G. L. Pease - Gaslight 2oz
The best of the best.
After many years and countless blends, I’ve finally been moved to do the impossible: give a 5-star rating. The tin description, while prosaic, poetic, and intellectually stimulating, doesn’t really do anything to help one prepare for or understand what it contains. Some reviews have said that it is fairly strong and heavy on Latakia, while I have found it to be exceptionally and unusually savory, and very well-balanced. It is deep, dark, and rich with a little spice. The fragrance is stunning. The smoke is voluminous. One thing I’ve never gotten from any other pipe tobacco is a taste and aroma of (get this) charcoal. And I mean distinct, grayed, ashed-over, smokey, ready to grill, Kingsford charcoal. 😂 Yet it wasn’t unpleasant at all. In fact I found it surprisingly nice, but didn’t really know what to make of it as it came and went through the bowls. As meaty as this blend is, I expected a lengthy, creamy pleasant aftertaste, but it didn’t linger long. Like most GLP blends, the nicotine is unfortunately strong. The first time I smoked it, I had to put it down a little more than halfway through the bowl. Subsequent bowls I’ve packed less so it isn’t an issue. For comparison, I find Gaslight to be reminiscent of SPC’s Plum Pudding; equally round and satisfying, but far more intense on every level. It is very well developed and has a maturity about it, unlike the edgy greenness I’ve come to hate from C&D.
Cornell & Diehl - Star of the East Gold 2oz
Most C&D blends taste green or edgy to me, and this is no exception. I smoke it infrequently when I want some spice, and it always delivers. The mild sweetness comes and goes from the red Virginia, but peaks mid-bowl and then hangs out in the background for the remainder. The floral/fragrant aspect is very enjoyable to the palette and the nose. That back-and-forth interplay makes it interesting, but not particularly complex. Maybe it’s just the spice, but I would put this on the high side of medium strength of taste, while don’t get any nicotine at all until the end of a decent side bowl and even then it’s mild to moderate. Despite its intermittent sweetness, it is dry like a wine would be. What it lacks in depth it more than makes up for with distinct flavor. A definite occasional smoke for me, it has a place when I’m looking for what it offers. Not spectacular, but satisfying, and really hits the mark when I want it.
Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding 2oz
Easy. Mild. Creamy. Flavorful. Deep. Interesting enough to hold your attention. No nicotine hit. Especially nice to smoke. Nice aftertaste. This is unique and special. Make sure you get it while you can!
G. L. Pease - Sextant 2oz
Not a fan
This is the first GLP blend I’ve really struggled with. It does have a lovely complex aroma and is satisfying as a smoke, however rather than being an “enchanting interweaving of traditions,” it seems like it can’t decide what it wants to be. It is neither navy flake nor English; neither Virginia blend nor oriental. I am certainly glad I tried it, but I may nave expected too much. Leathery and rich, I don’t think it’s an improvement upon Navigator. As in other GLP creations, the nicotine punch is STRONG from the Burley. I’d recommend a small bowl and slow smoke if you’re sensitive to that. All that said, my two stars may very well be your five.
Cornell & Diehl - Red Virginia Ribbon 2oz
I was ready to not like this based on reviews on another site, but I have been very pleased. I think it will age beautifully however it isn't bad at all now. Upon first light there is some cigarette aroma; very good cigarette aroma, but it's there nonetheless. The aroma in the bag is really nice, the typical hay/grass smell, and it smokes that way as well. I am EXTREMELY sensitive to nicotine, and I did notice it toward the end of the bowl but it wasn't problematic for me like some blends are. It's naturally sweet with a nice developing aroma, but it definitely lacks the depth and nuance I normally associate with Virginias. It's isn't - by any stretch - 5100 nor is it McCraine's Red Ribbon, but it is most decent in its own right. I could easily see cutting a Sutliff aromatic with this, or using it as a nice base for a homemade English blend, mild to stout. I am hopeful that with age it will turn into something special.
Sutliff - Creme Brulee
Shmoke and a pancake?
