G. L. Pease - Piccadilly 2oz
Sweet, Smoky, Spicy and Mild
15 month old tin: VERY sweet. In appearance, there's plenty of lemons mixed with mahogany and reds. Those lemons contribute a sharp, citrusy sweetness at first, but the reds and mahogany interplay and provide a wonderful Virginia symphony of sweet bread, wood and citrus. That sweetness is supported by a constant but unpretentious smokiness from the lightly applied latakia. The perique adds a small amount of plummy spice here and there, but like the latakia, it's never forward or a predominate element in the profile. This reminds me of Early Morning Pipe. Whereas EMP is less sweet and supported with toasted Orientals and their nuttiness - Piccadilly has a more contemplative VA nuance. The flavor profile of EMP tends to congeal into a monotony of stoved smokiness further into the bowl, however Piccadilly retains individual characteristics of various leaves... this is what EMP wants to be when it grows up. There's something else in Piccadilly I can't quite place... a honeysuckle/cinnamon note. Almost as if there's a tea element to this. At first I thought it was my imagination running, but there's definitely a topping to this that adds a subtle sweet spiced/floral nuance. This is great with a black cup of coffee. While it's a mild mixture, it does provide a bit of nicotine: 2.0 out of 5
Peterson - Nightcap 50g
Rich, Sweet, Smoky & Spice
This is wonderful for those that appreciate English mixtures with a robust flavor. There's a noticeable richness among Peterson mixtures that isn't equivalent in other brands, and Nightcap is most certainly a rich, earthy, sweet and cedar-resin smoky mixture. The higher degree of sweetness in this really sets it apart from others. The peppery spice comes from the Perique, but it also attributes a slight plum flavor with pepper on the backend... a nuance detected in the aftertaste - not the body of the smoke. This does have some similarities to Ten Russians, but Nightcap is sweet - whereas Ten Russians leans towards sour. Also, Nightcap has less Latakia. The nicotine in Nightcap is higher as well, coming in with 3 out of 5.
Sutliff - 504C Aromatic English
Weak, Overly-Topped, Bland
Nope. Like almost all of the Sutliff offerings, this was shallow and almost devoid of natural tobacco flavor. The topping was overly applied and took a week to dry. Once dried, the leaf was predominately cavendish with just a smidgeon of Latakia, and similar to smoking hot air. I've honestly tried to like Sutliff, but their products just don't appeal to me. The only two I can get behind are the Peterson Match mixtures of EMP and Nightcap... the Late Evening Match is actually a pretty good mixture - despite lacking any richness. I think I'm done with the Sutliff exploration. nicotine is 0.5 out of 5.
Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian 16oz
Tart with a Mild Smokiness
This is a delicately nuanced mixture. The Syrian is VERY tart, with a mild herbal and floral nuance. Unlike Cyprian, this doesn't scream smoky cedar essence, creosote and campfire. It's also far less sweeter than Cyprian. Also contrary to Cyprian Latakia, Syrian is quite high in nicotine. This is good, but not one that I'll smoke daily. Still have approximately a pound left and it should last me years. Nicotine is 3 out of 5.
Sutliff - Match Late Evening
Lacks the Richness and Depth from the Original
Not a match. It's a good mixture... not bad, but not great. I don't think Sutliff toasted the VA and Orientals in this... it just doesn't possess the same depth of flavor or nuance of Nightcap. There's a sweet and smoky flavor, and the Orientals provide the slightest herbal note. The VA can nip at the tongue at times, seems a little rough and the Perique is more peppery than fruity. It's just a very generic mixture, but worth the price if you don't care about complexity. The nicotine is also very weak in comparison to Nightcap... this is 2 out of 5. Nightcap is 3.5 out of 5.
Lane Limited - BCA
Pleasant Room Note
BCA is a mildly sweet and pleasant aromatic cavendish. It's smooth on the tongue and the Vanilla that Lane uses always has that nutmeg or cinnamon nuance to it that I appreciate. Not something I reach for very often as it's kinda boring. A fellow piper (Jon) smokes this stuff religiously. I guess he likes the simplicity; linear, sweet, smooth, fragrant, low nicotine... of which is 0.5 out of 5.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil 15ml
After deoxidizing and polishing the stem, I smeared this on the stem with my fingertips and allowed it to sit for 30 minutes. I then wiped it off and it looked nice and shiny. However, the stem did begin oxidizing again. I suspect this is simply mineral oil or castor oil. Overpriced for what it does.
Cornell & Diehl - Smooth English
Perfect Autumn Mixture
VERY well done! As most already know, VA/LAT is sweet and smoky, but VA smokes hot and is sharp. Well, Burley/Latakia smokes cool and is smooth, but lacks the sweetness... that's where the cavendish comes in, contributing a sweetness and enhancing the smoothness even more. Burley and latakia are wonderful autumn-like leaf, and this fits the bill. Smooth, mild and wonderfully composed. I love burley/latakia/cavendish mixtures, and a good one is hard to find, in proper proportions. This is an all day/everyday, mild, old-fashion mixture. It's offers a cool and smooth creaminess. The molasses tinged burley reminds me of honey nut toasted oats while the latakia provides a balanced bit of musty, smoky cedar essence. The cavendish adds a bit of brown sugar sweetness, smooths rough edges, and spreads the burley and latakia nuance across the palate. Nicotine is 1.5 - 2 out of 5, and the body is closer to 3 stars.
Cornell & Diehl - Sun Bear 2oz
Similar to MacBaren Navy Flake
The tin note is remarkably mince pie; raisin, clove, cinnamon, pastry bread and bit of vinegar... smells wonderful! The flakes are moist and loosely pressed. The taste is sweet - honey sweet, with a bready nuance. The Orientals are zesty and will nip and tingle your tongue and lips. Dried a bit and smoked slow, it's sufficient. C&D produces blends and mixtures of a 'rustic' nature and this follows in that vein. Personally, I enjoy C&D's style more than any other, though I'm not a fan of VA in general. Sun Bear isn't as refined as say SG FVF or HH Virginia Flake, and it's not as mellow as 1931. It's very similar to MB Navy Flake. It's good in it's own right and though I ordered only one tin, I'm fine with that. Nicotine is 2.0 out of 5.
Rattray's - Buckingham 100g
The strength is more of a 1 or 2 - certainly not 3, though this is always subjective. The Hickory nut is light and odd tasting.. I wouldn't characterize it as 'Nutty'. I pickup more vanilla and very weak bourbon. Cornell & Diehl does bourbon exceedingly better than any brands I've smoked. As for the leaf; not bad and not great. The VA is bready sweet and the burley has the toasted oats nuance. There's too much Cavendish used. All in all, it's too light, lacks depth and flavor. Nicotine is 1.5 out of 5.
Peter Stokkebye - PS306 English Oriental Supreme
A Mild Version of EMP with Burley
Think a VA/BUR... a roasted grain nuance with a bready sweetness. Supplement that with a touch of black cav for smooth sweetness, a touch of orientals for a slight woody and floral nuance and a whisper of latakia for the slightest of cedar smokiness. Really a mild and smooth mixture that's very well balanced. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of Early Morning Pipe - though milder, smoother, better mouth feel and less nicotine (also cheaper).
Cornell & Diehl - Engine #99
Tangy/Sour and Smoky
The orientals are very sour, while the latakia provides a resinous cedar smokiness. The VA's a bit sweet, but it seems in too small a ratio in the mixture. The burley provides good mouthfeel and body, while the perique adds a bit more tangy pepperiness to the already sour orientals, along with that toe-jam note often associated with perique. I'm not a fan of this one... too tangy/sour. Nic is 2.5 out of 5
Peter Stokkebye - PS17 English Luxury
American English with an Annoying Maple Sugar Topping
PS17 is a medium American English. The burley and latakia are a bit more assertive in proportion to the VA, and a bit too heavy on the black cavendish for my taste. The maple sugar used in the topping is an annoyance, but is typical of PS blends/mixes. Similar to MacBaren; it's an odd sweetness that you either like to don't like... I don't care for it. This is more of a 'starter English' for those wanting to transition from aromatics to English. Not a bad mixture if you like maple sugar, and I could see this becoming someone's all day mixture. It has a woody, hay-like sweetness alongside the latakia, which is light to medium fired. The cav adds a smoothness and a little natural sweetness. Nic is 1 out of 5.
