Pipe Tools & Supplies - John Aylesbury Midnight Blue Pipe Tool
This tool was nice while it lasted, but after less than a year the tamper foot has fallen off. For a $23 pipe tool, I'm disappointed that it fell apart after such a short time. I also caution that the tamper foot on this one is oval, not round, and it will not go deeply into your narrower bowls. I'd really like to find a nice pipe tool that combines the two necessary tools with a tamper that is smaller, and have it built not to fall apart. This one was a disappointment.
Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd
Unusual, but nice
I was curious about blends that contain cigar leaf, and tried this one after reading several reviews. It grows on you and could be an occasional treat for those who like the heady aroma of cigar leaf, or as a blend to introduce a cigar aficionado to the subtler joys of pipe smoking. As this is the only cigar blend I've tried I can't compare it to others like the ones McClelland used to offer, but I might order this again in the winter time as an occasional change from my normal range of VaPers and English mixtures.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Brigham Green Pipe Tool
Right size, wrong shape
This is the style of pipe tool I prefer, but I don't like this one because the tamping foot is too large and too square to be useful. It won't even fit more than halfway into my smaller bowls.
Comoy's - Cask No.4
My eternal beloved
It's a pity that this flake is so often out of stock, here and elsewhere. I really love it, and I snap up what I can when it comes back into stock. If you like the "citrus-y" and "hay" types of Virginia flavors, Comoy's Cask #4 is worth your time. I prefer it to Stokkebye's excellent Luxury Navy Flake because it's a little tangier on my tongue, but LNF gets the call-up when CC#4 is on the "disabled list." Comoy's burns beautifully and rubs easily. Personally I don't fold-and-stuff it, as I think its flavor works better rubbed out a bit. But it's an easy, thin flake to do that with if you prefer. It's lemony, smokes clean, and is a wonderful choice any time. If only it were in stock more, it would be perfect.
Peter Stokkebye - PS402 Luxury Twist Flake
Great traveler, with a slightly sweet presence.
I like the convenience of the twisted flake for when I travel. If I'm going out for the day, I can confidently drop three or four flakes into my pouch and know I have enough for the day. This is another winner from Stokkebye, perfect as an all-day smoke. The smoke is rich and thick, and the taste is light enough for any time. It's part of my rotation, all year.
Newminster - No.400 Superior Navy Flake
Honey and Graham Crackers
I like this Virginia flake very much, particularly in the morning. It is light in body, very subtly sweet and easy to rub out into my briars. The flavor reminds me of graham crackers, with a very nice, understated sweetness. It's a nice morning smoke, stays lit and burns nicely but will get a littler hot if you push it. With a cup of strong coffee and a morning breeze, it's a solid start to the day.
Lane Limited - Crown Achievement
Full-flavored, nighttime smoke
This is a little too latakia-forward for my taste, but it is a well-behaved, cool-smoking full English mixture that you will enjoy if you like the Latakia "campfire" experience.