Have you ever wished that you could smoke a large milkshake? Have you ever desired to fold up a Belgian waffle slathered in vanilla ice cream, topped with aerosol whipped cream, with a large glass of half and half to drink, and stuff it all into your briar? Do you wish you were a milkfish, with sweetened homogenized fortified vitamin D enriched goodness coursing over your gills? Then boy is this blend for your. Oily, sweet, thick but mild, this is the only blend in history worthy of being called a “dessert” tobacco, a term which I swore I would never use. Are you ready to gain weight? Do you have a prescription for metformin? Make sure your glucometer has a fresh battery and your test strips are on order. It’s like they took 1M and B21, combined them, and drenched them in almond nutmeg cinnamon vanilla cookie batter. Halfway through a bowl you will feel as if you’ve eaten an entire bakery. If you want to have your cake and smoke it to, Sutliff Crème Brulee is for you.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening 2oz
This has been terrible. I wanted to like it. I waited and gave it multiple chances. This garbage is dry, hot, and airy. It does have a decent aroma but with zero substance, body, or flavor. I’m going to try to blend it with some other components into something that is actually worthy of being torched in my briar. There are so many excellent aromatics out there, that C&D should be embarrassed by this abortion of an attempt at tobacco blending.
Sutliff - B21 Black Spice
Soft and lovely, solo or blended
I don’t get the promised spice notes, but I do get a soft vanilla or maybe even superbly hidden cherry, with distant spice of some sort. It’s a bit moist but not damp or wet. The aroma is lovely, the taste is nice, the bite is non existent. This is a nice old reliable standby Black cavendish. While fine by itself, I’ve successfully blended it with other components to form some really nice and satisfying aromatics (straight red/gold Virginias, or a dash of Perique or Burly). I suspect it would make an interesting condiment added to a crossover English blend, but it’s sweet softness night take away from the attempt if not sparing enough. EDIT: upon further smoking, I there is definitely some cherry present which I usually don’t like. This is superbly mild and I have to be in the mood for it specifically, and it then fits the bill perfectly! Adding a star.
Sutliff - 1M
One of the best
This blend is actually the reason I started smoking aromatics again. High quality, delicious aroma, and simply a pleasant, satisfying smoke. My local B&M sells it at a premium under their own name. Moisture is just right and the casing is well done. Simple. Light. Reliable.
G. L. Pease - Navigator 2oz
Tears, sweat, or the sea...
As a man who once lived by the sea and spent many hours upon it, the name and marketing of this blend appealed to me. As a former McClelland devotee, it harbors the Virginia darkness and naturally sweet depth that I thought I had lost. The tin note to me is far more citrus than rum, but what they have done here is really quite nice. Now, when you read the reviews advising that you go easy, or perhaps pack a small bowl, you should most definitely heed those warnings. I did not, and nearly paid the price. Halfway through the bowl this becomes nearly divine, but that is also about the point where I needed to convince myself to take a break, but did not, and kept going because it was so lovely. This is a full but not overpowering and very satisfying blend. For me it is not by any means an all day smoke. Highly recommend for lovers of Virginia blends.
Cornell & Diehl - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas 2oz
Holy (saintly?) sweetness
The tin note is putrid and about made me gag. In the pipe, I think I love it as a nice alternative to the heavier, creamy, spicy VA, oriental, and English blends I prefer. I smoke in the garage so room note isn’t really an issue, but I found it to be REALLY sweet while lingering in the air when i return, and for me that’s it’s greatest downfall. The negative reviews this blend gets seems to be from folks who just generally don’t like aromatics. I don’t notice the Perique, nor the ginger. I do however notice light citrus, which is at odds with the olfactory assault when first popping the tin. I tend to be a constant puffer of large, hot-burning bowls, and this one was easy on the tongue. Some have recommend letting it air a bit, I didn’t find that necessary at all. It is not wet at all. I could see keeping this one on the rotation year round, and would definitely recommend it.