Cornell & Diehl - King Cake 2oz
Laissez bon temps rouler
I cracked a tin of King Cake at the start of Carnival Season this year. The tin note really does smell like king cake, so much so that it took me back to mardi gras past, eating some breakfast king cake from Sucre in my treme rental house on fat tuesday morning. The cut is ribbon with some darker chunks here and there pressed into an easy to break up crumble cake. Smokes cool and sweet, with a hazelnutty topping that tastes very much like the sweet pastry this blend is named after. Nice tang from the red virginias and a little spice from the perique rounds out this blend. I'm going to make this one a yearly tradition around this time of year.
Peterson - Irish Flake 50g
Strong, smoky perfection
I rotate through a lot of different tobaccos, rarely smoking the same thing for more than 2 or 3 days in a row. I've been smoking at least 1 bowl of this tobacco every day for over a month now and I don't see that stopping any time soon. Strong in nicotine, you'll want to give this tobacco its proper respect; eat beforehand or else be prepared for a shamanic experience. The flavor is very strong and if you smoke slowly you will coax some serious smoky depth and complexity along with a little molasses sweetness from the dark fired burlies. There's a slightly spicy and mildly bitter anise casing that permeates the smoke but does not dominate it, which balances the smoky top notes of the dark fired burly perfectly. Mixes extremely well with straight virginia flakes, my favorite way to smoke it at the moment is a 1:2 mix of Irish Flake and Capstan. Outstanding quality tobacco.
Cornell & Diehl - Hearthside 2oz
Bland, Stale Latakia Flavor
I tried to like this blend. After a couple of smokes, all I really got was a stale latakia flavor with some bitter chocolate aroma. I'll never have a reason to smoke more of this, with so many other good latakia blends in my cellar. I tossed the tin :(
Sutliff - Cringle Flake 1.5oz
Like smoking a fruitcake
Sutliff knocked it out of the park with this one. A crumbly flake, very moist in the tin. Strong tin note of vinegar. Deep, rich fruit flavors in the first third of the bowl, followed by deep rich and bready virginia flavor and aroma in the middle. Mulled wine and citrus notes grace the finish. Highly recommended, get some while you can.
Toscano - Antico
Good and stanky
These are famously the cigars smoked by Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns. There's a good reason Sergio Leone chose these for The Man with No Name. They're an Italian tradition, a rather unique cigar invented in Italy and enjoyed by common man and aristocrats alike. They're made of fermented Kentucky filler and wrapped in a stout Kentucky leaf. The Anticos are a full bodied, musty, woody and spicy smoke that has a pungent flavor and aroma. You can cut them in half and enjoy two half hour smokes, or just smoke the whole thing (my favorite way to enjoy them). They're dry aged, no need for a humidor. A good, strong smoke with a stank that will ensure you have some quiet alone time to enjoy it.
Cornell & Diehl - Corn Cob Pipe and A Button Nose 2oz
Smells Good, Tastes OK
Like most aromatics, this delivers a powerful smell but little in the way of flavor. Reminds me of Mac Baren 7 Seas. Festive aroma that is good for smoking around others, but the flavor and body leaves me wanting.
Pipe Accessories - Peterson Combo 2 Pipe Tobacco Pouch
Just as good as the 1 pipe version
The same buttery leather and thoughtful design as the 1 pipe combo pouch from Peterson. Slightly larger in size, holds more tobacco. The pipe compartment is nice, unzips fully to expose 4 leather loops for keeping your pipes secure. To be honest I don't put more than one pipe in there at a time. You can fit two briars, but the fit is tight and I worry a good bump would possibly damage the stems. However, this larger compartment is good for carrying larger pipes that won't fit in the 1 pipe version of this pouch. I guess you could comfortably fit two small briars in there without them touching, but in any case this is a fine pouch.
Pipe Accessories - Peterson 1 Pipe Tobacco Pouch
Best in class
High quality build and materials. Buttery soft leather and practical, thoughtful design make this the best tobacco pouch you can have. The tobacco pouch itself folds over so there is "latex on latex", keeping the tobacco fresher longer than other designs. The pipe compartment is big enough to fit most of my briars, up to my Savinelli 904, but is a little tight. The accessory compartment is big enough for a backup Bic, a pipe nail and some balsa filters. The tobacco pouch is big enough to hold about an ounce and a half of ribbon cut tobacco. Get one.
Pipe Accessories - Peterson Avoca 1 Pipe Combo
Buttery soft leather and practical features make Peterson pipe pouches best in class. I have several different ones. The "latex on latex" design of the tobacco pouch keeps your leaf moist. This Avoca design is good -- it's mostly just aesthetic, not drastically different from the regular pouch design -- but I honestly am not in love with the magnetic fasteners on this vs the standard snaps on the regular Peterson pouches. Once the magnets are engaged the flap on the pouch stays securely fastened, but getting the snaps to line up is finicky, especially in low-light situations. The decorative zipper pull is also a bit much and can get snagged on other stuff if you put this pouch in a backpack etc. Despite these minor gripes -- for which I deduct half a star -- I love this pouch and use it regularly.
