Iwan Ries - Three Star Blue 7oz
What is a 5-star anyways?
If I hadn't purchased my first pouch from the store in Chicago I would have never given it a chance because usually Sutfliff and I don't get along. It's not a matter of smoking too quickly or any user error - just the slightest puff of anything Sutliff burns the dickens out of my tongue. But this little number here burns slow, even, and with no tongue-bite. In fact, I enjoy the blend so much that I almost want to smoke it exclusively. I find it a big "loud" but I like that. It has a big aroma, almost like a musk, for me anyways. Not all of us pick up on the same notes. I believe I was told that there was no anise but that is what i seem to pick up. May not be anise, but some kind of liqeur. Who knows. I enjoy smoking it out of a meer that I purchased at the shop in Chicago. I hope SP can stock some of their other blends as well. Three star bronze is a masterpiece.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Brown Flake Scented
I know it's there
This is a fine tobacco and I really enjoy the tonquin and licorice. It's great as is, but I'm sure that after a bit of aging it becomes an unbelievable smoke. I can taste it- I know it's there.
Samuel Gawith - Squadron Leader 250g
250g Worth It.
Buying 250g of SG is somewhat risky because it's not in a vacuum sealed tin. Even the larger 100g tins are not vacuum sealed. This is a thin cardboard SG box (as pictured) wrapped in cellophane. Inside, the tobacco is in a ziplock baggy. I hadn't seen SL on the market for a while so I snagged this up, hoping for the best but ready with my humidor. Fortunately, the moisture content was absolutely perfect. Not quite as wet as a brand new vacuum sealed tin, but I don't like it THAT wet either. I usually let it air out for a few minutes, and that it is the moisture content here. Thanks for another great smoke, SG. And thanks Smoking Pipes for bringing it to my doorstep!!
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Scotch Mixture
Not so English to Me
Like the commentor below, I love to see other smokers' takes on the blends. To me, the smokey and spicy English elements, although present, go to the back seat. What hits me in the tin and in the smoke is a caramel nougat note...which I'm not particularly a fan of, but it is a pleasant smoke. I would buy again, but not for regular rotation. I would consider this a very well rounded blend to buy if you intend to share with American pipe smokers. I think everyone could enjoy it.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Rum Flake 50g
As mentioned below, this is a great blend with a scrumptious tin-note, but the raw smokey meatiness of the tobacco does tend to leave the note in the tin. I get almost none of the essence in the smoke. As with most, there is a puff or two where I can "get it" but most it is just muscling through. That being said, this may also be a tin that I have to revisit in a few months after it has mellowed.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - American Delight 50g
I remember my father had a big bag of American made tobacco not too dissimilar to this. I don't believe it was Admiral's Choice, but something on that order. The dark fruit (somewhat cherry like) comes to the front and it's just that old-timey familiar smoke we have all smelled, or smoked ourselves, at some point in our life. As an aside, I would get into his bag of tobacco when I was about 11 years old and get HIGH.AS.A.KITE. Like, full on laughing like a giddy school girl. Unfortunately, tobacco doesn't do that to me anymore and the only stuff that does is currently illegal in my state.
Samuel Gawith - Limited Edition 2013 100g
SG Squadron Leader ruined me for all other English blends, and this blend ruined me for all virginia-cavendish-vanilla-nut blends that we have at our local tobacco shops. To be honest, I never knew what the local tobacco shops were TRYING to make until I tried this. The tobacco is so light and the toppings so tastefully added. I will say that the tins are not sealed well so you will get very dry tobacco. I humidified mine for a few hours because I do not like my tobacco so dry. This blend is so good that I'm not even going to by more just for the mere fact that I don't want to get attached. Did I mention the room note? If perchance you are fortunate to have an indoor public place to smoke, be prepared to be THANKED for smoking this. It is lovely.
Samuel Gawith - Commonwealth 50g
Just My Opinion
I love the SG and G&H blends - I have utmost respect for their legendary blending history and skill. However, this one - to me- was just not that satisfying and, what's more, I never found it's essence. I never pinpointed what exactly it was trying to be. I know what Squadron Leader, Skiff Mixture, Best Brown, Grousemoore etc etc are. I have tasted what the blend was meant to be. This one, though, I just never could. To me, that is a big element of smoking these blends. You get to know them and they have an identity. This blend just seemed a little sloppy?
Samuel Gawith - 1792 Flake 50g
What a Legend
Dark brown, shaggy flake with a strong scent of fresh corn tortilla (to me - you may smell something completely different). Smokes well damp and straight out of the tin. This is a man's tobacco here. Not light on strength of flavor or nicotine. One thing worth mentioning is how forgiving it is. Many lakelands can be easily ruined by going too hard. You may as well dump your pipe if you smoke grousemoor and ennerdale too hot...but not 1792. It gives you a second, third or fourth chance to slow it down and enjoy the intensity of its top grade tobacco and toppings.
Samuel Gawith - Perfection Mixture 250g
Such a tease of vanilla
I had never had, or thought of, vanilla and English, but it is excellent. I have since added vanillas to my English to try and replicate the mix (with a slightly heavier vanilla essence) but to no avail. As mentioned below, the vanilla is extremely subtle - like, painfully subtle. You want more but a slight tease is all you get. Still a great blend.
Fribourg & Treyer - Wingate Mixture 50g
I'm breaking a rule I have of never judging the blend until I have finished a tin, but I must say that this is one of the least satisfying blends I've ever had. I just cannot find the flavor (or the point) of smoking it. Granted, it is easy to smoke - not a single relight needed for me. But, if you smoke heavier blends you will find this blend frustrating. Firstly, there are no orientals and almost none of that English spice we all enjoy. NONE. The aroma and smoke are so light that I'd have to sit in my car with the windows up to even get a hint of the essence. It's like being a marlboro red smoker and being handed an ultra-light - except there is no filter to rip off with this. That being said, there was almost a point where I see how this could be an enjoyable smoke - just a hint, for a slight moment- where I thought that perhaps the lack of flavor could be interpreted as refinement. And maybe that's the case. This review is just a warning for someone that is expecting something completely different. I'm not a fan of F&T pipe tobacco (I love their snuff) but if you wanted an English and it HAD to be F&T, I'd go for 34th street.
St. Bruno - Ready Rubbed 1.75oz
Prefer the Tin
I am a big fan of St. Bruno. It has everything I want in a "fruity/floral" English blend. Unfortunately, there is a reason I gravitate towards tinned flake tobacco and this is a great example. It took me til about the middle of the bowl of this ready rubbed to taste what it was that I was looking for. Still a great blend and still 4 dollars less than the tin - but in the future I'll pay the extra few bucks and get what I really came for.