Cornell & Diehl - Virginia Gentleman
Spice, Wood and Hay
Initially, VG is bright; grassy hay, tart/sour and the spice from the Orientals prickles the gums, cheeks and tongue. 1/4 way into the bowl, the Orientals become predominantly ashy, musty, buttery, woody and sour. The spice continues to prickle. VG is a mediocre mixture, and it isn't one I'll likely order again. Nic is 2 out of 5.
Lane Limited - HGL
Mr. Lane's Own
Yes, Mr. Lane created HGL specifically for himself. HGL is RLP-6 with Latakia, and should be tried by every pipe smoker. It's a sweetly smoky/vanilla fragrant mixture. It has a nutmeg, vanilla, dark cocoa nuance that goes well with the slightly sweet tasting woody/bready Virginia, and is supported by a creamy and lightly resinous Latakia. Has very little nicotine and virtually no bite. It's a crowd pleaser and offers the smoker a bit more tobacco flavor than typical aromatics. Nic is 1 on a 5 scale.
Seattle Pipe Club - Potlatch 2oz
I've never been more disappointed in a mixture as I was with Potlatch. I waited years to try it and was so excited to finally have the opportunity. The tin note had me excited - it's VERY reminiscent of McClelland. Seriously... the tin note is like no other today - SPECTACULAR! However, that's where the excitement ended. Potlatch is very earthy (dark burley), peppery and the latakia and perique annoyingly linger. The only remarkable leaf nuance is the Turkish... Yenidje perhaps? It's a very unique but elusive flavor that I miss since McClelland closed, and I swear that's what's used in this. I'll give two stars on that alone. This reminds me of some of McClelland's mediocre products... a mixture of quality leaf that's frustratingly unbalanced. The potential's there, but the blender just couldn't deliver. It's so close to a McClelland offering in fact, that I'm curious if perhaps Mike McNiel had a hand in this somehow. While it's not a bad mixture, it was so disappointing.
G. L. Pease - Quiet Nights 2oz
The smoky, spicy and subtle sweet/sour of this is very pure tasting. The Virginia balances the sour and spicy Orientals, with the latter slightly prickling the tongue. The latakia is moderately-fired and supports, and comes close at times, to overwhelming the former two leaves. The perique adds depth and complexity with a fermented tang, and when combined with latakia, you get the typical musty-sweet barnyard aroma. A well balanced mixture. Nicotine is 2.5 out of 5.
Savinelli - Giubileo d'Oro 50g
Very Fine Latakia
This is a very fine pressed Latakia. I suspect this may be mildly-fired as it’s creamy and woody with a mild cedar/pine nuance and possesses very little of the creosote we often encounter. This isn’t your average Latakia, and in proper proportion to the VA... oh my. It’s a supportive ratio with perhaps 20%, which allows for a refined, mild and balanced mixture - allowing the pressed VA to really shine. While we typically think of Latakia as an autumnal and winter leaf, this one is surprisingly mild enough for summer. Sweetness is negligible as the VA is bready and just a tad grassy. Nicotine is 1.5 out of 5
Sutliff - Spiced Rum
The room note smells of rum cake and you definitely taste orange rind, cloves, cinnamon and even a little nutmeg with a boozy rum. It’s one of their better aros based on preference of rum and spices, but its not one I would keep around.
Sutliff - B30 Chocolate Mousse
Tastes of chocolate, but not much else. I combine it with Latakia, VA and Scotch-topped leaf to make a chocolate-scotch mixture. I love scotch-filled chocolates and this helps to recreate that in a smoke.
Sutliff - 206 Honey
Burnt Honey and Ash
Oh it honey-flavored alright... strong burnt sugar note. As with most Sutliff offerings, the tobacco itself isn’t the star or reason for purchasing... it’s the toppings. Harsh, blah leaf is mitigated by the concoction of chemicals. This one’s almost sickeningly sweet... with an ashy tobacco taste to follow. I love honey, but good grief...
Sutliff - 212 - Burley Delight
Bulk MB London Burley
This is remarkably similar to Mac Baren’s London Burley. As a matter of fact, as I smoke both side by side, there very little difference. 212 is perhaps a tiny bit less earthy, but I’d be willing to bet these are the same. Chocolate, nutty, bites, burns hot. If you missed out on MB re-release of London Burley... here ya go. Nicotine is 2 out of 5.
Sutliff - 212 - Burley Delight
Bulk MB London Burley
This is remarkably similar to Mac Baren’s London Burley. As a matter of fact, as I smoke both side by side, there very little difference. 212 is perhaps a tiny bit less earthy, but I’d be willing to bet these are the same. Chocolate, nutty, bites, burns hot. If you missed out on MB re-release of London Burley... here ya go. Nicotine is 2 out of 5.
Samuel Gawith - Bothy Flake 50g
Scotch and Fermented Sweet Pipe Tobacco... what could be better?
Flakes are almost black. The slight tang of scotch hovers atop a foundation of fermented VA which gradually builds throughout the bowl. Halfway through is when that full VA flavor, as only Gawith can offer, steps forward. The Latakia is approx 5% and along side the malty fermented VA and tang from the scotch, results in a glorious, smoky/peaty scotch flavor. It’s extremely difficult to acquire. Bothy is one of my favorites. Nic is 2.5 out of 5.
Sutliff - Molto Dolce 1.5oz
Hot Sweet Air... NOPE
Blah... flavorless... hot, sweet, no body and so sopping wet it crackles when you light it. Drying doesn’t improve but rather reveals a really crappy leaf hiding beneath. Complete waste of money as I’m stuck with a full tin I’ll never smoke. Nicotine is 1 out of 5. An abomination of pipe tobacco.
Savinelli - Brunello Flake 100g
Tart and lightly sweet with a strawberry tin note, makes this remarkably reminiscent of strawberry rhubarb. Pressing brings about a matured VA smoothness and many of the typical matured VA nuance; grass with a bit of fermented sweetness that reminds me of sweet feed. Burley adds a touch of earth and the sun cured provides the woody, tart/sour and slightly floral note. I smoke VA during the summer, and this fits right in as it’s a rather light strength flake with a medium fruit/tart flavor... perfect for the heat of summer. Nicotine is 1.5 - 2 out of 5.
Captain Earle's - Ten Russians 2oz
Rich Full English
Smells like a barn stable; manure, musty, hay and wood... which in tobacco language means GOOD. There’s a lot of bready sweetness from the VA, the Orientals contribute a musty, verdant sourness with a spice that tingles the tongue, and the Latakia is heavily fired, which is more creosote and cedar essence rather than musty, woody creamy sweet. This isn’t a linear Pirate Kake kind of Lat bomb. As a matter of fact, with only 50% Latakia I wouldn't call this a Lat Bomb but rather a rich and bold English in the vein of the older and now extinct English mixtures. I really like this... but then I’m partial to Latakia and so I give most Latakia forward mixtures a star automatically. There's also a bit of burley and Perique in this too but in such small doses that it doesn't distract from the main components. It isn’t refined and contemplative, but rather raw or rustic, as are most C&D mixtures. It’s a good change of pace to Constellation, which I smoke every/all day. While I like the taste of sun-cured orientals, they clash with my PH and nip, which is why I absolutely love Constellation (no sun-cured). Nicotine level is 2 out of 5.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Bird's Eye
Cloves, Bread and Smoky Wine
The Dark-Fired doesn’t have the typical smoky oak-laden barbeque note, but rather possess a finessed clove, floral and deep wine-like quality to it. This leads me to believe it’s African and not US Dark-Fired. The Lakeland is barely present and whispers a floral note, which actually goes quite well with the Dark-Fired. The VA adds a bready sweetness and lightens the heavy, dark, fermented cigar like notes. It’s a smooth, sweet and beautifully contemplative tobacco. The cut is fine and burns fast. Nicotine is 3.5 out of 5.
