oz
Truly, None Nicer
Elegant, dark, luxurious. If you adore DFK blends, this is your new favorite desert smoke. I like to end on this one because it has a subtle sweetness that is more apparent on the heels of a piquant VaPer or smokey English. It's just a shame it's so expensive. Note: The pictured tin is no longer accurate as the tin has been censored by the government tin art ruiner.
Peterson - Nightcap 50g
The Legend Is Better
This, is a delicious tobacco. Yes, it is strong. On the Latakia scale of Temple Incense to Pure Creosote, this comes in three-quarters of the way to the latter. My only complaint is that it doesn't behave as well as I would like in the bowl. Maybe I just haven't found the right bowl or rhythm yet. If by the time I finish the tin I've figured it out, I'll update this review. Even so, the legend around this blend does it a disservice. It sets its own bar too high for it to overcome. If it weren't for the storied history of this English, it would be perfect and no one would question it.
Hearth & Home - Black House 1.75oz
Olde World flavors abound in Russ Ouellette's magnum opus. The black cavendish does a surprisingly effective job at emulating the effect of time and transformation. A fantastic recreation and a standalone achievement. Note: Sadly, the picture of the tin is no longer accurate, as the government has slapped their tin art ruiner of it as of this writing. Shame, as this is a great looking tin.
G. L. Pease - Sixpence 2oz
As much as I do adore this tobacco, I went in hoping for a bit more of a DFK smack. The Virginia, however, is the star of this blend. I don't find the alcohol topping to be overpowering as some have. Ultimately, delicious and flavorful.
G. L. Pease - Quiet Nights 2oz
The bar has been set so high by G. L. Pease that it can be easy to get lost in how far above the bar these English blends get. This is no exception. Quiet Nights in particular has a unique character to it that is hard to identify. The closest I've come is an aromatic blackberry marmalade. Many consider this to be Greg's magnum opus, no doubt it is stunning. I, however, do prefer the likes of Sparkplug by a nose.
G. L. Pease - Gaslight 2oz
Fortress of Luxury
A heavy, ornate, ostentatiously luxurious smoke. Search through the thick ribbons of voluminous smoke clouds for subtleties hidden throughout.
G. L. Pease - Cumberland 2oz
Strong & Solid
Another epic DFK/PQ/VA from the dark lord himself. I have nothing but good things to say about this. A bit less piquant than Triple Play. Excellent smoke.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Kendal Kentucky
Desert Island DFK
I think I could survive on this one alone. Sure, I'd miss my spicey, gnarly Periques and my smokey, fragrant Latakias, but I'd miss this one more if I didn't have it. I don't even mind that it is a shag cut. The tin note is amazing--like a warlock's potpourri. As someone who is not a heavy Burley smoker, DFK is my main course every evening. As advertised, it does make a perfect foundation for a blend and stands well on it's own. If you enjoy Mac Baren HH ODFK you will enjoy this, possibly even more. Stop reading reviews and smoke this.
Cornell & Diehl - Star of the East
Excellent Bulk Option
This is a very nicely balanced option to stock up on. For me, this is how I expand the lifespan of my top-shelf tins. I try to keep plenty of this on hand. I do not find the 50% Latakia to be overwhelming in the mix. Additionally, while I do love an English with Burley and Perique, the purity and clarity of flavor that these components lend is lovely. There are notes of sweet spices hidden throughout the smoke from first char to last puff.
Cornell & Diehl - Pirate Kake 2oz
Nearly Pure Latakia, Lacks Depth
Look. I like this tobacco. A lot. But it is a flawed treasure. The Latakia is delicious, thick, and creamy. It has a similar effect of a good Sichuan pepper, a bit of a tingling sensation on the palate. While it does lack depth, the appeal of the heavy lat is enough for lat heads. It's like coffee---I adore a perfectly balanced cup of single origin SL24 varietal Kenyan, but at a certain point, it's about the transaction. I want caffeine and sometimes just need it. This tobacco is much the same. At certain point, I just want a bludgeoning of Latakia.
Capstan - Ready Rubbed Blue 1.75oz
Clean & Delicious
This is the VA that finally made me understand why so many smokers love a straight VA. Now, even when I go back to inferior VAs, I can appreciate them more because of this tobacco. Grassy, sweet, floral and fruity.
War Horse - Bar 1.75oz
A (fancy) Stallion
I was not expecting the tin note of cherry (and possibly, amaretto?) to be as strong as it was. I was afraid I'd accidentally bought an aromatic. Nevertheless, I proceeded, because Russ Ouellette has earned my trust forever with BlackHouse. The good news is that while it does still smoke sweet, it's not as sweet as I was afraid it would be. The plug was very neat, and strangely, was pressed what I would consider sideways. Thusly, unless you can sturdily cut a 1/2" wide 1/16" thick 3" tall slice with the plug standing up, you'll end up cutting it like I did with it laying down, resulting in very short ribbons. Next time I'll start cutting diagonally. Additionally, I would consider this a 3/5 for strength, but maybe it is just taking more to floor me these days. I do recommend this right after the smokiest, latakia-est English you can find as a nice dessert smoke. Note: The pictured tin is no longer accurate as the tin art has been ruined by the government's nic warning.
Sutliff - Revelation Match
Tastes mostly of propylene glycol, but it's not the worst thing I've ever smoked.
