G. L. Pease - Laurel Heights 2oz
This is a really good blend that focuses on the darker unstoved Virginia tobaccos. I really didn't notice the latakia until I realized it was applied so lightly it was giving a wine like taste to the smoke more than a smoky flavor. Not quite like Syrian but close. Even then it was dancing around in the background but it gives an amazing depth to the flavors. This is truly a condiment use of latakia that I can tolerate in my Virginia's. Not an every day all day but I'll definitely order again. I've smoked it aged and fresh and it's good both ways.
Murray's - 1921 Cunningham 1.75oz
OK at best
This has a really nice flavor until about mid bowl where it goes flat. There is a rawness to it that gives a bit of tongue bite. It's not horrible just not something I'm into. If the flavor stayed good through the bowl and it didn't bite when smoked slowly it could have possibly been a repeat purchase. All in all its not an enjoyable experience for me.
Savinelli - Doblone d'Oro 100g
Good Idea Poorly Executed
This is a very inconsistent tobacco. The messy presentation is one thing but some of the coins will smoke nicely with only a hint of bite, some of them bite so hard I can't even get the pipe 1/4 done. I've been smoking well over 20 years and I know a good bit about tobacco and how to smoke it. This just has the dreaded Macbaren bite that I only find in their regular line of products. The HH line I've never had this issue with. This bites me just like dark twist does, and some bowls it's really bad no matter the moisture content. I fell for all the glowing reviews but I was worried it would turn out this way. If you're an experienced smoker and have had issues with bite in many of Macbaren's standard line of products you will probably run into the same thing here. It tasted really good but the bite I cannot get past.
Esoterica - Dorchester 8oz
This is one of the better things I have tried over the years. Of course I had to obtain it elsewhere as I've never even gotten a notification despite years of waiting. The tobacco has a malty tin note and flavor that really reminds me of Russ Oulette's R.O. series acadian gold. Of course the esoterica has a lot more different types of leaf blended in this blend but it does have a striking resemblance that make me think I have an idea as to how Germain might ferment their va's. I don't think the blend is flavored but I pick up a light hint of licorice or anise. If you can get any it's worth a try.
McConnell - Scottish Flake 50g
One of the best
I really enjoy this a lot. It has a lot of good red Va flavor that is nicely complimented by the burley and perique. Stays lit really well and smokes and tastes great in a wide assortment of pipes. Not overly complex but there is enough going on to keep me interested and coming back for more. It burns on the slower side of things and I normally smoke it in a smaller pot or straight apple. This is the best offering I have found from this blender, followed up by folded flake.
McConnell - Scottish Cake 50g
Not for me
I love Vapers and those that contain burley as well. This tobacco violates my palate and leaves my mouth feeling like I have eaten a whole raw pineapple for some reason. I am pretty sure it has some kind of nasty topping on it, it reminds me of battery acid for some reason. I gave it to a friend who says he likes it ok if he smokes it mega slow but I'd try at least one tin before you buy too much like I did. Just because it is similar to other tobaccos I really enjoy in it's basic components does not mean it is either blended well or a good smoke.
McConnell - Maduro 50g
They probably meant well
This tobacco is beautiful in the tin and has a wonderful tin note. It even starts off tasting a little like molasses and a hint of dark rum. The problem with it is the little bit of flavor that is present initially quickly dissipates and then it's like smoking air. I have a lot of experience (over 20 years) and even this tobacco tempted me to puff just a little more to try and get some flavor out of it. Well that was a huge mistake because it will lay down a wicked bite if you even try to to get it going good. Not a good tobacco at all. I would not recommend it to anyone especially a beginner. A complete waste of money. I'm going to give the rest of it away and sell the second tin I have. I hate scottish cake too, I love their scottish flake and folded flake is good too just seems like it's either a bit hit or a huge miss with McConnell.
Mac Baren - HH Burley Flake 1.75oz
One of the best
This is one of the best burley flakes I have tried. It is earthy, has an underlying natural hint of spice and smokes smooth. There isn't really much dark fired taste in this one. Very true to the natural burley experience but refined at the same time. This has more of the darker flavors of the burley spectrum and it's great. I really enjoy this and will certainly be ordering more. It's a different burley flavor that feels right at home.
Cornell & Diehl - Red Carpet 2oz
This is pretty good and a little different than most other c&d vapers I've tried. The red va really brings a richness to the smoke. It's a good medium strength but I can still feel it. I feel it has a really good aging potential so I'll probably put a couple tins in the cellar. Flakes were broken up a bit when I got it but I planned to rub it out as I smoke it anyway so that's not a big deal to me. Worth a try if you don't mind a little pepper in your va.
McConnell - Folded Flake 50g
It took a few bowls to get used to it but this is a good blended flake. It's mostly a vaper but there is a hint of dark fired in there and I mean just a hint. The main flavors are darker aged virginia and a spicy fig raisin perique. There is complexity and the flavors weave in and out as the bowl goes. I like it rubbed out and well dried.
Capstan - Flake Yellow 1.75oz
One of the best
This is really high quality leaf done right. It's a little brighter than the blue in flavor and doesn't really have the malty note. It does have a mild natural lemongrass note and a delicious natural virginia sweetness. Very pure and clean tasting to the last draw at the end of the bowl. It's a little lighter than the blue but its still a very rich smoke indeed.
Planta - Full English
I'm reviewing the original Syrian version and it is wonderful. One of the best full blends I've found with Syrian latakia. The Java leaf gives it a nice kick and it's just a great fall blend for me. The newer reformulated recipe with Cyprian I haven't tried yet and doubt I will anytime soon as I bought enough to last a long, long time of the original for future enjoyment.
