Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding Special Reserve 4oz
Best Pipe Tobacco
I have come to realize this blend could drastically reduce my rotation. It just hits every button. The transitions in this tobacco satisfies every mood. First it's sweet and sour...the Oriental comes out early. Not long after, the Latakia starts showing up from time to time. As it moves on, you get more pepper, and that different kind of sour that comes from Perique. No bite but your tongue tingles....not sure if it's the VA or the Perique. This is also a blend that has surprises....sometimes wood, sometimes leather. Even sweet shows up again later in the bowl...sometimes. Never get bitter, bland or ashy, smokes to the bottom, no gurgling. Easy to prepare , mostly easy to pack. It doesn't lend itself to turning into dust when rubbing it out like "regular" Plum Pudding (there's a statement you don't think you'll ever hear). The extra nicotine is satisfying but not overwhelming; it's a full flavor but still somehow easy on the pallet, no bite, burns cool, requires few re-lights, burns for a couple hours if you sip it. And, to top all that off, my wife loves the room note and doesn't complain at all about smoking it in the house. Smells like sweet cedar. She like it so much, she wanted to taste it herself. I have started wondering if it is actually possible to drastically reduce my rotation as a result of this blend. It doesn't satisfy an urge for a good strong Burley or a pure sweet VA or VA/Per. But with PPSR, I might actually be able to take my rotation down from 36 to less than 10...that's how good this blend is. It's good in the morning, good at night, just good all the time, fits every occasion, every season, and almost any urge for a particular type of tobacco. Frankly, I'm not sure I couldn't get by with JUST THIS ONE blend and be happy the rest of my life.
Cornell & Diehl - Granby Station
I'm not much of an aromatic smoker but this is one of the few I really like. It's not a goopy concoction like so many aros. I really like english aromatics, but this is one of the very few full aromatics I really enjoy. No bite, no cloying, excellent taste. I puff it a bit excessively, but the blend really resists burning hot. If you don't like aromatics but you still wish you could find one or two you could smoke, you should really give this one a try. Dry it out about 30 minutes and throw it in a cob. You might be surprised
Mac Baren - Plumcake 3.5oz
Moving out of rotation
I just decided tonight to move this out of my regular rotation. I really, really like the taste, but it just bites too often. I let mine dry about 40 minutes. It bites hard if you don't dry it, but it goes flat if you dry it too much. So before you even get it in the bowl it's being fussy. I settled on a "modified" frank method to pack the bowl, but I think you could fairly say it's more of a "two step" packing method than anything. So, packing the bowl adds another layer of special treatment. It lights easy, but you better watch it or you'll have a forest fire going in your bowl. It burns hot even if you sip. Seems like to keep it from getting too hot, you can't quite get enough smoke. To get the smoke you really want, you kind of have to smoke it just a bit hot, and that starts inviting the bite. I have smoked bowls of this with no bite, but it's just so darn fussy. Reminds me of that beautiful girlfriend in college; so pretty and sweet you work very hard to keep her, but just too demanding and fussy for it to work out in the long run. I still have quite a bit so I intend to cellar it; this blend if one I see come up from time to time as an excellent smoke after some age. But as far as keeping it in my regular rotation, well that is ending tonight. My mouth isn't exactly on fire but my normal puffing cadence just doesn't match well with this blend, and that really is too bad because it tastes so good.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening
I let this dry about an hour, then loaded up a hefty quantity in a bent country gentleman cob. Even after drying, it wants to bite a bit but the main problem is the excellent flavor makes me puff it a bit hot. If you can keep it under control and prepare it right, you can avoid the downsides to this blend and have the perfect autumn aromatic smoke
Mac Baren - HH Bold Kentucky 16oz
One of the BEST
You hear warnings about super-powerful pipe tobacco, but if you are transitioning from cigarettes or some other form of tobacco, this is one of those that you might need. The nicotine kick is satisfying enough to get you through a craving. Even better, the taste is just INCREDIBLE. It is strong, but still just sweet enough. I really prefer Balkans and Va/Pers, but if you need the nicotine you pretty much have to go with Burleys. There are a few good Burleys out there, but if you really want good flavor AND a satisfying nicotine hit to keep you away from bad habits, you should really give this one a try.
F & K - Black Bayou Mist
Not Enough Anything
I was looking forward to this one, but it just didn't quite work out for me. It had a bit of a taste of a burning stick to it....and not necessarily a hickory or oak taste. Just plain stick. A little extra "more" of something might have made the difference for me. The Dark Fired is there....but not enough to get excited about. The Latakia is there....but same story. The Perique is barely there. There just wasn't enough of anything, and it made me want more of something. But, I definitely know the Virginia is there from the minor case of tongue bite I got. Probably my fault, trying too hard to get a more decisive flavor. It's really not a BAD smoke. It is actually unique. But, it's just not for me.