Mac Baren - HH Rustica Flake 3.5oz
Woody, Earthy, Bitter, Vegetative, Black Pepper
This has a ‘rustic’ ( no pun intended) tobacco quality. The maple sugar used in the binding allows this to open with a very, very slight sweetness, but it quickly dissipates to the full, rich flavor of earth, wood, vegetative/leaf litter, and a slightly burnt piquant note. There’s a bit of dry black pepper on the retro and a dark chocolate bitterness appears now and again. Gets a bit sweeter towards the end. Nicotine is there and is 4 on a 5 scale, which is a bit stronger than G&H Dark Birds Eye, and could be overwhelming for some. The flakes are cut small - commensurate with moderating the nicotine oomph it provides. Mixed with some C&D Black Cavendish elevates this to 3.5 stars. Still need a bit more time with this one.
G. L. Pease - The Virginia Cream 8oz
Rustic and Harmonious Notes of Bourbon and Vanilla
This is a beautifully rustic and harmoniously topped mixture. The topping is slight but accentuates the semi-sweet, grassy, woody and slightly spicy tobacco. If you like the weirdly topped Sutliff aromatics which attempt to hide inferior tobacco via crème brulee or peach cobbler – you’ll feel deceived with this as those are unremarkably linear and just plain gross. The Virginia Cream is a high quality leaf infused with subtle notes of a quality bourbon and natural vanilla. I don’t smoke aromatics, but this is one of the two that I do smoke on occasion and will always have in my cellar. Strong notes of quality bourbon are present on a slightly sweet but more pronounced grassy, woody and smoky foundation of Red VA and Dark Fired Kentucky in the first third. The nuance changes at the halfway point to a caramelized vanilla on woody grassy leaf. The last third is predominantly Virginia grassiness with touches of woody, oak-laden Dark Fired Kentucky. I didn’t pick up any noticeable perique notes. It’s got more nicotine that you’d expect and lands at 2.5 on a 5 scale.
Prince Albert - Prince Albert 14oz
A Comforting Burley with Molasses & Cocoa
The soft and smooth burley/cavendish blend has a sweet toasted grain profile. You'll taste a sweet molasses, cocoa and a smidgen of bourbon. It's mild in body and nicotine, and you'll never experience bite. PA is the ultimate comfort tobacco. Best enjoyed under the shade of a large oak overlooking the broad expanse of landscape move with the autumn breeze. If I had to choose only one... Prince Albert would be it.
Cornell & Diehl - Crooner
Smells Like Alfalfa Hay
The cube cut burley is fermented and offers some sharpness. The Deertongue contributes a sweet alfalfa hay aroma, but doesn't alter the taste of the mixture. If you like burley and want a fresh, grassy incense or alfalfa hay room note, this will do it. Nicotine is moderate.
Dan Tobacco - Sweet Vanilla Honeydew 50g
Sweet and Mild
I'm not an aromatic fan, but DTM makes some of the best. Invert sugar adds a bit more sweetness to compliment the grassy VA. I get more tobacco flavor from this vanilla topped blend than the horribly comprised concoctions of Sutliff. DTM makes some really good aromatics with a good tobacco flavor. Contrary to some, this has never bit me. It's mild in nicotine.
Orlik - Dark Strong Kentucky 50g
Very sweet (maple sugar added). It's a predominantly VA in base, but the sugar sublimates the flavor nuance. The Dark Fired is negligible and offers limited depth. The nicotine is very light. There's virtually no tobacco taste in this... almost artificial. If you want candied tobacco without tobacco flavor, go for it.
Cornell & Diehl - Constellation
The Best American English... Period
This is quite simply the best darn smoke I’ve ever had. It’s Latakia-forward (60%), very well balanced, richly flavored, smoky, creamy and musty sweet. It reminds me of Dunhill MM965, but better. Because burley replaces the sun-cured Orientals, it has more of a toasted grain nuance rather than a verdant spice note. I've purchased pounds of this as I never tire of it and it's proven to be consistent. Constellation is the only one worth keeping in my large everyday tobacco jar. Nicotine's 2 on a 5 scale.
Planta - Full English
Wow… this is such a great - lesser known mixture. If more knew about this, I suspect this would be out of stock perpetually. It’s a really good Autumnal sort of mixture; hay, smoky, woody, earthy and sweet... perhaps too sweet for some. The Latakia is truly condimental and I suspect it's less than 30%. For the price, it’s remarkable quality. A smooth and full flavored mixture. The Java leaf adds the earthiness and depth, but in a very refined and sophisticated kind of cigar note. It isn’t as pungent or brash as C&D’s Billy Budd… that one has a definite cigar note and flavor. This is more gentlemanly,
Cornell & Diehl - Yorktown
Full VA Flavor: Sweet, Hay, Citrusy Tanginess
In pipe smoking, we taste the smell. Ever wonder what a hay loft full of fresh hay would taste like? This is a pure, straight VA with a full VA flavor profile; sweet, grassy and citrusy tanginess. The sweetness caramelizes and deepens further into the bowl. It’s such a pleasure to smoke… smooth and easy with no bite. Great when fresh, and this will only improve with age in my cellar. This is very underrated and far exceeds Sutliff's VA. Also makes a great blending mixture; mixing this with Latakia makes for a very simple yet sweet and smoky profile. Nic is 2 out of 5.
Cornell & Diehl - Plantation Evening
Chelsea Morning Match?
For latakia lovers – this won’t satisfy… for VA/Per lover’s the latakia is an annoyance. This is one that can’t make up its mind; is it a VA/Per or English? This is a sweet, mild, verdant mixture that resembles Pease’s Chelsea Morning. The perique is more noticeable than the Latakia, which is a whisper on most draws, but its smokiness is present enough to compliment the verdant, tangy/sour Orientals well. Nic is 2.5 - 3 out of 5.
Dan Tobacco - Bill Bailey's Balkan Blend 50g
Sweet, Smoky & Tart
The combo of perique and latakia creates a room note that will clear the room! Seriously... I love Latakia but this one reeks. This is a sweet, smoky and tart tasting mixture. It’s dominated by the moderately fired, creamy and woody-sweet latakia, similar to Pirate Kake. The Orientals are unstoved and are slightly sour, musty and contribute a verdant brightness to the profile. The VA adds bready sweetness, while the Perique is just the way I like it – fruity with twangy raisins rather than spice. The Kentucky lends some toasted pecan like depth and isn’t the overly-smoky, spiced oak-charred flavor. I like this one, though I think Pease’s Quiet Nights is along the same lines, and is much darker, more refined, and less expensive. For the money and quality, stick with Pease’s Quiet Nights or Abington. While this has the Dark Fired to differentiate it, the difference in price vs the flavor doesn’t make sense. It’s still a very tasty smoke. Nic 2.5-3 out of 5.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Dark Flake Unscented
Strong Deep Flavor with a touch of Lakeland
The intensity of flavor and strength in this blend is very potent; great depth of fermented earthiness. It's a very bold tobacco flavor… this is very cigar-like. The Dark-Fired doesn’t have the typical smoky oak or barbeque note, but rather possesses a finessed clove or slight wine-like quality to it, so it’s definitely not dark-fired from the US. Although the Lakeland is present it’s minimal in note and doesn’t sublimate the tobacco. For those that abhor the floral essence, you might find it intolerable as it IS there. Personally, I don't like it, so it has enough that I dropped it 1 star. Nic 4 out of 5
Planta - Anno MMX (After Dinner Mixture)
Chocolate and Scotch
Well, this definitely has the scotch notes; a bit fruity, sour and peaty. The chocolate is a minor taste and goes very well with the scotch. The cav is smooth and sweet, which offsets the sour notes of the scotch. Not much body or nicotine. It's a good after dinner smoke if you like sweet chocolate and scotch, but if you want heavy body and nicotine - look elsewhere. I've had many a scotch flavored leaf and even infused my own leaf with it. Scotch imparts a sour note, but the flavor is still true and very good. Don't be put off by the sour aspect... it's not as bad as it seems. Scale of 1 - 5: Nicotine 1; body 2; flavor 3
Cornell & Diehl - Star of the East Gold
Reminds me of Westminster - Unstoved
Very bright and fresh. The Latakia is light and the VA is citrusy tart at first, then fresh and very grassy. The Orientals are up front; floral, a bit musty and incense like. This is Westminster - unstoved. It lacks the toasted depth of flavor and caramelized sweetness that Westminster provides. Unstoved, the mixture is a bit sharp in flavor. 1-5: Nicotine 3; Body 3; Flavor 3
Sutliff - Match Sunrise
Tastes 'In the realm' of Early Morning Pipe at Half the Cost
With no likelihood of Peterson producing EMP in bulk, I just can’t afford to buy EMP tins by the dozen. I was really hoping this would fill the niche. This hasn't been stoved long enough or hot enough... bland, harsh, sharp and a tad bitey. The VA lacks the toasted sweet bread note we get from EMP and just doesn't have the invert sugar either. The Orientals are greener and are untoasted. The latakia is condimental. This is a mediocre tobacco at best and really disappointing. STG owns Mac Baren, which owns Sutliff... why can’t they share the recipe and produce this in bulk? Nicotine is 1.5 out of 5.