McConnell - Special London Fine Cut 50g
I like shag cuts in addition to flakes I smoke and this is a real winner. Spicy and clean tasting. There is a rich flavor that comes out in the latter part of the bowl. This probably isn't for everyone but this is a great tobacco. I bought another tin for the cellar, I think some age will make it even better.
Daughters & Ryan - Ryback 3.5oz
This is not good at all in a pipe. I'm done with d&r for good. If you're looking for a blend that makes smoke but has absolutely no flavor this could be the one.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Best Brown #2
This is pretty good but not something I'll smoke very often. Has a decent sweet and sour flavor going on but not my favorite blend from this company. I give it a good rating because it's a quality blend just not exactly what I'm looking for.
Daughters & Ryan - Three Sails 3.5oz
OK at best
For a budget tobacco it wasn't the worst but it's not worth the time in my opinion. I found it to not have a very pure flavor. I picked up hints of metallic tastes I really didn't care for and I'm a regular shag smoker so I know how to work with them. The flavor I did get wasn't really anything special. Just not worth it to me.
Daughters & Ryan - AB Rimboche' 3.5oz
OK at best
Nothing to get excited about. OK quality but life is too short to waste time on boring tobacco. I don't really recommend this, if you're looking to save money there's a lot better out there in bulk for close to the same price. Not worth the trouble and I won't buy this again. The base of the blend was bland and provides a similar puckered mouth feel to eating the part you want to avoid out of a walnut. The condiment tobacco is used so sparingly it's barely detectable. To have it listed as a 4 dot on flavor is misleading, I'd say it's on the weak side of light medium.
Peter Stokkebye - PS312 Toasted Burley
I can taste the toasted flavor and it's great, starts off kind of just plain tasting but builds a natural sweetness as the bowl progresses. Mostly rubbed out broken flake presentation which is very nice but I chose to rub it out a little more. It would be perfect for an outdoor fall day as is I think though. Fairly straightforward and simple, but very enjoyable for a smoke during the part of the day I'm active and can't sit and contemplate a more complex blend. If I had to smoke this for a while and be stranded from my main tobacco stash I think I'd get by. It's pretty good. I'm normally more of a dark fired smoker when it comes to my burley but this is something I wish I'd tried sooner. I like it a lot better than their luxury navy flake. I'll probably be reordering this one, I really like the unique burley experience this offers.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Bird's Eye
Excellent Everyday Smoke
Very enjoyable for a quick smoke on the way to work or in between chores. I call this my grab and go. Strong but not too strong, I had to give up coffee due to caffeine intolerance (even decaf) and this has made an excellent way to start my days. Nice dark fired presence but not overbearing it goes nicely with the natural sweetness of the Va tobaccos used. I smoke at least one bowl of this almost every day.
War Horse - Bar 1.75oz
It was ok
Not nearly as strong as advertised. I was let down as I was expecting a nice nic hit and a punch of full flavor. The tin note is of Cherry and Anise, actually kind of pleasant smelling. Nothing really stands out in the smoking and I lost interest quickly. I shared the rest of the tin with a good friend who was pretty much down to his last bowl of tobacco (I know, that's a scary thought) and he seemed to think it was decent also. Looks like a plug but it crumbles like a cake, looks like they pressed it with a hydraulic press, I've never had any packed this tightly. It was kind of on the dry side, almost ready to smoke straight out of the tin, which I'll give it a good mark for not being too moist. I just wasn't really too impressed with the overall smoking experience. If I was in a pinch out working somewhere and hadn't had a bowl all day I'd certainly smoke this, I just won't be buying it again.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Kendal Dark
Excellent And Pure
This is really good dark fired forward blend where you can really taste the quality leaf used. The Virginia mostly stays in the background nicely but it pops up to the front a little more here and there throughout the bowl and is detectable pretty much whole bowl. Good and smooth any time of the day or night. It has a hint of an old house smell to it in the pouch aroma kind of like Planta Mild English but I detect it as really well aged tobacco in the smoking. The pouch note is not a huge selling point that's going to win a lot of people over in my opinion but I recommend looking past that. No Lakeland essence detected. I really enjoy the shag cut a lot. It's perfect for a quicker smoke on a local trip or when you've only got a few minutes but it goes well in a deeper pipe too for a little longer smoke if you'd like. Has some nicotine too. No issues with it burning hot at a reasonable pace and plenty of volume of tasty smoke. I let it dry out really good and pack moderately but not overly tight. Stays lit well too. I like the Dark Bird's Eye too and this is a good tobacco to have in rotation with it. Very clean tasting with no hint of bite or bitterness. My only regret is that I only bought 1 oz to try, It's going to go fast. Certainly worth ordering again. Highly recommended if you enjoy dark fired and shag cut that's really meant for the pipe.
Cornell & Diehl - Exclusive
This is a really strong nic hit and the perique is really peppery and in your face but if you like it that way you can't go wrong with this.
Cornell & Diehl - Engine #382
Not My Favorite
This wasn't bad I just am not crazy about it. The deertongue gives it a interesting twist but I will probably give away the rest of my sample purchase. it's just not for me.
Cornell & Diehl - Byzantium
Very good and I really enjoy the strong perique presence. There is a good amount of quality latakia and orientals in this too. Not my everyday blend but I like it in the fall and early winter a lot.
Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd
Very Good And Strong
Great blend. Really full English and I love the kick from the cigar leaf. Not an everyday blend for me but it's good enough to repeat.
