Germain - Eighteen Twenty 50g
One of the best Balkans around
This is another Germain masterpiece. Oriental forward in tin note and taste. The tin note is spicybOriental and Latakia. With a Germain like sweetness that I have a hard time defining. Others have compared this to Skiff Mixture, and I agree but i would say a cross between Skiff and Squadron Leader. Woody and spicy Orientals and Latakia. Sweet and grassy Virginia's boarder on. When I say a cross between the two, I mean in a Germain kind of way. Germain Tobacco's all have something about them that makes them very unique. Balkan flavor but not wuite malty. Very unique. burns cool and dry. Great smoke
Cornell & Diehl - Three Friars 2oz
I know the name is a play off of Three Nuns, but I can see no resemblance to the new and have never tried the old...but for whatever reason this reminds me more of Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture than anything else (even with a healthy dose of Burley in it). This is a nice VA/Bur with just a hint of perique (all my palate can pick up). A faint sweetness from the Virginia's provides a nice backdrop for the earthy and grassy flavors from the VA's and the woody and slightly nutty (think Brazil nuts). After the half way point there are some toasty notes and I get a unique spicy favor, like a hint of white pepper and all spice. The perique is more of a feeling than a flavor in this blend for me, but I am sure it accounts for the peppery favors toward the 2nd half. Very nice, simple smoke that goes well with morning coffee.
Cornell & Diehl - Engine #99 2oz
Red Virginia lovers take note.
This tobacco is something you cannot appreciate until you appreciate Red Virginia's. This English takes in the earthy, mellow and spice character of the Red VA and plays it off of the other varietals of leaf masterfully. The Orientals and Latakia are the stars of the tin note. Sour, smokey are the two that hit you first, the sweetness of the VA and some dark fruit is also in there but way in the distance The smoke is really interesting. My first pass on this was Latakia and classic English. Not a Balkan, I think the Perique is what kills the malty flavor I love in Balkans, but that does not mean that it kills this blend as a leader in this genre. The lead flavors come from the Red VA and the Latakia, to my palate they are in a dead heat. The Latakia is smokey and sweet and it plays wonderfully with the Red VA. The earthiness and the smokey sweetness are prominent from first light to the end of the smoke. The Perique provides a white pepper spiciness that work well with the Turkish/Orientals that are woody and a bit buttery (I think that is from the interplay of VA and Oriental). There is Burley in here but I cannot call it out as a "flavor" in this blend. I think in all great blends that you are not supposed to be able to call out each leaf, we only try to show off in our reviews, the Burley is a complement to all of the other leaves in this blend. I really like what C&D did here, I can't say it is a favorite but it is an amazingly good blend and each time I go back to it I am surprised all over again at how good it is. A must try.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening 16oz
his is the poster child for a solid aromatic. Cool smoking subtle flavors of maple syrup and vanilla bean and the clean Virginia's coming through. Tobacco and casing in a perfect marriage. The maple flavor is front and center with a grassy nutty Virginia in the background. I read pancakes a few times in reviews but I'd say french toast (mom always added vanilla extract to the french toast in my house). Room note is fantastic, like IHOP at 2 in the morning on a Friday night. If I had to have one aromatic, this might be it.
Cornell & Diehl - Golden Days of Yore 2oz
An aromatic for non aromatic smokers
C&D aromatics, well at least the few I have tried have an interesting way of adding casings and toppings that do not totally overtake the tobacco flavor. This is an interesting one. Just looking at the tobacco's used you know this isn't your common aromatic. Top notch leaves that would smoke well with out flavoring combined with light topping and no PG. The lack of PG is probably the best part of GDOY, Autumn Evening and Corn Cob Pipe and Button Nose. They smoke dry and don't bite. I get mostly Red VA earthiness with some dry woody notes from the Orientals. The DFK is barely noticeable but does provide an almost cigar like note. The black cavendish both amplifies the flavor of the individual leaves and carries the flavorings. The Rum and spices are definitely ever present but very lightly applied in a way that compliment the natural tobacco flavors. I love the room note and , it is a pretty tobacco forward aromatic. Good Stuff
Seattle Pipe Club - Mississippi River Rum Barrel Aged 2oz
English with Rum, not a traditional Aromatic
Man is this good!! Funny thing is I wasn't a huge fan of Mississippi River originally. It got much better with age, but for my taste, it was still a mid range English. Add this to a rum barrel and something special happens. I know this is categorized as an aromatic but I am not sure I would put it there given today's common definition of an aromatic. First the rum. The rum is very evident in the tin note, it is almost all I can detect. I get a sour note from the Perique and Oriental, I assume. The flavor is fantastic. I get a nicely balanced English, rich in flavor no one tobacco seems to run the show. Creaminess from the Latakia and Orientals, sweetness from the Virginia base and a hint of pepper from the Perique. The Perique is really not easy to detect to my taste but there is hint of pepper like spice on the finish that I assume is the Perique, the figgy flavor may be blended so well with the Virginia's that you cannot tease it out, but as far as I am concerned the hallmark of a great blend is the marriage of the flavors and this delivers in that department unlike most blends. The rum must add some sweetness and flavor but it is so well sublimated into the other flavors all it does is make the constituent tobacco's taste better... which BTW is what added flavors were originally intended to do, not taste like smoking a lollipop. Fantastic blend, probably a great intro for smokers that haven't dove into the English genre yet. Looking forward to the bourbon barrel aged version of Plum Pudding but I am afraid the bar may be set to high (I am also afraid it will screw up the flavor like bourbon barrels do to beer, IMO).
Cornell & Diehl - Bijou 2oz
Top 3 Oriental's Still Available for Purchase
Bravo Cornell & Diehl! I have had wild ride with my taste in pipe tobacco and I am sure it will continue. Why pipe smoking isn't like my food journey ( I can eat the same thing and there have been almost zero variance in taste over my lifetime...other than whiskey). I have been a lat bomb guy to a straight VA guy and back again. I do enjoy an occasional aromatic, but that has not changed much, never were my favorite and almost turned me off to the pipe for good. I have been trying to find replacement for McClelland Orientals (yes Orientals as well as VA's). This is is one that meets the grade. L.J. Peretti has done a nice job here as well. I find good Orientals, to my taste, are difficult to define in a review but I will give it a shot. I prefer Oriental's that lead with a flavor that I can best define as British Breakfast tea with milk and sugar. The Virginia's are slightly sweet and bready, the grassier notes mixing with the "spice" of the Turkish/Oriental. The sour, often attributed with Turkish/Orientals, either way in the background or that work with the other tobacco's well enough to not come with a bite. Bijou does this all and then some. There are times that the toasted bread from the VA's take an edge over the creaminess. I am not sure if tea is a spice but this is the type of spice the Katerini brings to the blend. Subtle, complex and just delicious. If you are looking for something with in your face flavor, this probably isn't it. But if you like the nuances and complex, subtle flavors that Orientals/Turkish this is probably in the top 3 Oriental blends still in production (I would also recommend Peretti Oriental #40). This will be even better with age as all VA's and Orientals are.