Cornell & Diehl - Star of the East
Well Balanced, Simple and Remarkably Refined
I didn’t care for this too much at first; it seemed too thin, linear and lacked something. I was comparing this to Westminster… my mistake. It was more of a 2.5 star mixture, though the more I smoked it, the greater I appreciated the stoved depth of flavor from the VA – kind of like Early Morning Pipe or Pease’s stoved VA. I love this mixture for its simplicity, dark notes and smooth refinement… along the lines of Pease’s Abington just not as complex and lacks the caramelized sugars in the Oriental/Turkish. The balance is good and it’s a solid choice to have on hand for your bulk container. Can’t wait to try the Flake and the Gold – heard the Gold is more similar to Westminster in citrusy brightness. Nicotine, body and flavor are all equally 2 out 5 in strength.
Cornell & Diehl - Yale Mixture
Light on the Latakia and Lacks Depth
While C&D is known for producing stout mixtures, this was surprisingly lacking. A touch more Latakia, pressing, toasting and just a bit of invert sugar would do this wonders. It lacks depth and not only is the taste thin, but the body is too. Could be great if it was made like Lancers Slices... why not do it Jeremy? This has the potential to be a great Classic English Flake, but alas, it’s just a little more than loose, thin and unremarkable pouch tobacco.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - #12 Mixture
Bright, Sharp, Flat
For a VA/Lat mixture, there’s so many finer ones out there. This one has little nuance and character. The brights are a bit citrusy and semisweet. There’s a lot sharpness to it, and not in the least comforting. The Latakia doesn’t seem to be the 45% as stated. I just got an oz to try, so I’m not really out anything. C&D Yale Mixture is slightly better, but if you want a real treat of VA/LAT - Lancer Slices is about the best VA/LAT mix I’ve found. Mild nic, body and flavor. This fell FLAT.
Cornell & Diehl - Super Balkan
Extremely Buttery, Verdant, Herbaceous, Piquant and Woody
Wow. Initial light was all the above in extreme… this is the brightest and most assertive Balkan I’ve had to date! The Orientals are front and center; they’re verdant, herbaceous, zesty and buttery. There’s a nice citrusy and grassy sweetness from the VA, and the Latakia is so sooty it coats my tongue leaving it gritty. The burley taste isn’t noticeable but it adds earthiness and body - calming everything down a bit. I get only a minor tang from the Perique and it adds depth – certainly no spiciness. Marvelous mixture… really well done. My only complaint is the sooty Latakia; man, it leaves my tongue feeling like I just licked the inside of a chimney - deducted 1 star for this. Nic is 2 out of 5.
Cornell & Diehl - London Squire
English for Burley Lovers
This tastes and smokes just as good as any of the top notch English out there, but with just a burley component to differentiate it. While many English and English/Balkan available have more flavor and brighter nuance from the oriental/turkish, London Squire provides a respite from those with a mellowed, solid, earthy medium English. The verdant and spiced Orientals are still present, just subdued. This isn’t one I sit and contemplate over, rather it’s one that I can smoke all day and never tire my taste buds with. Westminster, the unequalled traditional English, is an example of one that requires time to ponder and enjoy, but also bombards your tastes with a wash of rich nuance. The earthy nuttiness of LS is balanced against a bready and slightly grassy VA. The Latakia is probably at 30%, so not an overwhelming content. The black Cavendish adds a bit of sweetness and smooths rough edges while unifying the flavors on the palate. It’s really a harmonious mixture that is easily an all-day English and can be had in bulk at a comparatively inexpensive price. Nicotine is light/med, body is med, and flavor is med. Solid mixture that reminds me so much of early Dunhill. This one has a constant presence in my cellar of at least 8 oz.
G. L. Pease - Abingdon 8oz
Bold, Richly Flavored and Refined Balkan
A very rich, dark and bold flavor profile; this is a moderately fired latakia with a good depth of dark stoved VA and oriental sweetness. The oriental is stoved, and so the brighter - sour, verdant and zesty notes are subdued, however the sweetness is greater and it retains a slight butteriness. The entire profile of this is similar to that of the last 1/3 of a bowl of English; Smoky, dark, caramelized sweetness and butter. Nic is 2.5 out of 5
G. L. Pease - Westminster 2oz
Elegant, Refined, Remarkably Balanced
Elegant and refined, Westminster is a remarkably well balanced mixture which is richly aesthetic and generously flavored. The Orientals are redolent with a woody, verdant/floral incense. They are slightly piquant and savory. The Virginia ascends as time passes, to reveal a soft sweetness with occasional sparks of bright citrus to counter the dark, creamy, leathery, cedar-laden smoky Latakia, which never boasts, but rather complements the latter components. The aggregate of such consummately refined leaf suggests… no, obliges with a slow contemplative smoke. Medium body and nicotine, the flavor is elegantly rich and full, though not intense. Pease has captured the essence of the old London Mixture and crafted an exceptional and traditional English. Embellishment, as witnessed throughout the tobacco world, may seize our attention temporarily, but the undeniable appreciation and admiration for beauty discovered in the most elemental, primary or basic, compels long-term devotion. Well done Mr. Pease.
Cornell & Diehl - John Marr 2oz
Smooth, Sweet & Satisfying
No one, and I mean NO OTHER, does bourbon or whisky topping at the high level that Cornell and Diehl does. Has elements of Redburn and Pegasus, but a little better than both. Whereas Redburn is stout, oaky, LOADED with nicotine and rummy sweet with bready VA, this lacks the nicotine, smoked oak and isn’t quite as sweet as the bourbon is a bit sour and the VA is grassy. The orientals and Perique set it apart from Pegasus, and lend more woodiness and tangy spice. I really like the bourbon and vanilla... adds a nice note even though the vanilla is very light. I really like this one, it’s smooth, sweet and satisfying. Light to medium body and nicotine, and the taste is subtle.
Sir Walter Raleigh - Aromatic 1.5oz
Hazelnut and Cocoa
Sweet Virginias and mouth-filling burley collide to provide a good, tobacco-forward smoke. It's mellow, sweet, nutty and has just a touch of the high quality hazelnut and cocoa liqueurs to lend a comforting note. You know what I mean... it's predominately a tobacco taste with just a little aromatic kick for that little extra. Can't stand the SWR regular, but this, especially mixed with Lane BCA, is pretty darn good. A good mixture for fishing or just kicking about. Light Nicotine, body and flavor.
Sir Walter Raleigh - Regular 1.5oz
Anise, Molasses, Cocoa... Alkaline
Tastes like a cheaper version of Russ Ouellette’s Hearth and Home Burley Kake. Lacks depth and the burley’s been sublimated by the toppings. The anisette is sharp while the molasses provides a depth of sweetness. The Cocoa is dark and mildly bitter. This is more alkaline than Carter Hall and Prince Albert, and also stronger. It’s lacks the smoothness and can bite, whereas CH and PA are smooth and mild... almost cavendish like. Mild nicotine with mild to medium body. The flavor is sharp and medium-full, but it’s VERY artificial.