Cornell & Diehl - Bayou Morning
Solid Vaper but not my favorite from C&D
Cornell & Diehl - Poplar Camp
Good and Spicy
Solid quality Vaper that ages into something amazing. The hint of unflavored cavendish pops up here and there to keep things interesting.
Capstan - Flake Blue 1.75oz
Excellent And Pure
One of the best Va flakes I've come across. A little malty and a little hint of sweet and a clean pure Va taste that stays true to the last draw on the pipe. A little pricey but it's been a great smoke every time I've lit it up and hasn't let me down yet. I like to rub it out and let it dry out good first. I like it the best out of a small narrow pipe, but it's smoked great in everything tried it in so far. Stays lit really nice too. The tin note really comes through in the smoking and I love that about it. I will buy more and keep it in my rotation. The Yellow tin is fantastic also but has it's own personality, You can't go wrong with either but I think this one is my favorite of the two. This is the kind of blend a truly experienced piper can appreciate over and over and a newer smoker can pick up and enjoy without a lot of fuss.
Seattle Pipe Club - Mississippi River 2oz
I found this to be flavorless and boring. It was a tiny bit better than plum pudding but the same messy presentation and mediocre type of quality leaf. Not on par with other tobacco in this price range.
Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding 2oz
I have been smoking pipes for over 20 years and I enjoy many Balkan blends. This is something else entirely, I don't really get any flavor out of it no matter if I smoke it moist or dry or out of a dozen different pipes. Nothing really stands out and it seems mild and weak overall. The Tobaccos don't have much kick and they really seem bland and cancel each other out rather than complement each other. The tin was a mess of crumbs and slices about a quarter inch thick and not really high quality looking leaf either. I'm not really impressed at all. Nobody in my pipe club seemed interested in it either at the last meeting I took it to.
Tsuge - "Ryujin" God of Dragon 50g
This is really good and it's big on flavor. I really wasn't aware of this blend and I was gifted it in a raffle at my pipe club's Christmas party. It turned out to be really nice. The Flavor is more like a 4 dot for me and the strength is more like a 3 dot. It's plenty full on flavor and lots of rich smoke but not as much nicotine as I expected from the tin description. It does creep up a little bit, like a time delay and is more relaxing than anything, not the usual nic feeling for me but it is noticeable for sure. The main flavors are smoky and a little sweet and a very nice hint of spice that really stays consistent through the bowl. The acadian black and latakia team up and contrast the virginia which is secondary and more in the background in the flavor. It is some extremely high quality leaf that does not bite and burns and tastes clean all the way to the finish. Some puffs the latakia is the main player and others the acadian black always with hints of the virginia in the background. Full enough for after dinner but not too powerful to enjoy during the day. It won't become an everyday or all day for me but I will probably buy another few tins to age and smoke on slowly here and there, I think the flavor is very unique from the acadian black and it's a blend I will return to again and again. It's extremely well done and expertly blended to a very nice balance. Many blends want to go big like this one does and very few do it well, yet even fewer create a whole new kind of flavor that feels right at home.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - B. J. Long Regular Pipe Cleaners (100 pack)
These used to be good now they are the worst
I have used these for over 10 years and sometimes the quality could vary but lately they have been different and the quality is horrible. They shed so much fluff it's beyond ridiculous. I'm really disappointed with these and the Brigham brand. I will be looking for something that doesn't make so much lint in my pipes.
Cornell & Diehl - Old Joe Krantz Red Label
Not That Great
I really didn't get much flavor from this but it's still got body to the smoke. It's like the components work against each other in this ratio. It has been kind of hard on my tongue also even though I've been careful with it. I don't even want to smoke up the sample I bought. It does burn nicely and stay lit. There's just not a good balance in this blend for my tastes.
Cornell & Diehl - Constellation
This is very heavy in latakia but also has a velvety smooth balanced quality and flavor to the smoke. All the components work well in the blend. I get the smooth rich latakia upfront when I draw on the pipe and taste the other tobaccos which each take turns and many times share in different wonderful combinations the secondary spot in the flavor profile when it rolls off my tongue. The flavor reminds me a little of a marshmallow that has been well burnt over a campfire at times, without the sweetness of course and espresso and cream or maybe really dark chocolate at times. I enjoyed my first 2 oz enough to order more. I will probably be keeping this around it's one of the better english blends I've come across out of many I've tried. The nicotine level is not too overly powerful, but strong enough to be satisfying. One thing I like about this blend is it's good in the morning and still full enough for the last smoke of the day or after a good meal, it's really good about anytime for me, especially when it's cool outside. It smokes really consistent from one bowl to the next and I always get a satisfying smoke.
Cornell & Diehl - Yorktown
Bold and Flavorful
I think this is a pretty good blend that has a good straight forward Va flavor with a bit of complexity. Interesting enough I'll smoke on it for a while and update my review if it grows on me even more. The flavors are full enough to keep me wanting more.
Cornell & Diehl - Virginia Gentleman
Not That Interesting
Not bad just not really very interesting. Glad I didn't order more than 2 oz to try. I ended up giving it to a friend and he seems to enjoy it.
Cornell & Diehl - Red Virginia Cavendish
I had been wondering what the base tobacco in Kajun Kake would taste like on it's own without the perique and I'm pretty sure this is it. Nice and mellow but still pretty full on flavor. I'll smoke this in my rotation but I don't think it's a great all day smoke for me. Maybe I'll smoke it more often after it ages and smooths out a little more.
Cornell & Diehl - Star of the East Gold 2oz
Good and Spicy
This is a great English that makes the spicy orientals the star of the show. I don't really find it sweet so I disagree with that part of the description. Not much latakia but enough to detect it. Can be a little nippy if rushed but it's a pretty tame smoke for the most part. I will probably try aging some as I expect it will mellow out and be even better.
