Kramer's - Father Dempsey
Hits all the right notes for me
I ordered some and cellared it for six months. It hits all the right notes for me. The ribbon is nice, large, and even, and you can tell at first site that the leaf is high quality. The tin note is smoky and spicy, the latakia and orientals are really well balanced in this one. It's a lot like Sutliff Old Professor, but it's better because it doesn't have that Sutliff wet casing and because it smokes and tastes better overall. I air dry it for about 25 minutes and that seems perfect, it is not a very wet tobacco. It's easy to pack exactly like you want it. It smokes cool and even. I don't seem to have to relight it much at all, and only near the bottom of the bowl. The flavor is, well, balanced. Sorry to be repetitive on that, but it's just true. The Latakia and Orientals just seem in perfect harmony, both are always there and about even. The Virginia seems high quality too. It's not as prominent as the others as far as flavor goes, but it seems perfect. Honestly, this is at the top of my list for cellaring, now I'd like to see what a year or two would do for it. So flavorful, so smoky, so easy to work with, it's an instant hit for me (and I have a TON of experience with English and Balkans).
Mac Baren - Scottish Mixture
Top tier, great price
Great, high quality components. The Virginia seems the main thing, with burley and Cavendish merely complementing it. There's a mild sweetness, but it doesn't overtake the pleasantness of the natural flavors. This smokes fabulous when air dried some. Top tier.
Peter Stokkebye - PS402 Luxury Twist Flake
High quality Virginia
4 / 5 stars. Though Virginias aren't my go-to, I do find I like Vaper flakes and coins. This is a high quality Virginia flake. A briar full gets better and better. If you slightly rub it out a bit and let it dry, it needs no relight. Delightful. I cellared a jar, I'll add more thoughts after a year.
Lane Limited - 1-Q
Great smoke, great blender
I'm surprised I like this one as much as I do. It's a pretty light smoke and the flavors are minimal, and I usually don't enjoy aromatics like that (I'm predominately a non-aromatic smoker). But 1Q is just so good. The tobacco is a gorgeous light Cavendish with darker tobaccos added, and its cut is somewhere between ribbon and shag. It burns perfectly and never needs a relight. It's fairly dry, which I love because goopy aromatics get so annoying to me. 1Q has very mild added flavors of vanilla and maybe a hint of cocoa. What you smell in the tin note is what you taste in the smoke, too. Furthermore, you can add it to lots of smokes and it really enhaces or even "fixes" them. I recently ordered a rum tobacco, and it was so goopy and so hard to smoke. Blended about 1 part 1Q, 3 parts rum tobacco and it was so much more enjoyable. I had a flake that was burning hot and lacked something. Adding the same ratio to a bowl made it burn cooler and a much more enjoyable smoke. It's great on its own, though light; and, as a blender, it can fix other smokes that aren't as enjoyable as they should be. My favorite bulk aromatic.
Sutliff - Barbados Plantation 1.5oz
Not my favorite aro
Too moist overall. It takes a lot of drying for it to smoke well, but the flavor leaves it when you dry it enough. Can by goopy, too.
Cornell & Diehl - Smokingpipes 20th Anniversary Blend: XX Flake 2oz
Good, but many bulk flakes are as good or better
I let this sealed tin cellar a few months. Now I've had several bowls. The Virginia is the main thing. I get hints of the others, but usually it's a mildly sweet, grassy Virginia. Let a couple flakes dry a while and it's a good smoke. That said, there are several bulk Virginia or Virginia-based (and/or VaPers) flakes that are much cheaper and just as good or better. I'm an intermediate pipe smoker, and I've reached a point where the fancy packaging and limited runs don't sucker me in anymore. I suggest skipping the high dollar flakes and getting big quantities of highly rated bulk flakes. Put some in the cellar and enjoy a jar in the meantime, too. I just have to call it like I see it.