Daughters & Ryan - Three Sails 3.5oz
Clean, Grass, Hay, Citrusy Sweet
If you’ve ever tried flue cured ‘brights’ right out of the stove house, you’ll recognize this one. I don’t think this has even been cased... it’s alkaline and will bite your tongue if not sipped - typical of uncased VA. It’s grassy, bright and citrusy sweet. This is the 5 brothers Virginia version and the shag/crimp cut demands you pack it properly. It’ll burn fast. A very natural tasting Virginia with a mild to medium flavor, mild nicotine and body.
Cornell & Diehl - Black Frigate 2oz
Creamy, Smoky, Buttery, Spiced Dark Rummy Sweet
Sweet, Dark Spiced rum drizzled over a bed of smoky and musty, woody Latakia, further supported by buttery, slightly sour and incense like Orientals with a grassy sweetness. Good finish with medium nicotine, slightly less than medium body and full flavor. *Left a tin on the shelf for a month and a half to find it had dried out. The rummy sweetness is gone. At that point it became a very boring run of the mill mixture. 4 stars with the rum... 2 stars without.
Kramer's - Father Dempsey
An Improved Presbyterian
This is almost exactly like Presbyterian (not a fan of it), though it’s better constructed. The flavor is deeper, the quality of leaf is better and the proportions are spot on. However, every time I smoke this it bites my tongue. The first time left my tongue scorched and I took a day to recover… the 2nd time it began biting and I powered though as I enjoyed the flavor… still bit. Painfully smoked 2 oz and will never smoke again. Light on nicotine, just shy of medium in body and flavor is medium.
Cornell & Diehl - Mountain Camp
Silky, Smooth, Campfire, Incense, Musty and Bready Sweet with Buttery Eastern Spices
I love Burley with Latakia, it adds a mouth-filling creaminess which compliments the Latakia very well. Musty sweet Latakia provides a rich Campfire smokiness, the Orientals lend a buttery spiced like incense, the VA adds a bit of grassy sweetness, the Perique is very slight and tangy. It’s not a powerhouse in strength, but is very sating. Far better, more complex and stronger than Star of the East. This has a lot of Latakia, and for those that like Pirate Kake, this is a nice rotation. Unlike Pirate Kake, it’s not as smooth of flavor - the components add some sharpness, whereas PK is soft and smooth. Look at it this way; MC is a fresh can of Coke, whereas PK is an opened can of Coke that’s been sitting out all day. Medium body, flavor and nicotine.
Cornell & Diehl - Mad Fiddler Flake 2oz
Bready, Sesame and Mushrooms
Like eating a full bodied bread with mushrooms and sesame seed paste. Not my thing. Got a full tin and not sure how to unload it. Nicotine is light, body is medium, flavor is slightly stronger than medium.
Cornell & Diehl - Burley Flake #3 2oz
Nutty, Oak, Black Pepper
Burley’s are nutty, and deeply earthy; Dark Fired provides oak and black pepper; VA lends a little sweetness with a bready note; perique is tangy, mushroomy. Medium-strong nicotine, flavor and body.
Cornell & Diehl - Burley Flake #2 2oz
Nutty & Bready Sweet
Burley’s are nutty, grassy and deeply earthy – good representation of light to dark spectrum. VA is sweet and bready. It’s a traditional solid VA/BUR, and has a good old-timey flavor smoked slowly, which is perhaps too organic or pure. Resembles Pegasus in a Flake form. Solani Silver is better, but it also has a topping. It’s a little rough, as with most C&D, and this, as VA/BUR goes, is average and doesn’t warrant shelf space in the cellar. Not as stout as #1 and #3. Medium-strong nicotine, flavor and body.
Peterson - Early Morning Pipe 50g
Toasted Bread, Tangy Spices, Caramelized Smoky Sweetness
EMP touches all the right notes for me; it’s citrusy at first light, lightly spiced with Orientals that balance nicely against the predominate toasted bread and caramelized sweetness of the Virginias. The Latakia is at best 20%... possibly even 10%, but it contributes a very soft smokiness. You’ll not find the sour, woody incense like Orientals in your face, but they do lend a subtle spice and sweet tanginess to the bready Virginias. The flavor and strength are just shy of medium, and the nicotine is too, which I find perplexing as Virginia isn’t typically that high. One of my favorite anytime smokes, and it appears for others too as they’re always out of stock. Wish they’d reintroduce this in bulk like before.
Cornell & Diehl - White Burley
Grassy, Nutty, Hints of Cocoa - Lacks the Richness of Dark Burley
White Burley has a decidedly grassy and hay like flavor and lacks the richness of darker types. Whereas the green-stemmed (darker) varieties have a more pronounced nuttiness and dark cocoa flavor, you’ll find that nuttiness in the White, albeit a mild nuttiness, like fresh pecans vs toasted walnuts. Additionally, White lacks the burnt cocoa and bitter-sweet molasses. I actually prefer this as an everyday burley smoked by itself and it mixes wonderfully with Latakia and brighter Virginia’s to yield a fresher and brighter smoke. Just as we get other dimensions in Virginia; yellow, mahogany (air-cured) and red… you also get variation of richness with burley – white to dark. The body is still there and contributes a full and silky mouthfeel, though the strength, flavor and nicotine are between mild and medium.
F & K - Lancer Slices
Tastes like VA and Latakia
Sweet creosote. Lancer's Slices is a classic English flake with a grassy-sweet and heavily-fired Latakia. The Latakia has a very strong dry, woody creosote taste and at times overpowers the Virginia. The Latakia isn't your typical Latakia... it's heavily fired, and this is a negative to the more common medium fired we so often encounter. It’s a descent alternative, to many of the Sam Gawith Latakia flakes, which are so difficult to find. A tad stronger in nicotine, which is unexpected. It's an inconsistent VA/LAT flake that works any time of year. Nic is 3 out of 5.
Cornell & Diehl - Redburn 8oz
Good Dessert Burley Cake
Blackstrap Molasses and Rummy sweet. The Dark rum provides a nuance of varied spices and the molasses is dark and sweet. The burley is nutty, earthy, smooth, and increases the body of the mixture; Dark Fired provides oak and black pepper; Virginia lends a bready pastry like flavor with just a touch of earthy sweet hay. This is a good sweet and sating burley cake best smoked on a full stomach after a meal. You can detect the rum in this as similar to Black Frigate. Although the taste of Redburn is very similar to Pegasus, it's sweeter. One of the better one’s I’ve had and plan to keep some around for a while. Good Autumnal profile and excellent after meals. Medium body and flavor, though the nicotine is 4.5 out of 5... you’ve been warned.
Cornell & Diehl - Captain Bob's Blend
Grape Soda English with sewer-like Retro
Bad... bad, bad stuff. It's an English flavored with grape. I got a sewage like note on the retro. Used a cob to try this one... thank goodness as it would've ghosted my briar with that grapy sewer aroma. Man, this one's bad. I don’t get the good reviews... this isn’t pipe tobacco, this is an abomination!
Cornell & Diehl - Haunted Bookshop
I love the high nicotine of C&D mixtures, and am a bit of a burleyphile. So it’s little wonder that I gravitate towards C&D and really admire C&D’s use of burley in most all of their products. I just can’t get past the Perique. It has a sweaty gym sock, rancid mushroom, toe-jam note to me. The use of large amounts of Dark Burley in HBS makes this one a deeply earthy mix to be sipped, and the fungus like Perique stays in my nose and cloyingly stays on my clothes. It’s not a bad smoke, I just can’t do the Perique. Medium flavor and nicotine.