A & C Petersen - Escudo Navy Deluxe 50g
First pipe of the day
This is most excellent. It is something I really enjoy early in the day before I get into wanting something stronger. The flavor has a perfect balance between the Va and perique they work together so well. I find it light in flavor during the first few minutes but it becomes more of a medium as the bowl starts to progress and very low in nicotine. I don't normally eat breakfast and this is fine on an empty stomach. Between how great it tastes and smokes it is the breakfast of champions for me. I find it does the best in a smaller pipe. I get so much flavor out of this and I don't get the pepper from the perique like I get in many vapers, just pure goodness that hints more of figs and citrus. Only thing that could be better if the volume of smoke was a little more but it's still one of the tastiest vapers out there. I like how the flavors are there in perfect harmony but there are layers of subtle flavors that seem to hit you in every puff once it gets going good. There's not enough strength or fullness of flavor to satisfy me in the evening or especially after a meal, But that's exactly why it's so perfect for my mornings when some other blends would be too strong.
Cornell & Diehl - Red Odessa
This is a great tasting blend. It's full in flavor but has a moderate to lighter amount of nicotine so it makes a great all day smoke. The latakia is not too heavy in this one but does come through in the smoking nicely. The red va gives this one a little more character and complexity, it supports the spicy orientals in a nice way. They used good orientals that come through with spice and wood flavors. I bought two ounces to try and I like it enough I'll probably get a pound next time. If you like nightcap this makes an excellent counter point for daytime smokes. One of the better English blends I've tried and better than several tinned blends I've smoked. It's just one of those blends that achieves a near perfect balance and presents layers of bold flavor in the smoking.
Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian 16oz
A personal favorite
My only regret with this tobacco was waiting so long to try it. The tobaccos used complement each other perfectly. One of the very few latakia blends I can enjoy in the summer. The tin aroma is really nice. The Syrian latakia is very tasty with a winelike smoky flavor that has just a hint of herbal and floral incense like note. I like to let it dry out before smoking to really get the best flavor. I have quite a few pounds of this in my cellar for future enjoyment. My favorite Balkan style blend
Mac Baren - Dark Twist 100g
More trouble than it's worth for me
It would be a great tobacco if it didn't have the tendency to bite my tongue. I have been smoking pipes about 20 years and smoke a wide variety of non aromatic tobacco and this is one that just doesn't work for me. I tried drying it out, different pipes, smoking it really slow. It just doesn't suit me. I normally smoke non aromatics but I can sometimes enjoy a natural tobacco with a light top flavor. I do not really like tobacco with a detectable casing and this starts to lean towards that type of blend a little more than I'd hoped it would. This won't really dry out very well which is usually a bad sign for me towards how it will smoke. I did get some really decent flavor on a few smokes. I like plenty of other blends from this company and I just thought I'd try this. I honestly wouldn't recommend it to a person who prefers a straight tobacco flavor. I will revisit the rest of the tin in the future. Maybe some age will mellow it into a smoother smoke.
Mac Baren - HH Pure Virginia 3.5oz
I used to smoke Mclelland #27 for the last ten years for my go to Va flake until I tried this recently. This blend basically focuses on everything I like about Va tobacco and somehow the steam press seems to have removed all of the traits I don't like. It's like it took away some of the brightness and darkness extremes in the flavor profile and boosted the middle of the spectrum a bit. There is absolutely no bite in this blend if it is dried out properly prior to smoking. There is a tiny bit of molasses/ brown sugar like sweetness dancing around in the background but it is very subtle and I would not call this a sweet blend in any way. I have smoked pipes for 20+ years and I honestly feel this is the best Va without any perique I have ever smoked. A good nice medium full flavor with a nice medium nicotine level. I like to smoke it rubbed out and the flakes are nice and thin just a little shy of being a shag cut the way I like them. The smoking is leisurely and it is well behaved. Burns nicely with minimal relights and does not punish the smoker in the slightest sense if they smoke a little quicker than most Va's allow. I wish they would make a Vaper version of this. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting the pure Virginia experience. I will be purchasing as much of this as possible to cellar for future enjoyment.
Peterson - Irish Oak 50g
I really enjoy this blend. It reminds me a bit of Macbaren HH Acadian Perique. The aging in sherry barrels gives it a very subtle hint of wine like aroma in the tin note and really ties the blend together. I don't detect any casing or topping or flavoring of any sort. I really enjoy the natural tobacco flavors and the perique is really good quality in this blend. There is some noticeable nicotine but it is medium strength yet nice and full full in flavor. This is really well done and I will be buying some to cellar for future enjoyment.
Peterson - Irish Flake 50g
I will pass
I like really strong tobaccos and this one would be great if not for the horrible topping. It smelled like one of those chocolate oranges that you break up with a cheap perfume or aftershave like smell drifting in behind the orange. The topping does not come through but a tiny bit in the smoking but still it's a smell I just can't get past. It just leaves me asking why? It would be so much better without the topping. I enjoy their Irish Oak a lot better than this. I've been smoking pipes for over 20 years and I just don't honestly feel this is listed properly as a non flavored tobacco. It may appeal as a crossover blend to some but it just does not work for me.
Mac Baren - HH Acadian Perique 16oz
I really like this blend. It does need to be thoroughly dried prior to smoking. The perique is detectable all the way through but never overpowering. As the bowl progresses I taste different tobaccos taking turns in the forefront with the perique enhancing the whole experience. I really enjoy the spicy orientals and the dark fired kentucky in this blend. I smoke this a lot and it's never exactly the same twice in a row but it's always great! Burns really well too and really doesn't need to be relit much at all if you are timely and skilled with a tamper. It may become a 5 star blend for me in the future.