Cornell & Diehl - Rajah's Court 2oz
Earthy oriental-forward blend
I popped open a 6 month old tin from my modest cellar. It doesn't appear to have any "casing" added, which I appreciate more and more. Without the added weight of the casing, the little tin was stuffed full of tobacco. The tin note is (for me) dominated by the (probably Izmir) Turkish, sour with hints of apple cider vinegar, but sweeter, like a sweet and sour apple. My first briar was right out of the tin. Not bad, but 15 minutes of air drying in the following bowls is preferred. The flavors have some movement. The Oriental is always present, more or less so. The Virginias and Latakia are usually in the background, sometimes moving a bit forward. The complexity lessens about half way as it balances to a pleasant English. The cut is a pretty consistent ribbon for the most part. I find it burns smooth and needs no relight. It stays on the cooler side, too. It'll help your cake, too, as it ashes nice and grey. It is a lighter English in flavor, smoke, and nic. Here's the deal. I order Izmir Turkish to add to non-aromatics, even smoking it straight. This tobacco often isn't too different than straight Izmir, often the same taste but milder because of the balance of the blend. I do think it's a little high, but I'll get it again if it's on sale and I have a hankering for it. For me it's above average, but not a very fave. 3.5 / 5. EDIT: After finishing a jar, I can say I won't get this again. There are bulks just as good or better, and for a much better price.
Cornell & Diehl - Izmir Turkish
I'm reviewing the bulk. It came very dry, which had me worried. But when I sampled it, I realized it was not a problem, it's just lacking any added casing for obvious blending purposes. It's pure. By itself, wow: It packs well and smokes easy, maybe a single ash dump and relight will be needed, but maybe not. The flavor is complex. It has a sour quality that reminds me of the aftertaste of a quality bourbon---none of the burn, just that sour goodness but with only hints of sweet way in the background. It can also produce some floral qualities, like bare hints of a rose way back there somewhere. Sometimes the slightest spice, sometimes just a bit of rich woodsiness (is that a word?). All that is going on, but it's not overbearing. Nic is minimal. When I first opened that bulk bag and saw something that looked like dry red Virginia and smelled ever so faintly of sour apples (but it hardly even had a tin or bag note at all), I was a bit disappointed. To my joyful surprise, this stuff is so good, so lightly pungent, so complex, and so easy to smoke all on its own. I originally got this to improve other blends, but I foresee smoking it pure just as much as I blend it. EDIT: A touch of this makes many smokes better, even smokes I like such as Gaslight, Newminster Danish Gold, coin smokes, etc.
G. L. Pease - Gaslight 2oz
Mediocre English blend
English, Balkan IDK anymore lol. Whatever you call it, this one is solid. I bought a tin & let it sit on the shelf over a month. So it wasn't cellared much. I'll get back to that. Popped the tin and enjoyed a bowl, but it was too damp. After that, I would let it dry 45 minutes to an hour, much much better. Tin note is musty, earthy, and hearty. Reminds me of the woodstove in our cabin growing up, that great smell of oak baking out its heat. It's a wonderfully nasty smell. When dried, it just needs a light packing and a char light and sometimes it smokes all the way with no re-lights needed. At its best it smokes creamy and thick. Rich flavor, very strong. Usually it's just a strong smoke that doesn't fully satisfy. It's complex, but not muddy like some Balkans that have like 5+ ingredients these days. I like that it has 3 ingredients. Flavor is earthy, hearty, with a bit of spiciness here and there. There are some things to like. The flavor is best when you get a good dose of the orientals. The latakia can be a bit much at times. The nicotine is a little too much for me, I have to smoke Gaslight later in the day or it can hit me some. I can't smoke a giant bowl, either. For me it's a solid 3/5. Now back to cellaring. It's one of those where I could just tell that at least 6 months will make it super. I'll get another tin and try my best to wait a year.
Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation - 1882 Founders Blend 1.4oz
Good but doesn't stand out
4th generation is good, and that price isn't bad; my issue with it is that you can get bulk English blends that are as good or better for even cheaper. This one was pretty dry in the tin, packs and smokes very well, and actually makes a good ash for working on your cake. It just doesn't stand out.