Cornell & Diehl - Pirate Kake 2oz
Creamy, Smoky and Mild
Wow... why has it taken me so long to try this. It’s not complex, and perhaps a bit too linear for some. But it’s so well constructed with only 3, very high quality components. I expected the Latakia to be overwhelming, but surprisingly it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly a lat bomb, and smokiness abounds, but it’s a soft, smooth, mild creamy smoke with a cedar like incense quality. Woody sweet, unlike the charismatic strong and musty sweetness of Cyprian. This is remarkably similar to a Syrian quality Latakia. Not sure how C&D did it. The Turkish/orientals are dry, floral and offer a spice fruit sweetness. Burley provides body, added smoothness and aids in the creamy mouth-feel. This is a remarkably high quality mix... extremely well constructed using high quality components. Penzance, a highly overrated Esoteric mix, has nothing on this... this is perhaps among the finest Latakia mixture I’ve ever smoked. Nicotine is mild, but the body and taste are medium.
Cornell & Diehl - Burley Ribbon Cut
A Jacked Prince Albert
Imagine if Prince Albert benched 450, tore the sleeves off his suit coat and allowed his beard to grow more Viking-like... Prince Albert is more of a mild cavendish style burley with a pronounced topping of cocoa and bourbon, whereas C&D BRC is a stout and untopped burley that possesses hints of burnt cocoa and anisette. It isn’t as smooth as PA, and will tingle the nose on the retro. This is a quality burley which, unlike PA, doesn’t produce the occasional off gassing or ammonia drift. It’s lighter than C&D Cube Cut Burley by a smidgen, and has more flavor as well. By itself, it’s in the middle of mild to moderate in strength, flavor and nicotine. I like to mix C&D BRC 50/50 with Prince Albert; it kicks up the Prince Albert with a quality leaf yielding a flavorful, medium strength burley. Combining the two offers cocoa, bourbon and anisette… very similar to a lighter - loose leaf version of Solani Aged Burley Flake. 3 stars as I find this suited to an an everyday smoke more so than the cube cut, which is stouter and more for blending. In order of ascending strength: 1. C&D White Burley 2. C&D Ribbon Cut Burley 3. C&D Cube Cut Burley 4. C&D Dark Burley
Mac Baren - Burley: London Blend 3.5oz
Typical MacBaren Bite
It bites, as all standard Mac Baren product does. I dry it, smoke slow, often sip my tobacco to keep flavor over smoke, but this... I want to like it, but MB has once again loaded it with a multitude of additives. HH Product is great, but I’m done with their OTHER products - tired of wasting money and fighting the bite. Chasing the allure of a product simply because it’s a small release, ‘bit’ me as well. Their HH Burely Flake is the standard, the pinnacle of Burley, so why bother with an inferior burley? I just don’t get all the positive reviews on this one... perhaps folks are attempting to hide their disappointment and justify their purchase?
Cornell & Diehl - Red Virginia Cavendish
Bready, Herbal and Slightly Sweet
Expensive, but given the labor and time it takes to makes this… understandable. This is a quality leaf component that deserves recognition. Notes of yeast bread, an unidentifiable herbal note and a touch of sugar. Maybe that herbal thing is hay? It’s smooth and mellow as is typical with Cavendish. Gets woody further into the smoke and tamping brings forth a bit of spice and ash. It’s a component… this just isn’t a stand-alone product to me. It yields a lightly sweetened herbal quality and smoothness to any mixture/blend. I mixed it with C&D Ribbon Cut Burley and it countered the tannic earthiness with herbal sweetness. It matches the darker and deeper tones of the burley and smoothed and spread the varied notes on the palate. Mild to medium body. Nicotine is between mild and medium.
Cornell & Diehl - Cube Cut Burley
Quality Burley with Light and Dark Profile
This burley runs the gamut on the burley note profile from light to dark; it has the brighter walnut like tannic qualities as well as the fermented dark earthiness of composted leaf litter. It doesn’t possess the added cocoa or bourbon notes found in Prince Albert, but the quality is so much higher in this that it doesn’t require it. It possesses natural notes of burnt cocoa, black pepper and walnuts (both bitter and sweet). It’s a more elegant and natural version of Prince Albert, with a kick of nicotine. Smoked slow with a light ember will reward you with all the wonderful flavor profiles burley offers and does so with more sweetness. For the price and ease of loading (cube cut is without a doubt the easiest to simply dip and scoop), I prefer this to Solani Aged Burley Flake - though Solani offers a flavor explosion, albeit added flavor. A good quality component for mixtures/blends, and excellent on its own if you love burley. Moderate to full body and the nicotine level is medium.
Cornell & Diehl - Dark Burley
Smooth and Strongly Fermented
This fermented and almost composted burley possesses an incredibly deep earthiness. It’s almost devoid of many of the higher tannic notes often noted in burley, but still possesses a slight, but much smoother nuttiness alongside burnt cocoa and a spice I can’t quite place. Anyone who’s tasted many of the burley-based C&D blends like Old Joe Krantz or Haunted Bookshop, will immediately recognize this Dark Burley profile within them. It’s STRONG in body – almost too strong to smoke by itself, and will tingle your nose on the retro. This is one for mixes/blends. While many may look at this and wonder, “Is this a stronger version of Prince Albert?” No, it’s not. It just doesn’t possess the nuance that unfermented burley offers, it’s strictly to add body and smoothness to a mixture/blend. On it's own, it's an above average leaf, but in it's element within mixtures, this can take harsh and light bodied blends to another level. Nicotine is just on the stronger side of medium.
Solani - Aged Burley Flake - 656 50g
A very good deeply fermented and semi-sweet burley blend containing invert sugar, licorice, propylene glycol and finally just a dab of cocoa, coffee and molasses flavoring. These must be reported and are available to the public via BMEL. Mac Baren HH Burley Flake is pretty darn good too, but it’s a bit lighter and purer tasting burley flake when compared to Solani ABF. HHBF is also a daily smoke – unlike ABF. The tannic quality associated with the burley is less pronounced in ABF as the fermentation and flavorings have smoothed if not sublimated this. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different and not what we’ve come to expect from burley. The dark burley has been fermented with moisture and heat, and shines brilliantly in this with a deep earthy note. The leaf is stout and tingles the nose, with the white burly offering a little sharpness at time. It’s more for special occasions rather than a daily thing. Contrary to what some may think or say, burley isn’t going to change much over time. So aging isn’t going to alter this too terribly much. It’s NOT a nicotine powerhouse as the nic level is on the lesser side of moderate. It’s a 5 star burley, but I’m taking a star back due to price... HH Burley Flake is every bit as good, if not better, and is easier on your wallet.
Cornell & Diehl - Billy Budd
Smoky, Creamy, Subtle Sweet/Savory, Full-Flavor
Latakia is incense-like; woody and smoky, the cigar leaf supports it with a deep and creamy earthiness, and adds a touch of nutmeg or allspice like spice (think Turkish/oriental without the sour, dry woodiness).The Virginia leaf is grassy and lends a sweetness to the savory Latakia/cigar leaf. Burley adds a meaty tannic quality and aids the cigar leaf with thick mouthfuls of smoke. My goodness. I’m not a cigar fan and don’t care for the aroma of cigars, but this... this is rich, complex, thick, sweet and savory. When we see the term “chewing smoke”, this mixture provides the basis for it. The cigar leaf is barely noticeable in room note for me, as I stated earlier that I don’t care for that smell, so this is definitely okay in my book. I’ll definitely be ordering more of this for the cellar. It’s a top 10 for me and among the better English along side Early Morning Pipe, Westminster and Abington. It’s a very relaxing smoke and especially suited in flavor and nicotine to compliment a hearty steak dinner and provide a sated feeling. Full body, full flavor, medium nicotine.