Cornell & Diehl - Night Train 8oz
This is great tobacco. I really like the cake presentation. It crumbles up nicely and dries out to smoke quickly. I'm not usually a big burley fan but it works great here. The flavors are slightly sweet and just a little sour at the same time with a nice spice from the perique going on also. I didn't think I cared for it at first but by the third or fourth bowl I really started to pick up on the flavors. There is a good amount of nicotine but it's not overwhelming. I really enjoy this blend and will be buying the pound brick in the near future.
McClelland - CORPS: Syrian Ringlow Reserve 50g
This isn't too bad but I didn't really care for it. I like more noticeable flavor in my tobacco.
McClelland - CPCC: Scottish Woods 50g
The flavor is just a little past medium and not too heavy on the latakia. The oriental tobacco used is like the tin description says "delicately spicy" and has a nice balance with the latakia. I get hints of spice that reminds me of spiced cider, specifically cloves and cinnamon and a just a hint of sweetness from the virginias. I didn't really care for this blend the first few times I smoked it, I wasn't really getting much flavor. So I set the tin aside for a couple months. By the time I came back to it the tin note had greatly improved and it smokes very good now. In all instances I have dried out some to smoke for an hour or two prior to smoking and this made it much more enjoyable.
Cornell & Diehl - Kajun Kake 2oz
Hits All The Bases
This blend has a lot going for it. The tin note is nice, bread like and earthy. The crumble cake cuts up nice with a sharp knife and crumbles up really easily. The moisture is perfect and even though I think it would be fine to smoke straight out the tin I dry it out a little more. The flavor is tasty and medium/full and I can detect the perique from the first light. It gets really peppery around mid bowl but mellows out consistently for the final third and gives a great finish. The Va is subdued often by the perique but does maintain a nice balance and when I taste it I get earthy, bread like notes from it but no real sweetness, which is a very nice contrast to the McClelland va's I also smoke. I'd say there is a more than a good amount of perique in this as it leaves my tongue tasting peppery. Sometimes it almost seems like there are a few black peppercorns in my pipe with the tobacco, but I love pepper so that's fine with me. I have found no bite at all in this blend even if rushed a little but it does smoke better at a reasonable pace and sipped somewhat steadily. Burns down to a powdery grey and white ash and stays lit really well. There is a good bit of nicotine too, I love the way I feel after smoking this. I have craved a bowl of this daily since opening the tin and will probably be getting the big tin next order I like it that much.
McClelland - Personal Reserve: St James Woods 50g
This is one of the better tobaccos I have ever put into a pipe. I like to rub out a little bit to smoke and dry it out for at least a few hours. I can really taste the perique and red va right off the first light. As the bowl progresses I start to notice the sweetness of the stoved Va. I had stayed away from this blend in the past due to the fact I'm not really huge on blends heavy on stoved black va and the tin description mentions it but the stoved is used ever so lightly as a condiment here and it works perfectly to add a hint of deep brown sugar sweetness. The perique is pungent and twangy with just a bit of pepper and spice. I mainly get a fermented raisin like taste and spicy hints from it. The red Va is robust and slightly sweet. Top quality all the way. I love the way the flavors of the va and the perique play off each other in the beginning of the bowl and meld into a wonderful combined effort at the finish. This blend is a true masterpiece and my only regret is not buying more of it. I will be cellaring some also for sure.
Borkum Riff - Bourbon Whiskey 1.5oz
Not good at all
Just not good at all to my tastes. Flavor is bitter. Has about the worst bite I've ever found in pipe tobacco. Only bought it in the past because at the time I was inexperienced and had no clue about good tobacco or where it came from. Tried it again later once I had experience and still don't like it at all.
McClelland - Craftsbury: Frog Morton 50g
Smooth And Mild
I find this to be a very enjoyable tobacco. It is a dark, mild, flavorful and smooth english. Like most all tobacco I smoke it needs to be dried out. I like to let some sit out overnight or a few hours minimum on a plate as it dries slower than most tobacco. I did not enjoy it at all without drying, almost no flavor. Properly aired out this smokes great and has a rich flavor. Reminds me a lot of British Woods but without any orientals. One of the things I love beyond the great taste is how well it stays lit. The more I smoke it the more I like it. The best flavor comes from gentle puffing and I find this to be one of the most bite free blends out there. The smoke is a beautiful light blue that has a distinct way it floats through the air and has a nice smoky room note. I will be ordering this again and some extra to cellar.
Macanudo - Ascots Cafe
I really enjoy these cigars. They are mild and very smooth with a mild natural sweetness. Hard to beat these, especially for the price.
Acid - Blondie
This wasn't a bad cigar but I honestly don't think I care for flavored cigars any more than I do aromatic pipe tobacco. It kind of reminded me of smoking a bottle of cologne, English Leather cologne to be exact. I am mainly a pipe smoker but I do enjoy a good cigar on occasion. I won't buy these again. I prefer a natural tobacco flavor.
G. L. Pease - Gaslight 8oz
Another Great Pease Blend
This Gaslight is a really good blend. I really like the presentation and enjoy cutting and preparing some to smoke. I like to let it dry out pretty much all the way, or at least a couple hours. It usually takes me a couple gentle chars and a good light or two to get it going but it burns pretty nicely once it catches. The flavor is dark and at times I get hints of espresso and dark unsweetened chocolate. The tin note is very interesting. I have never smelled or tasted another tobacco quite like it. I can only give four stars at this time because I find it a little rough around the edges and get sharp notes and even though I know how to smoke and I don't inhale I don't care for the way it somehow hits me in my throat occasionally in some bowls at times throughout the smoke. I suspect this may improve quite a bit with age as my first tin was very fresh when I received it. I have some in the cellar to age and will give an update if things get even better. It's very good now and I suspect age will make it great.