Peterson - Elizabethan Mixture 50g
This, in my opinion, is a firmly "middle of the road" VaPer. Tin note of raisin bran, smokes sweet and vaguely fruity. No particular flavors stand out from the constituent tobaccos. The perique is barely noticeable and the virginias are very mild. I suspect the flavors will improve with age. EDIT: I smoked another bowl this afternoon from a cob after letting the tobacco sit in a jar for a few weeks. You know, this blend isn't too bad. I still think it's middle of the road, but it packs enough mellow flavor that I added another star. I could see myself going to this tobacco for afternoon smokes when I'm not craving anything in particular.
Pipe Tools & Supplies - 8deco Lucky 8 Tamper Hot Cocoa
The shape of the tamping foot is perfect. It's concave and the edges are sharp, which helps to keep the tobacco burning evenly after tamping. All 8Deco tamps have this feature so I'd highly recommend any of them. After getting this tamp I find I need to relight far less often. The handle design is nice looking, kind of has a 3D effect with the little bubbles floating in black. The built in dottle pick is an added bonus. I wish I'd gotten one of these when I first started smoking pipes, it's a game changer.
CAO - Eileen's Dream Cigarillos
Nice mild smoke
The cream, chocolate and coconut flavors are noticeable in the leaf wrapper, room note and retrohale. The filler is a good dominican leaf that delivers a smooth and mild smoke. I was expecting an overly sweet flavor but what you get is a very pleasant, high quality cigar. A little half hour of heaven.
Home Fragrance - Lampe Berger Mystery Patchouli 1000ml
Earthy, spicy and dare I say Manly
This effusion oil is probably my favorite from Lampe Berger. The patchouli is present but not overbearing, supported by a layer of woody and earthy undertones. Slight floral smell, but not cloyingly sweet. Where some of the other Lampe Berger scents are a bit "old lady" for me, this one is rather musky and manly. Good stuff.
Home Fragrance - Lampe Berger Charleston 500ml
Good smell, just not for everyone
I'm particularly sensitive to floral fragrances. I don't know what it is, but I just don't like flowery perfume smells. This effusion oil, as it's burning, smells strongly floral to me with a dominating cinnamon top note, lots of floral mid tones and some earthy, woody bottom notes. It's not unpleasant, and it leaves a very nice long lasting smell after the lamp is extinguished. It's a good smell, but be aware of the strong floral scent if you're sensitive to that sort of thing.
Home Fragrance - Lampe Berger Cube Frosted Lamp
Far more than an air freshener
These lamps are completely different from a normal essential oil diffuser or air freshener. Over the years I've used just about everything to make the house smell good, but most solutions just add a scent to the air. These Lampe Berger lamps are said to ionize the air, create ozone and oxygenate the environment. Before I tried it myself I was doubtful of these claims, but I've since found a scientific study that proved these claims and more. These lamps kill dust mites and bacteria, and really do oxygenate, ionize and create ozone. When you run the lamp in your home it changes the environment far beyond just adding a smell to the room. It's clean air that you can feel. I love this thing and would recommend it to anyone.
Toscano - Toscanello Aroma Cioccolato
Tasty and Stanky
These half cheroots have the characteristic sweet, musty Toscano "fermented tobacco" taste and aroma with a good dose of chocolate over the top. As one person said of Toscanos, "they taste great, but look and smell like dog sh*t". These smell more like chocolate dog sh*t, but taste pretty damn good. Thick, tough wrapper stands up to chewing and burns a little uneven. Gives you a quick half hour smoke. I like them.
Mac Baren - HH Old Dark Fired 3.5oz
Delicious Strips of Smoky Magic
Smoky and sweet, kind of like smoking a strip of bacon in your pipe. I'm a big fan of this one. Medium nicotine kick, medium full flavor, smoky room note. It's also fun to mix this with other blends. I'll always have some of this on hand from now on.
Lighters - Kiribi Kabuto Short Black Nickel
I've had mine for about two months now and use it every day. I was using my Zippo and disposable Bic lighters before and the 90 degree angle on the flame is a real game changer. The small size is very comfortable to carry in a pocket, but still substantial in the hand to make lighting easy. Good quality construction and a 2 year warranty. If you're even looking at this review right now, do yourself a favor and get one of these.
Hearth & Home - Viprati 1.75oz
Sweet, grassy, bready virginias and a healthy dose of spicy perique. This has more going on than most VaPers I've tried. Moisture level was perfect out of the tin. Aroma from the tin is sweet, earthy and fruity. I'm looking forward to smoking more of this one.
Nat Sherman - Tabac Sherman Blend # 536 2oz
Just About Perfect
A delicious, perfectly balanced Balkan/English blend. Smooth, creamy and rich like butter. Subtle and complex, sweet and smoky. I've been spreading the gospel of #536 to anyone who'll listen. Do yourself a favor and buy a few tins.