Cornell & Diehl - Pegasus
Sweet and Nutty
Oh my… how do I begin? First, I love a good Virginia-Burley mix; the dry acridity of burley is offset by the sugars of Virginia leaf. Conversely, the burley provides body, mouth feel and that woody, walnut-like tannin that corresponds so well with the more sharp but sweet hay-like note of Virginia. This ying/yang thing on a VA/BUR mix in which one picks up where the other falls down, translates to a solid, consistent depth of flavor, body and mechanics. There’s a good dose of sweetness; a smooth, malty, toasted and oat-like nuttiness from the 3 burleys which play all along the spectrum from light to dark burley flavors. Intermittently, there’s a sharpness (not roughness) that breaks the monotony. The Virginias are balanced in citrusy sweetness/tartness and the temperate, earthy hay-like note of the two Virginia leaf is idyllic and perfectly balanced with the woody burleys. The virginia remain in the background at first, and progressively get stronger until the end, at which time they step forward to mitigate the ashiness often associated with Burley. The Cavendish helps to tone down any high notes between the two contrasting leaf types and lends a smooth semi sweet quality to an already tranquil blend. Good finish... not the best I've experienced, but it's certainly one of the better ones. The retro reminds you that this mixture is moderate in strength and full in body – a quality C&D is known for and I love it. The nicotine is squarely in the middle; it will satisfy most by the end of the session and perhaps more by mid bowl.
Mac Baren - HH Burley Flake 1.75oz
Milder than ABF, equal in quality, greater in value
I noticed on Tobacco Reviews where TallPuffO’Burley states Solani Aged Burley Flake had no additives... and yet claims HHBF does. Well, according to mandated reporting by the EU: ABF DOES contain flavoring of coffee, licorice, cocoa and sugar, and PG, while HH contains sugar, licorice and a mild flavoring. Mac Baren Burley Flake is a very natural tasting Virgina/Burley with a refined and elegant blend of toasted walnuts, oak, earth, black strap molasses and hay. The Dark Fired offers a touch of oak spice, and any bitter acridity associated with the DF is offset with a lightly applied dark molasses - that dark sweetness is very natural tasting. Within the flavor spectrum of burley, this has a medium to medium/dark flavor profile, whereas Solani is definitely in the darker, richer and more robust end of the spectrum. This lends itself well to an ‘all-day’ kind of smoke, but still possesses a bit of dark richness that satisfies. If you find Solani a little overbearing and too rich at times, HHBF is a great substitute. Taste and body are light to medium while the nicotine is mild. On price and flavor, HHBF is of greater value. Will buy this by the pound. Here's the comparison to Aged Burley Flake: ABF: Dark burley spectrum - full body. Very sweet (artificial taste), smooth, fermented. $$$ HHBF: Med burley spectrum - light/med body. Semi-sweet (natural taste), slight sharpness due to white burley, oak spice from dark fired. $$
Peterson - Royal Yacht 50g
Elegant, Fermented, Sweet & Smoky
Imagine the difference in taste between a ripe plum and a plum stewed with a bit of sugar, vanilla and orange rind… that’s the difference you get here. Royal Yacht is a refined Virginia blend which I would describe as elegant, sweet, mellow and a bit smoky. There’s a prune juice or port wine like note that goes very well with the Virginia leaf. Perhaps some stoved Virginia is in this, which might explain the smoky, caramelized, fermented fruit note. It’s moderately fermented fruit sweet with a slight tang, and I’m picking up a woody smokiness. Its medium body, medium to full flavor, and the nicotine is above average for a supposedly straight Virginia blend. I’d place this one in the medium category as the nicotine level really picks up mid bowl. The Virginia’s used are of high quality, and the added flavor doesn’t sublimate the leaf but rather compliments it very well; adding a little more sweetness and fruitiness. If you’re seeking a straight Virginia that’s low in nicotine, is bready, hay like or with a fresh grassy character – look elsewhere. This one is for those that enjoy their Virginia’s fermented and with an ever so slight flavor-enhancing aromatic flair.
Peter Stokkebye - PS400 Luxury Navy Flake
Grassy, Malty, Bready… VA Sweet with Peppery Raisins
Rum (vanilla, allspice, cinnamon) and maple sugar sweet, slight licorice, grassy/bready/malty VA flavor are up front and bold at first light, and last 1/3 of the bowl. Afterwards, the rum flashes off and the hay-like notes of the VA, mixed with a slightly toasted and malted bread become more pronounced. There’s a bit of earth and wood as the profile deepens, which can be viewed as the ‘rough edges’, but no more evident than the perique, which is always noticeable and lends a tarry/raisin like flavor on the retro hale. Can bite if puffed too fast, and as with most VAs it burns hot. Mild - Mild/Med Flavor, body and nicotine. This lends itself to aging; The fresh, hay-like flavor of the Virginia ferments into a deeper earthy and malt-like sweetness with a smooth profile. Similar to Mac Baren Navy Flake in flavor, just without the Burley and sweeter.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - #7 Broken Flake
Floral Soap atop a Quality Virginia & Burley
Medium Body, medium/full flavor, mild/medium nicotine. If you enjoy spraying your tobacco with perfume and dousing it with soap, I think you’ll enjoy this. Sorry to be so blunt, but why ruin an obviously beautiful VA/BUR flake with floral oils? The Lakeland Essence (soapy perfume), doesn’t flash off and the taste remains consistent to the end – slightly sublimating the quality of leaf. Under the oils, I detect a fermented and tangy VA, while the Burley is mouth-filling and drying, the kind of dry akin to eating pecans or walnuts. It WILL ghost your pipe, and the broken flake will require drying or you’ll spend some time relighting quite a bit. One star as the VA and Burley are of good quality, for that split second you taste it at first light.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - #25 Mixture
Buttery, Sweet & Smoky with Low Nicotine
It’s quite remarkable that Mixture #25 hasn’t been reviewed yet. Though perhaps the reason being is that folks are attempting to keep this one low key so as to preserve supply. (Looking at you hoarders). G&H is perhaps the best value of any current offerings; high quality with bulk qty and pricing, and #25 is no exception. This closely resembles Peter Stokkeybye’s English Oriental Supreme, though with a slightly more fermented quality and the Black Leaf is of better quality. 53% Bright VA 17% Bright Burleys 10% Dark Sun Cured (Black Leaf) 20% Latakia This is incredibly well-balanced; the Black Leaf is buttery, woody, sweet and slightly minty, and steps forward just a tad more than the sweet and grassy VAs. Both are in almost perfect unison with the mildly nutty burley, which adds body, along side the creamy, smoky-sweet latakia. I can detect all within the same draw and are consistent to the end. Very smooth with few, if any rough edges. No Lakeland essence present. Good finish with a mild buttery/sweet aftertaste. Mild body & mild nicotine.
Gawith Hoggarth & Co. - Black & Brown
Molasses, Licorice, Smooth and Full... The Quintessential American Smoke
Ever wonder what it would taste like to smoke chewing tobacco? Extremely rich and deep molasses note with the slightest licorice, sweet, medium body, rich full flavor, moderate nicotine, cool and smooth smoking with an absolutely clean tobacco flavor. Without a doubt, one of the best finishes I’ve ever smoked. The lingering aftertaste is sweet and clean. If there was one tobacco that could be quintessential American, Black and Brown would be it... Hands down and without hesitation. Although the flavor is full, this is a medium bodied smoke. Burley and Virginia on a base of double fermented black Cavendish. That's right, this isn't the standard Cavendish encountered in the U.S., but rather Cavendish that's been double fermented. This special Cavendish produces an inherent sweetness and medium bodied tobacco profile while maintaining it's smooth and rich character. There’s absolutely no Lakeland (soapy floral essence) present in this as is typically found in G & H. Among my top 5. EDIT: I saw where some made reference to Captain Black White… not sure what context they’re referring to but this is NOTHING like Captain Black.
McConnell - Oriental 50g
Sugar (inverted), Propylene glycol, Glycerol, Flavoring. When considering the many additives in pipe tobacco today, McConnell (Kohlhase Kopp), uses relatively little. Oriental is a soft, sweet, oriental-forward English. While many may consider it a Balkan due to the ever so slightly forward nature of the Turkish, the quantity of Virginia and latakia places it squarely in the English category. The sugary Black Cavendish sweetens and softens the mixture of musty orientals, bready/yeasty virginia and smoky latakia. The latakia never screams for attention in this mixture, but rather whispers its creamy smokiness. Nicely balanced, mild flavor, mild body, low nicotine and sort of a candied English, if you will.