Dunhill - Nightcap
It has grown on me
This tobacco isn't bad. It isn't great either. The leaf used does seem to be good quality. I didn't find the nic hit that strong either. I felt it some the first time I smoked it but not since. I find this is more of a medium blend with a moderate amount of nicotine. The flavor isn't that great and I lost interest pretty quickly. Update: I let my sample age for close to a year and it's much more to my liking now. I can really taste all the flavors and I will be buying more of this while it's still available. There are stronger and more flavorful blends out there but this one I keep reaching back for more.
Cornell & Diehl - Da Vinci 2oz
This is a very heavy latakia blend. It would be fair to call this a lat bomb by most peoples definition. I do taste all the tobaccos in harmony with the latakia always playing lead. I would say it is balanced enough to work well. The cut is broad and I like it in a large Savinelli 115ks pot which really brings out a smooth rich flavor. There is a nice solid nic hit too that makes me just sit there and contemplate things. Be warned about that if you are susceptible to nic hits making you feel woozy but don't let that scare you just know it has a punch. This blend is a nightcap only for me when I want a bowl. I am smoking an 8 year old 8oz tin right now and have a pound tin in the cellar. I really think aging helped and made it a lot smoother. Definitely one of the best and strongest blends in the C&D lineup. I hope they always make this.
Captain Earle's - Ten Russians 2oz
Solid and Full
This is a really good blend if you are a latakia lover. I really enjoy the cake presentation and it crumbles up very easily. Not very moist and dries out to smoke really quickly in about an hour or two. I do detect the spice from the orientals but the latakia is certainly to the forefront here and everything else is only to offer support. The latakia itself is more of the smoky tasting type of Cyprian that reminds me of pine smoke and creosote more than oak smoke and herbs/spices and does not really have much sweetness. Honestly I prefer the sweeter varieties of latakia that have more of an oak/spice flavor but this is a very good blend. There is a good bit of nicotine here too but it is never too much for me, in fact I find it very relaxing at night. Works great for DGT also. Be warned though you will taste this for hours after smoking and it might possibly be a bit much for a newer english smoker. I can't quite make this a daily smoke but it will be welcome in my rotation. Very well done. I will likely reorder and cellar a bit of this. It will likely make a 5 star with a few years age. If you like a stout latakia forward blend that is not sweet you might really enjoy this.
McClelland - Personal Reserve: British Woods 50g
This is a most excellent tobacco. I honestly expected it to be more full but it just ended up making the perfect mid afternoon smoke for me. Something about it just keeps me interested and coming back to it almost every day. Seems like they add a little top note of something to it that just adds to the enjoyment. Smokes very cool and dry for me. I have had zero issues with bite, in fact this is one of the most bite free blends I've ever had the pleasure of smoking. I like to dry it out for a while before smoking. Something about this tobacco just makes it go really well with a pepsi cola for me. I certainly will buy the big tin next time and probably get a few for the cellar too. Update: Over time the casing has grown to be a little weary on my palate and has become noticeable in a way that makes this more of an occasional smoke than an every day one. Still it's pretty good stuff and I'm sure I'll keep it in my cold weather rotation. I just find myself reaching for the bombay extra more than this lately.
Arturo Fuente - Exquisito SG
Really Tasty And Smooth
I am mainly a pipe smoker. I decided to try a couple of these for a change of pace and was pleasantly surprised how smooth these were. I'm not switching over to cigars by any means but I will be ordering some of these and probably getting a small humidor in the near future. I would recommend them to others interested in trying cigars. They are so much better than the bargain brands I have tried in the past.
McClelland - 5100 - Red Cake
Not to my liking
I love Va tobaccos in general but truly dislike this one. My problem is with whatever they sugar coat it with. It won't really dry out very easily for me which leads me to believe it is cased in some manner even though it seems unflavored. The tobacco is very sweet from first light, artificially sweet. It tastes pretty decent for about the first third of a bowl of red va and added sugar then it starts to get sour. I'm used to being able to smoke the whole pipe or at least all but the last little bit of it. No matter how much I dry it or how slow I smoke it this stuff always goops and starts to taste super ascrid and steamy and starts to bite somewhere just past mid bowl. I have a pound I bought almost ten years ago and have tried to smoke it several times over the years after initially giving up on it years ago. Whatever the goop is I highly suspect PG is involved. Honestly it is one of the most disgusting things I have ever tried to smoke. I've been smoking pipes for over 20 years and have a good deal of experience with va and vaper tobaccos which I noramlly love. I would not recommend this to anyone. It truly almost turned me away from the pipe a long time ago. There are so many other good red Va tobaccos out there. As far as Mclelland goes I'd highly recommed their #2010 flake if you want a real honest va in bulk. Their #27 orange va tin is one of my favorite tobaccos of all time and you can't go wrong with christmas cheer either. I don't really think many smokers experienced with high quality natural va's would enjoy this #5100, but that is just my opinion. It's that bad once it goes sour and it will funk up a good pipe in the blink of an eye. If you are used to wetter smoking aromatics and don't mind dumping out your pipe when it's only half smoked maybe it won't bother you so much. I'm almost certain Scotty's old red is this relabeled as I have a jar of that too that tastes and behaves the exact same way. I truly learned my lesson about buying more than a couple ounces of something before knowing if it is any good or not.