Dan Tobacco - Blue Note 50g
One of the few aros I've tried that tastes almost exactly like it smells. Strong berry aroma in the tin, good amount of that same flavor in the smoke. Needs a bit of drying time and a slow cadence, but you'll be richly rewarded for the effort. I'll always have some handy.
Mac Baren - Mixture: Scottish Blend 100g
A category of its own
This is technically an aromatic. Smells of honey and maple and definitely smokes sweet with a bready, sweet room note. However, unlike most aromatics this one is all about the flavor. Tastes great from start to finish and with so many tobaccos in the blend, the flavor changes throughout the bowl. Great tobacco and mixes well with other blends to sweeten them up.
Mac Baren - Vanilla Cream 100g
Sweet, all around good aromatic
I picked up some of this a couple of months ago. I cracked the tin open to have a look and smell. Very strong, sweet vanilla tin note like a vanilla cupcake with buttercream. Similar chunky cut to Mac Baren's Scottish Mixture, like nice little twigs. I jarred it up and left it alone until this afternoon when I was craving a sweet afternoon smoke. I'm thoroughly pleased with this tobacco. Packs and lights easily, requiring very little tamping and only one relight at the bottom 1/3 of the bowl. Medium body to the smoke. I don't usually expect tons of flavor from aromatics, but this one delivers (like other Mac Baren aromatics I've had). Mild vanilla notes and sweet, bready notes from the virginias. Room note is like a cake baking. Mild nic hit. This is definitely one I'll revisit when I have that sweet craving, or want to smoke around others who would appreciate the heavenly smell.
Peterson - Early Morning Pipe 50g
A fine morning smoke
Sweet virginias, mildly spicy orientals and a kiss of smoky latakia make this a good wake up tobacco. This isn't my absolute favorite blend of all time, but it's one that I smoke nearly every day. It's invigorating and satisfying, like eggs, bacon, toast and a glass of orange juice.
Peterson - My Mixture 965 50g
Very Good "Medium" English Blend
A fine, smoky english blend with a good but not overwhelming latakia punch. The orientals and latakia are fairly well balanced, treading the line between a full bodied english or a really smoky balkan blend. I'd say this falls squarely in the middle in terms of strength and flavor between Early Morning Pipe and Nightcap. This can be an all day smoke and is one of my favorite blends. The new Peterson tins could use some more aging though, so I've bought a few and squirreled them away.
G. L. Pease - Quiet Nights 2oz
This is one of the most intensely delicious tobaccos I've had. It reminds me so much of BBQ, from the appearance of the flake to the rich, sweet smoky aroma in the tin, it takes all my willpower to not just put it on a bun and eat it. This is my favorite end of the day smoke, knocking Nightcap squarely off its pedestal. No need to rub it, just grab a wad and stuff it into the bowl and you'll be treated with a long, slow, contemplative smoke that has no equal.
Hearth & Home - Blackhouse 1.75oz
Smooth, full bodied, rich, sweet and creamy smoke. This tobacco might just be my favorite blend. I've been smoking at least 1 bowl of this every day for the last couple of weeks and I'm not even close to getting tired of it. Deeply satisfying, but with a pleasant room note. I can't really say anything bad about this tobacco at all.
Lane Limited - Burley and Black
Smells great in the bag. Soaked in propylene glycol to the point where I left the bag on my kitchen counter for a month and the tobacco is the same moisture level as when I bought it. Close to zero flavor, smoking this is more like vaping than smoking pipe tobacco (especially with the PG, it's probably not far off from vaping). Room note is pretty good, not as strong as just leaving the tobacco on your counter though. There are lots of other blends that do this kind of thing better, Mac Baren 7 Seas comes to mind. No nic hit, no body to the smoke. Thoroughly unsatisfying, but at least it's cheap.
Lane Limited - Very Cherry
It's very cherry
I ordered 2 oz of this along with some Lane Burley & Black when I was first getting into pipe smoking. I opened the bag and whoosh, powerful cherry aroma. Lane did not go light on the cherry topping here. That's really all you can smell; there isn't a tobacco aroma at all from the bag. I was reluctant to even smoke it from fear of ghosting my pipes with the strong flavor. I was underwhelmed by Burley & Black and quickly started a journey to find other tastier blends, better aromatics and just higher quality tobacco in general. I actually left this and the Burley & Black sitting in their plastic bags on my counter top for a month while I explored and built up my collection of other blends. I basically used these two blends as air fresheners (they both smell really good). The time spent drying did both of these tobaccos some good, but they both have so much propylene glycol in them that they never fully dried out and still bite no matter how slow your cadence. A month on the counter in a plastic bag, and both tobaccos were almost the same moisture level as when I first bought them! Anyway, I ended up jarring an ounce of Very Cherry and mixing the other ounce with about 3 ounces of the Burley & Black. I believe this is Very Cherry's true purpose for existing, as a condiment tobacco to mix with other lackluster tobaccos to give them some oomph. Burley & Black is pretty boring, but with a bit of this mixed in it at least tastes a little bit like cherries. Room note is very cherry. Flavor is very cherry. The tobacco is true to its name. I'll hang onto the other ounce in case I want to add cherry flavor to something else.