Edward G. Robinson - Edward G. Robinson's Pipe Blend 1.5oz
Similar in Taste to Early Morning Pipe
A semi-sweet, smooth, and mellow mixture of black cavendish, burley and a hint of creamy smokey/leathery latakia, with a prune juice topping and a hint of cinnamon or allspice. A predominantly balanced, but slightly alkaline mixture. The burley is up front and adds body with its woody, nutty, and slightly dry mouthfeel, though the slightest of alkalinity brought to bear by the burley, is balanced by the acidity of the slightly sweet black cavendish and dark prune-juice topping. The black cavendish smooths out the roughness, and I can’t tell if it’s sweetened with the fruit juice or the entire mix is topped, but it really doesn’t matter as the prune juice sweetens the mixture and contributes to the balance. Also, was I’m wondering if ‘Black Spice’ was used in part of the black cavendish as I get a cinnamon or allspice note. Although there’s just a smidgen of condimental latakia, this blend would be unremarkable without it. The latakia is supportive and always present with the lightest campfire note in the background. It contributes, though in the slightest, a smokiness that brings the entire mixture together. Left out too long to dry and the mixture may turn sour. A slightly better than average blend that many burley lovers will enjoy, and most English preferences will find similar but recognizably American. Last evening, I was smoking Peterson's Early Morning Pipe and thought is resembled EGR in taste. I immediately popped the tin of EGR, loaded a bowl and smoked both. Yep... EGR and Early Morning Pipe taste very similar. Though with the inconsistency of EGR, don't rely on it as a substitute. It certainly won't age as nicely and the dark-fruit taste will morph into sourness instead of the sweetness you encounter in the Virginias present in EMP.
Mac Baren - Navy Flake 3.5oz
Major Tongue Bite; Shallow, Sweet and Typical Mac Baren Flavor Added
The room note is the most heavenly I've ever smelled in 25 years of pipe smoking. WATER, PURIFIED, AND/OR DISTILLED AND/OR DEIONIZED AND/OR MINERAL, SUGAR (invert), ALCOHOL, ETHANOL, 1,2-PROPYLENGLYKOL, SORBITOL, SUCROSE, FROM SUGAR CANE, PUBLIC: FLAVOURS BELOW 0.5% W/W; Maple Sugar, RUM, Licorice, PROPYL-4-HYDROXYBENZOATE, BENZYL BENZOATE. Quite a few additives for a pipe tobacco. Licorice, maple sugar, alcohol. The virginia is young/green and hay-like. Burley is dry, acrid and nutty, slightly earthy. I would assume that the burley would add body, but the profile is flat considering the casings used. The cavendish is not sweet and smoothes most of the roughness. Average finish as the aftertaste lingers and sweetens the mouth, though a coated mouth accompanies the sweetness. Possibly from all the additives. It's a 3 - star mixture on taste alone. There's the slightest of rum flavor, which contributes to the vanilla, cinnamon and allspice flavor. As per usual, Mac Baren added alcohol, sorbital and a multitude of other additives, in addition to maple sugar. The alcohol isn't the rum I taste, but rather straight alcohol for anti-mold properties. Unfortunately, this contributes to a sterile taste and tongue bite. Also something MB adds to every mixture - licorice, and in great quantity. Licorice has a numbing mouth feel. Getting real tired of the same taste profile among this brand with licorice and alcohol... please stop. Navy Flake has a flat, sterile and very shallow flavor profile. The 'honey' that many note, is actually maple sugar. It's an odd flavor in comparison to honey, and I've grown tired of it's use in MB products. In combination with the other additives, it contributes to an overall unnatural flavor of the Flake. This is such a disappointment. Peter Stokkebeye 1931, is a premium alternative to this. 1931 possesses a deep, full and natural profile. It has a natural honey sweetness and has absolutely no bite. Had 1931 been offered in bulk, I'd buy 10 lbs of it. But considering the price of a 3.5 oz tin of 1931, I hoped NF would be an apt substitute as they're both manufactured by MB. I bought a pound of NF instead, and am now faced with the dilemma to figure out how I'm gonna work through this cruddy flake. Mac Baren needs to fix this. Please stop adding licorice to every damn product you make.
Peter Stokkebye - PS312 Toasted Burley
Caramelized Sugar, Nutmeg, Nutty... it can bite.
Rubbed flake, maple sugar sweet, nutty with a slight nutmeg spice-like flavor. Molasses, black liquorice and earthy autumn leaf litter note in the bag. Consistent flavor profile as the sweetness supersedes the typical bitterness encountered in burley. Room note is also surprisingly good for a burley. I suspect the liquorice was added during casing and the maple sugar added just prior to pressing and heating, creating a caramelized profile which is a dark sweetness that balances exceptionally well with burley. Due to it's rubbed-out flake form, it requires more re lights and more attention. Smoked slow or fast, nevertheless it'll bite the crap outta your tongue, much like Mac Baren. I enjoy the flavor, though the tongue bite and constant relights prevent me from enjoying the entire experience. It's a 2.5 star flavor but the mechanics and bite drop it 2 stars.
Sutliff - B21 Black Spice
Love the Spice!
B21 is smooth and has the inherent naturally sugary sweetness. It's characterized by cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, on a sweet base of smooth, black and cool burning leaf. Adding it to a mixture that requires a B.C. to unite other leaf and smooth rough edges, it contributes a warmth. Room note is sweet and spice-laden. B21 has such a great Autumnal profile.
Sutliff - 507-S Stoved Virginia
Pure, Deep, Carmelized Dark Fruit
Semi-fermented, earthy, tangy, semi-sweet, with a slight charred or carmelized sugar note. Still a touch of lemon rind in there, but you'll have to smoke it slow and search for it. While most VAs have a sweet, citrus, fresh hay like note, this one resembles a fermented sweet-feed or sweet silage. Cool, smooth, doesn't bite when smoked hard. No moisture in the bowl, flavor is consistent start to finish, clean, pure and deep flavored. Great by itself and will add depth to any mixture it's added. Is this the ghost of McClelland Dark Star? No... its better.
Cornell & Diehl - Autumn Evening
Too many flavors
*Updated 7/8/20: After leaving this cellared for almost a year and drying it substantially - it's remarkably improved. I'm no longer assaulted with a myriad of flavors; simply a maple oatmeal virginia with bourbon. Bourbon... no one, and I mean no one, does bourbon like C&D. Their bourbon flavoring is the best out there; strong and true to taste. The crispy dry Virginia Cavendish leaf is actually fairly stout in nicotine and has a pleasant finish. This is becoming a favorite after the initial disgust I had with it. Room note is maple syrup. I recommend drying this as it will improve. Oct 2019 - This has the potential to be a great aromatic; fragrant but with a tobacco forward flavor, and absolutely no goopy - overly topped leaf. Yet, it has so many toppings, it ruins it. Making a great aromatic borders on impossible... there's very few of them out there, and this one almost made it. The cut, moisture, leaf... they're all great, even the maple topping is fine. Where this one falls from its rank is the addition of whiskey, bourbon AND rum, combined with vanilla... 5 toppings is too many. Dial it back to 2 or 3, and it's in a class by itself.
Captain Black - Dark 12oz
Simple, mild aromatic
Nothing to write home about. This is a very mild BC with absolutely no tongue bite. It's a simple and very linear taste; think yeast rolls rising... not baking, bordering on the bland side. Sweetness only exists mildly, as yeast bread has that slight sweetness. It's not a sweetness you taste, but rather a sweetness you associate with yeasty bread. The aroma is good; light not heavy and akin to stale raisins, white bread and faint leather. It's a good inexpensive tobacco for folks that like to puff a lot, aren't chasing a true tobacco taste, and are mindful of others being offended by the smell of smoking. It smokes incredibly smooth, the smoothest of any tobacco I've ever smoked... I puffed and puffed and it simply wouldn't bite. I'm keeping a large tin as I like the simplicity of the aromatic, the smoothness on the tongue, and the yeasty taste. If you like aromatics, I think you'll like this for the simplicity and smoothness. If you enjoy the complexity of English or Balkans... you might not appreciate the linear taste.