Lighters - IM Corona Old Boy Black Matte
As Good As I Hoped It Would Be
I am very impressed. This is a great lighter. It feels very solid and well built and has some weight to it for it's size. I bought one from here recently so I cannot comment on the long term durability and dependability of it at this point in time. I am also left handed and it works great for me. The lighter is built very well and functions flawlessly. I use it a lot and the tank lasts much longer than other refillable lighters I've owned in the past. The little screw cover for the gas tank is nice for keeping pocket lint and dirt out. The flame size stays consistent from filling the fuel tank to right when it runs out which I love. I set the flame size one time about a month ago to a medium small size and it has stayed there. It will respond a tiny bit to cold and hot ambient temperatures like any lighter in regards to flame size but it's not one of those you're going to have to adjust every 5 minutes. I LOVE that about it. The flint kicks out a nice spark and has lit every single time I rolled the wheel. I have a tiny straight blade screwdriver I use for removing the gas cap, the flint holder if needed and adjusting the flame. You can get the gas cap off with a coin but the flame adjust has a smaller slot. The flint wheel is textured for grip but it has a smaller screwdriver slot too. The tamper pick is rounded on the end and doesn't work great as a tool for adjusting the lighter. I guess they wanted to round it to avoid the chance scratching or gouging a chamber. The only weakness I have found as expected is it does not do well in the wind but not many soft flame lighters do. I use good quality american butane and have been very happy with the flame and the taste of my tobaccos. One of the best investments I made for my pipe hobby. The full 2 year warranty and reasonable flat repair fee beyond that point indicate to me IM Corona stands behind their product.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Pipe Nail
A Must Have Item
These work great but I eventually stopped using them due to the fact they were made out of aluminum and I don't really want it touching my tobacco
McClelland - Personal Reserve: Bombay Extra 100g
Great full flavor
This is a really interesting blend that I enjoy the most right after dinner. The cut is a little coarse but I won't hold that against it. Upon lighting up it's mostly the spicy orientals I detect which can be a bit deceptive about what's to come. It honestly takes this blend about ten minutes to start having much focused flavor but it keeps building as you go. By mid bowl the sweetness from the va tobaccos kicks in nicely and the latakia has made itself well known also but not in an overbearing way. As the bowl progresses the flavors meld wonderfully. The flavors I noticed at first fall a bit more into the background as the va's and latakia build and I get a nice hint of spiciness from the orientals but also feel the perique pepper on my tongue in a nice way. I had to try this blend quite a few times and smoke my way up to it to understand all the flavors involved and have a palate that could detect them all at once. Needed a few relights but tasted better with each one. There is a good amount of complexity that is not always common in a blend this bold. With that said I would not recommend as a first english or to newer smokers, I had trouble with it at first myself. I don't get much nicotine but the flavor is very full indeed by the end of the bowl. I'd recommend it highly as an after dinner smoke it goes well with dessert wine also.
Cornell & Diehl - Granulated Perique
I'm very happy with this perique. I bought it to mix with blends that needed some and to try out in my own blends. It has a good fermented earthy mushroom like taste and smell with a good amount of pepper flavor also. I quickly reordered more just because I know it's not going to last long I keep going back to it so much. I am not as highly experienced with perique as I am with some other tobaccos but I am able to say I find it both very smokeable and enjoyable. I put a pinch in my Mclelland #27 va and it is a most excellent match that adds to an already perfect tobacco. The pre-granulated cut is really nice too for my blending needs. Recommended.
McClelland - Latakia
Excellent Quality Latakia
What a nice surprise. I took a chance on ordering 2 oz. of this along with a couple other bulk blending tobaccos to try and spice up a couple blends that weren't doing much for me. I am extremely pleased with the smoky spicy pouch aroma. The smoking is even better, this is very good quality. Honestly it is better than I expected for bulk tobacco. Smokes really cool and has a most excellent flavor that to me is a good mix of smoky and exotic spice flavors with a hint of incense. Smokes very cool also with no bite. I'm very happy with this and I already ordered a little more to tinker with my own blending ideas. I will be buying a pound next order. I highly recommend you try this if you like latakia.
McClelland - Oriental Mixture: No.1 50g
Not too bad
This is a light smooth blend of orientals and va tobaccos with a very small (undetectable) amount of latakia. The taste is mostly buttery, nutty and kind of sweet from the orientals, Reminds me vaguely of a camel cigarette from back before I smoked pipes but much better in terms of tobacco flavor. The va's are there but kind of don't work as well in the mix for me as I'd have hoped they would. In general it's pretty good tobacco and fits the tin description fairly well. I just felt it was missing something. On the plus side I tried mixing a bit of it 50/50 volume wise with straight latakia and it made a most excellent full flavored english blend that will at least help me finish my tin.
McClelland - Matured Virginia: No. 27 100g
The Best Va Flake
I simply love this tobacco. It has a twangy BBQ sauce like tin note but is a zesty sweet any time of day smoke for me. The flavors are of light brown sugar and just good straight forward orange va tobacco with a few hints of beef jerky here and there. A great indoor or anytime for that matter smoke with plenty of flavor. I love the thin shag cut flakes. I usually rub them out for indoor smoking but will fold or lightly break up for outdoors or windy days. I always dry out the portion to smoke at least a couple hours, this is key to a flavorful dry smoke. Stays lit like a dream for me. As long as you puff light and reasonably slowly it smokes nicely. I like it in a small narrow chambered pipe of most any depth. It smokes extremely well fresh but smooths out and develops even more depth of flavor when it ages much like a fine wine. I have a good portion stashed away and just popped a tin at the 10 year mark and have been enjoying it very, very much. If I could only smoke 3 tobaccos for the rest of my life this would no doubt be one of them. I will be building my retirement stash of this in the meanwhile... Update: This used to be my favorite for years and then along came Macbaren HH Pure VA and now I have a new favorite. Still a great flake with some age on it.