Newminster - No.403 Superior Round Slices
Peppery and a little rough
I decided to try an ounce of this one. Tin note is very miniscule, you get a light grassy smell from the Virginias. As for flavor, it's very smokey and peppery at first, and can be harsh on the tongue and palette (I don't usually experience tongue bite with non-aromatics). I'd even say it's a bit rough sometimes. Sometimes the sweetness of the virginias starts to come through in the bottom third or fourth of the bowl, and some bowls are a little too sweet for me. It does mellow a tad in the second half, but the pepper and roughness never really go away. I like strong non-aromatics, but this one isn't just strong; it's a bit harsh. I'll certainly finish what I have and even enjoy it, but I don't think VaPers are my faves. I will say this smoke is great for building a nice clean cake. EDIT: I'm raising this from 3 to 3.5. I let it sit in a jar for a month. Came back to it and it's a smidge less rough and better tasting. The Virginias are still too sweet at times. If I ever get more of this, I'll cellar it a long time.
Cult - Blood Red Moon 50g
Smokes awesome, but artificial flavor
I wanted to love this one because of how well it smokes. Tin note is a strong scent of cherry cordial. Not soppy at all, Cult got the cure right. Loads well and smokes even, cool, and with clean white ash. It's the flavor that brings the rating down. Very strong and artificial. For my palette, the tobacco is lost and a medicinal cherry taste is all there is. I'll say this, if you're super into cherries, this one packs a cherry punch from start to finish. Only needs one relight about halfway down or more after you pour out some ash. Not for me. EDIT: After cellaring, this a lot better. I've found it's best use---adding a little to vanilla tobaccos! The cherry can be a little too much on its own, but a just a tiny bit makes a vanilla smoke pretty magical.
Peter Stokkebye - PS400 Luxury Navy Flake
Day old bread meets fresh cut hay meets musty old carpet ... but for the most part in a good way. Lacks some complexity. It's earthy, spicy, and smoky. Smokes in the bowl like a dream, even and cool. Great price. The virginia is a little too grassy and sweet at times. I might get a little more and cellar it for a year.
Sutliff - 526 - Old Professor
Flavorful but not overpowering
This one requires significant air drying, I suggest at least a couple hours. It's a finicky smoke if not dry enough. It's a tasty English blend, burns rich but cool when dry. Usually needs 0 or 1 relights if you don't overpack it. Balanced flavor, the leathery smokiness is forward but a little sweetness from the Virginias is in the background.
Sutliff - Z50 Black Cordial
Bad, artificial flavor
Reading other reviews, I wonder if I got a bad batch. The flavoring isn't cherry or chocolate to me, it's slightly rancid-ish. The Cavendish added no tobacco flavor to the experience. Sutliff bulk blends tend to use a cheap Cavendish anyways, so the bad and artificial taste didn't have anything "tobacco" to redeem it. It may be that I don't have a palette for artificial chocolate, they tend to give me an unpleasant aftertaste. I haven't had much worse than this one.
Villiger - Jamaican Export 1.5oz
Light and pleasant aromatic
Incredible tin (pouch) note with rum, fruit (possibly some coconut), cocoa, and the Cavendish. It's a symphony, all working together wonderfully. I was afraid the smoke was going to be way too sweet, but that wasn't the case at all. If you go fast, you'll get a very light tobacco taste with no tongue bite and slight sweetness. But if you pack it right and sip it ... wow! You almost have to tease out the added flavors, but you can find hints of rum, cocoa, I "think" some coconut, and other flavors. The tobacco itself is as light as I've had, you really have to sip this slowly to find the magic, but it's there and it's great. It's almost too light ... But I find myself wanting more. It's so enjoyable. I can see this being an all day smoke or at least calling for a second bowl!