Peter Stokkebye - PS41 Cube Cut
Nothing to extravagant as far as fragrance or taste go, but this is the best cube cut Burley I have encountered. The cubes are especially neat and clean. Smokes cool with nutty flavors.
Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky 1.75oz
Could have been a tin of steak sauce, upon first smell. There can be no doubt that this is of the highest quality leaf. I like it, I am still not sure how much though. Regardless, it deserves at least a 4.5 for being a high quality standard for what it is. No doubt I'll return to this review sometime in the future to update once I've finished the epic journey that this tin is.
Cornell & Diehl - Super Balkan
A lovely smoke. Not as strong as advertised, maybe a 4/5 in reality. Still, this is one of the best I have found for those who would like to smoke Nightcap or Gaslight constantly but need something in bulk to stock the pantry.
Cornell & Diehl - Haunted Bookshop
If you like classic burley blends that are strong and nutty, you will like this. If you don't, move along.
Captain Earle's - Ten Russians 2oz
Do you like Latakia heavy English? This is the best one. One step further and there's no point in blending, just smoke straight Latakia if this isn't enough. I went in with a blank slate of expectations and was rewarded generously.
Presbyterian - Presbyterian 50g
A Must Have Token in Your Journey
Somewhere along every pipe smoker's journey, they must stop at the altar of Presby and experience the standard that it is. It is lighter on the Latakia than many other English blends. Bonus: Just a great looking tin.
Peterson - Irish Flake 50g
Upon first opening this tin, I thought they'd shipped me a tin of blackberry fruit leather, as it had the same color, smell and appearance. Strong, but not as strong as the "it's recommended for the experienced pipe smoker" warning would suggest. It comes a touch on the damp side, which I prefer so I can control the extent to which the tobacco is dried.
Newminster - No.400 Superior Navy Flake
Great Bulk Virginia
It smokes nicely and it's not expensive. It won't blow your socks off, but it also won't leave you broke.
G. L. Pease - Triple Play 2oz
Gateway to The Ancestors
Moist earth, mushrooms, spicy herbs, fermented vegetables, smokey mountain mornings, all of these aromas you will encounter in this plug. A vigorous insufflation of this wizard's incense into your nasal cavity will transport you back to the tent of the ancestors, bewildered by this magical leaf.
G. L. Pease - Spark Plug 2oz
Olde World Perfection
One of my favorite English blends. When opening this tin, it is impossible not to smash the plug up against your snout and inhale as vehemently as possible. It is add to read such a smokey blend described as "creamy", and yet, it most certainly is creamy. There is an unmistakable note of, and bear with me now, strawberries and cream--albeit, strawberries and cream in the front seat of an Austin Healey that's been in garage fire. If you adore English blends or are still getting acquainted, this is the standard.
G. L. Pease - JackKnife Plug 2oz
Yes & Amen
Cannot get enough of this. This is the plug for you if you appreciate ritualistic preparation and heavy Dark Fired Kentucky. There's an entire world of aromas to discover in this tin.
Sutliff - Ready Rubbed Match
A Solid 'Meh'
The good: lovely notes of toasted bread and barley. Smokes cool. Packs easy. The bad: I'd hardly call it a cube cut. Closer to pencil sharpener shavings. Maybe what I received was just the bottom of the bag. Either way, I'll take PS41 over this.
Peter Stokkebye - PS201 Black Cavendish
Fine for what it is
It's great black cavendish. Nothing special, just an excellent example of what BC should be. I use it mostly for blending.
Newminster - No.403 Superior Round Slices
Thought It Was The One
I was briefly infatuated with this tobacco. Our relationship was beautiful and pure. I couldn't understand the reviews that gave it anything less than 5 stars. Then one day, I finally tasted the flaw that others had warned of. She starts out majestically, brilliantly, but then... about halfway through, it sours... bad. A chemical taste takes over. My solution for the remaining ounces of this that I have: Just smoke the first half and dump the rest. Too bad. For those that say it is similar to Three Nuns (pretending for a moment that my first complaint was not a problem): I think the same thing until I smoke Three Nuns again and realize that there really is "None Nicer". Still, 3 stars for the majestic first half. Also, it burns hot as hades.
Cornell & Diehl - Old Joe Krantz
This is Burley heavy blended indeed. I appreciate the spiciness of the Perique, but it just misses the mark for me. I personally prefer Haunted Bookshop. Still giving a 3.5 because this is by no means a bad tobacco, just not my thing and I think is a little out of balance.
Cornell & Diehl - Dreams of Kadath 2oz
Give It Time
The tin note is plum, fruitcake, rum, & raisin. With time this yields a delicious deluge of juicy, dark flavors. Wish it came in 8oz tins.
Cornell & Diehl - Derringer
Solid Straight VA
Derringer is a good option for blending and aging in your cellar. It does smoke on the hot side so an undisciplined smoker will come away with a desiccated palate.
Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired Ready Rubbed
Desert Island Tobacco
This is the gateway to Dark Fired Kentucky nirvana. I've described it as a chunk of charred mesquite wood candied in sorghum and grated over a salad of barbecue tips and waffles. It comes a little on the wet side, so it does benefit from drying for an hour or so before smoking. Additionally, works great as a blender to bolster your favorite VaPer. Give it some time and smoke after a medium English blend to truly appreciate. It isn't my favorite, and yet it is one that would take as a desert island tobacco.