McClelland - Oriental Mixture: No.6 50g
3.5 Stars. I enjoy this blend as a change of pace, an early afternoon smoke or to refresh my palate in between heavier blends on occasion. To me it tastes a little twangy and sweet at the same time, maybe you could even say a little sweet and sour. I get more of a robust orange Va flavor up front and some spice from the orientals a little more in the background but certainly noticeable throughout the bowl. I like to dry out the portion to smoke at least a few hours. Not an everyday blend for me but one I do get a taste for at least once or twice a week. I get good consistency from one bowl to the next which I can't say for every blend in my rotation. I like it packed gently but slightly firm with the 3 step method in a Savinelli 104 billiard. Smoked at a reasonable speed it's a great tobacco that I will probably keep a bit of around.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening 2oz
First off I will state that I normally don't smoke aromatics and in general they are something I don't normally care for. That said once in a while I will smoke one out of a dedicated pipe just for something totally different and to help satisfy my sweet tooth. I purchased this tobacco quite a few years back and really wasn't crazy about it at the time. I remember not knowing how to smoke nearly as good as I do now and had the typical issues with cadence, moisture, and heat. So like several other tobaccos I tried and didn't like or understand at the time it got put in with all my tins in my cellar to come back to later. Well that turned into almost 9 years before I decided I really wanted to try it again. Perhaps aging helped it some plus I've gained a lot of experience since I last tried it and I really enjoyed my recent smokes off this blend. The flavor is of mostly of maple syrup and sweet but not as strong or in your face as the tin note might imply. The tobacco burns really cool and dry for an aromatic. The room note reminds me a little of a good pecan pie in the oven. I don't think I'll be smoking it all the time or getting into aromatics in general as I am a non aromatic smoker. I thought it might be helpful to others to mention as a person who normally does not crave aromatics I can actually find this serviceable on occasion. Who knows you might even like it too.
G. L. Pease - Samarra 2oz
I have been smoking this blend on and off for around 10 years. At first I wasn't experienced enough to appreciate it so I stuck it in the cellar for a while. After a while I tried it again and was very impressed so I kept smoking it. I find Samarra to be very smooth and complex and is what I'd consider a medium strength blend. It has just the perfect amount of sweetness from the va's that balances out nicely with the fragrant latakia and the nice flavor of exotic oriental spice that is finished off with just a tiny dash of perique. All the tobaccos in this blend work together harmoniously, never overpowering one another, yet somehow letting their individual presence be noticed and appreciated while simultaneously melding and creating layers of flavor. I smoke it slow and still get plenty of volume of smoke which I like. I am now smoking an 8oz tin that is about 8 years old and it is just sublime. The older I get and the more experience I have the more I appreciate the detailed complexity this tobacco offers. I only wish I had cellared more. Glad it is still available and hope it will continue to be in the future. I'll certainly be buying a couple more tins to cellar and smoke when I can.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Kendal Gold
I wanted to like it
This is the first time I have tried tobacco from this manufacturer. I didn't care for the pouch smell too much, It really had a sour kind of smell that reminded me of tea. After drying it out the smell was pretty decent of just Va tobacco. I really like the fine cut, it burns very evenly and is easy to get lit and keep it going. I smoked it a few times out of several different pipes and didn't notice the offensive aftertaste as much right away but upon trying it in a new perfectly clean pipe is was like boom with the soap taste. I experimented a bit more and just came to the conclusion this tobacco has a little bit of soapy taste to it I didn't care for. I had to smoke several bowls of something else to get the ghost out of my pipes too. I was really disappointed and doubt I'll try anything else from this company. Update: I still don't really like this but I was very wrong to assume this represented the quality and flavor of other fine tobacco's I've grown to love from this company. The soapy taste I get from this one blend is nothing like the lovely Lakeland essences I've found in so many of their other blends. Go figure I'd try one of the very few they make I don't like on the first try. The only other tobacco I ever smelled that had this aroma was a tin of C&D Organic Pipe Dreams that was not at all to my liking and made me feel really sick from smoking like ten years ago that time they tried that. I think they pretty quickly discontinued that blend because the organic method of preserving was having a problem with working correctly and I had one of the early tins that went funky. So my point is maybe this kendal was a small sample that was going bad or not what it should have been in hindsight, I have had other manufacturers have a bad day or batch on rare occasion also so I will give another chance in light of their total line of quality tobaccos at some point. I will try to order 1 oz again soon just for my own satisfaction and the joy of hoping it was a fluke. I will update.
Blog's Commented on
A Love for Lakelands
- ► I've been exploring Gawith and Hoggarth lakeland blends recently. I had tried a lakeland a long time ago and didn't care for it then recently at a pipe club meeting I was given a sample of rum flake and really enjoyed it enough to try others. So far I've enjoyed everything I have tried. I normally wouldn't enjoy an aromatic with the exception of a few because most companies offer goopy messes with typical black cavendish base and nasty artificial flavoring, but G&H has managed to do it right. I am very sensitive to artificial scents and flavorings and can enjoy the natural flavorings G&H uses and the fact I like to dry my tobacco out to smoke and these dry like one would expect with none of the PG you normally would associate with a lesser quality aromatic. I consider these more of a flavored/scented tobacco. They have quite a few blends and I look forward to exploring them more in the near future.