Peterson - Hyde Park 50g
This is probably Peterson's best blend. It is as cool a smoke as you will find, and has no bite at all--or detectable PG. Absolutely delightful. But it is so much like the current St. Bruno offering that one has to wonder if STG is double or triple branding some tobaccos. This has a slightly deeper taste than St, Bruno but that would be the result of the much tighter packaging. Amphora's new Burley blend is identical to a couple of others (except in price). I wish this matched the older St. Bruno rather than the new offering. It is very good, but there is no "Lakeland" quality in either. This is also quite like Peterson's Sherlock Holmes as well--except for one possible component. Of course, that makes economic sense. But do take care to see if some similar STG blends are not the same, identical or near identical products at different price points. Amphora Burley, for example, is very close to MacBaren's Burley Flake at a much nicer price. Looser packaging does have some bearing on taste. I will buy this again and leave St. Bruno alone.
Peter Stokkebye - PS41 Cube Cut
I swear Peter Stokkebye could make a lap dog bite. A quality looking beautiful cube cut that smokes hot, has little flavor, and bites like a rabid hound. Never again.
Cornell & Diehl - Crooner
I cannot attest to how close this is to Bing Crosby's personal blend--seems like he would have had it blended at Kramers, very near his home. But it is an exceptional burley blend. The cube cut is perfect and the taste is great--subtle sweetness and solid tobacco flavor. Burns slow with no bite.
Stanwell - Vanilla 50g
Not much going on
It does not bite. There is very little flavor--and what there is is just tobacco. Not bad but it has nothing to do with vanilla. With hundred pretty good vanillas out there (some at really low prices) this stuff is pointless.
St. Bruno - Ready Rubbed 1.75oz
But is it St. Bruno?
This is a very good rubbed flake. Very high quality. BUT...It barely resembles St. Bruno. The flake is completely different, the texture is completely different. The Lakeland cover is all but absent. This is the slowest smoking tobacco I have ever encountered--smoke it a small pipe unless you want a two hour smoke. St. Bruno was a paper thin flake with visible sugar crystals--again, here entirely absent. It tastes like St. Bruno did after the floral notes burned off. I need some Condor, I guess. Very good on its own merit but no Cigar.
Daughters & Ryan - Cockstrong 3.5oz
Exceptional in every way
If this tastes like a cigarette, then these people are smoking some excellent cigarettes! This is a generic blend in the very best sense of the word--general, universal, catholic, balanced. It has perfect balance--slightly sweet, very slightly brackish, earthy, nutty. This stuff is amazing at this price. If you want to play with it, it takes flavors very, very well. It could be an RYO if you wanted a killer quality cigarette--though very hard to inhale. This blend will not bite. It is not a blend focused on any one characteristic, but is simply a grand slam for a genuinely delicious, easy, tame, reasonably strong blend. Given how well it accepts toppings, and how well it mixes with almost anything, and how well it stands alone, it may be my favorite blend. Versatility is king. Update: I have used this now with molasses and various extracts (particularly anise) to make quite credible mock- ups of Velvet, Carter Hall, and SWR regular. Next I will add some rose water and coriander to try for a Lakeland effect.
John Cotton's - Smyrna 1.75oz
Not how I remember it
This is good. But really just another medium English/Balkan blend. The original had a really unique under sweetness that was really amazing--whatever that was it seems missing here. It smokes to the bottom every time. I am going to let it age.
Lane Limited - Punch 1.75oz
It is what it says it is
I have to be careful here not to offer criticism of the blend for being what it claims to be. It has a lot of latakia, but maybe some unflavored black Cavendish as well. For me, it is just too one dimensional. I could see using a pinch to boost smokiness in some other Latakia -anemic blend. Smokes pretty cool and to the bottom of the bowl. It just needs something more. Go too crazy on it and it can bite.