Newminster - No.48 Danish Gold 2 oz
If you are looking for a very sweet and very flavored aromatic, then this Newminster Danish Gold is not the one you need. It has a little sweetness in its tin note, a little in its room note, and a bit in its flavor. But it's a mild and reserved sweetness, mainly from the quality Cavendish, but probably some from the flavorings added, too. Let's talk about those flavors. They are not in your face like a lot of, say, cherry or many other fruity aromatics. Rather, there is a very "low key" caramel and the slight detection of a little fruitiness. Barely. You can taste the Cavendish a lot, and it's a quality mix of brown and black. There may be a little Virginia also floating around the flavor profile; in fact, the Smoking Pipes description says Virgina and Burley, but that is a misprint. I detect zero Burley, and in fact I checked other sites and none say Burley. If it's there at all, I can't detect it. So it's very light overall, some Cavendish plus hints of flavorings. Zero bite. It does need to dry a bit, say 20 minutes. It packs beautifully (a very consistent ribbon) and smokes clean with zero relights needed, usually. I just do a char light, relight it, and go all the way to the bottom, slowly and pleasantly. So, it's a little sweet, but not like a typical aromatic; it's quality Cavendish, but maybe with a bit of Virgina to help it out; it's flavored, but the flavors are mild and meld well with the natural components; and it's a light, clean smoke that's easy to deal with. For me, it's up there close to Eileen's Dream, which is still my favorite aromatic, but Danish Gold is just too light to rival Eileen's Dream. You MUST try this one if you like aromatics that are not so sweet, a light Cavendish blend, and mild flavors that are reserved and low key to the point that you have to tease them out or even retrohale to find them sometimes. I really like this tobacco as a change of pace from my usual non-aromatics and recommend it heartily to folks who want an aromatic that's not "kool-aid" sweet. Get some and stuff that cob! 4 / 5
Cornell & Diehl - Haunted Bookshop
Won't buy again
For my palette, Haunted Bookshop seemed like a bit better version of cheap burley tobacco. Bag note was plain and cheap. Room note is way too close to cigarette for me. I will say that I could do my char light and then the bowl would smoke even and never need a relight! Also, I could sip it slowly. It required little work in my cob and my nice bent apple. So if you like stout burleys, this may be for you. I bought an ounce b/c I wanted a burley to build a cake in a new pipe, and I must say that the cake is off to a good start. But ashy taste of the burley and the nicotine punch in the face are too much for me. However, I've found that cutting a tad into sweet aromatics evens them out a bit. I'm glad I tried this, but I discovered I like my non-aromatics with more complexity and a bit smoother.
CAO - Eileen's Dream Cigarillos
Incredible flavor and value
For me, flavored cigars and non-flavored ones are two completely different smokes. I'm rating this, obviously, as a flavored cigar. These are incredibly smooth and flavorful. Even creamy. They're sweet but not koolaid. Great room notes. You get lots of tobacco flavor, plus sweet cappuccino-like notes from the Irish Cream, vanilla, and subtle chocolates. Wish they came in larger singles. The cigarillos leave you wanting a little more time.
Sutliff - Tobacco Galleria: Rum & Maple
Good flavor but goopy
Needs a lot of air drying and needs to be sipped slowly. Tin note is fantastic, smells just like its name. Room note very pleasant and aromatic. Smoke definitely tastes like its name. But it's very goopy and not fun to smoke.
Newminster - No.23 Blackberry Brandy
Good taste, easy smoke, on the sweeter side
Not goopy, but still needs to air dry a little. Tin note is amazing, you get blackberry, tobaccos, and brandy all working together. Room note is very pleasant and sweet. Pleasant smoke with steady hints of fruit and liquor. On the sweeter side, but tasty and not just candy. Sometimes a creamy smoke. Good quality tobacco. Overall this a very good bulk aromatic.
Sutliff - Z92 Vanilla Custard
Good but not great
Comes a little too goopy. Needs to dry some before smoking. Great vanilla flavor, but the tobacco isn't the highest quality.
Seattle Pipe Club - Plum Pudding 2oz
Hard to Pin Down, But Better Now
I originally titled this, "Hard to Pin Down." I felt the ingredients didn't come together well. After a year in the cellar, I've altered the title and review. Cellaring brought the components together much better. If rubbed, left to dry a little, and packed right (a little looser than I usually do it, but you'll have to crack it's code), it burns outstanding and smokes consistently. The flavor is good, too, but it's not my fave. I won't buy again because many cheaper blends are better for my palette. 4/5
CAO - Eileen's Dream 50g
Easy Aromatic Smoke with Enjoyable Flavors
Mellow tobaccos, high quality. The added flavors create a very mild, cappuccino-like taste in the background. Sometimes it moves closer to the front, but it never really outshines the Cavendish and VAs. The tin and room notes are delicious. Smokes well. Not much nic. This is my favorite aromatic and it's not even close. It says ribbon cut, but every tin I've gotten is more like a very loose, very fragile crumble cake, but still loose enough that I guess it's a ribbon. I love this stuff.