A Love for Lakelands
As anyone in our little office will tell you, I have a love (read: obsession) for Lakeland tobaccos. Whenever a customer calls to inquire about Gawith Hoggarth tobacco, I can always tell. Right after a representative's greeting I hear, "Well, let me transfer you over to Kaz. He will definitely be able to point you in the right direction," after which my phone will ring and I will hear one of my coworkers announce over the cubical walls, "Gawith Hoggarth!"
For me, it has become a clarion call of sorts. The moment I hear those words, I prepare to (happily) share my appreciation for the finest tobaccos of the English tradition.
A few years back, Andrew Wike wrote a blog post on the general history and production methods of Gawith Hoggarth & Co Ltd, so instead of rehashing the wonderful information that he so eloquently shared, I have decided to cover my own personal favorites and experiences in hopes that others will enjoy their scented flakes to the fullest.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
Most of us feel that certain blends (or blending styles) tend to be uniquely suited to particular seasons or weather. That's not to say that our favorites aren't our favorites at any other time, but we seem to get everything a blend has to offer under the right conditions. It is generally accepted that Latakia smolders richest in the cold, while most Virginias are their sweetest in the spring and summer. I feel that Lakeland tobaccos are no exception to this phenomenon.
Furthermore, a fair few among us enjoy specific beverage pairings with our favorite tobaccos — another aspect of pipe smoking of which the floral flake is not immune.
Perhaps the most famous of the Gawith Hoggarth catalogue, Ennerdale is a bright Virginia flake with a small amount of Burley, which successfully provides body and a "carrier" for the added essences and extracts applied. This flake is perfect for springtime smoking, and has a full, creamy body to the smoke that is at once satisfying and perplexing. It brings bright flavors of fruit and cream, with the slightest floral suggestion lingering in the background. It is like a lemon meringue pie for your pipe.
Beverage Pairings: Hendrick's Gin & Tonic, Earl Grey tea, or lavender lemonade.
Also recommended for spring: Grasmere Flake
This flake marked my first exposure to Lakelands, and has always been a favorite. While Gawith & Hoggarth have kept the toppings' full ingredients list a secret, we do know that it contains rose, rose geranium, vanilla, rum, tonquin, musk, and heliotropin. This is hands down the most complex topping they have, but it can somehow still be fully enjoyed without having to study the smoke. There is a portion of dark, air-cured tobaccos with the Virginia, and this mixture of tobacco and topping produce a hearty, but lively smoke. While this tobacco is great at any time, I tend to enjoy this one most in the mid-afternoon, and especially in the summer.
Beverage Pairings: Hefeweizen or unsweetened iced tea
Also recommended for summer: Louisiana Perique Flake
A hearty blend of Indian air-cured and sun-cured Virginia, Rum Flake is my favorite morning smoke, having enough "umph" to get me going, as well as pairing well with a stout, dark roast. This one is a great autumn and wintertime smoke, and due to the maple sugar casing and rum topping, many have dubbed Rum Flake the "Christmas Cake" of tobaccos. This is probably one of the least floral of Gawith Hoggarth's offerings, and is a great tobacco for smokers looking for a darker tobacco with a naturally derived sweetness.
Beverage Pairings: Dark roast coffee and, of course, dark rum
Also recommended for autumn: Scotch Flake
Bosun Cut Plug
Essentially a broken flake, this is one of my all-time favorites. A mixture of bright flue-cured and darker fire-cured Virginias, this Kendal beauty is brought to life with the addition of rose geranium extract and oil of clove. Perfect for winter, it is, to my mind, the quintessential Christmastime tobacco. Smooth, woody, slightly spicy, and rich, it is no wonder that this tobacco is one of Gawith Hoggarth's oldest.
Beverage Pairings: Mulled wine, black tea, and eggnog.
Also recommended for winter: Dark Flake - Scented
Fan of Lakeland blends? Have you had any discoveries of your own when smoking these unique mixtures? Feel free to share in the comments!
Tagged in: Editorial Gawith and Hoggarth Tobacco
Fantastic! Agreed on all points. The beverage pairing recommendations are a nice touch.
@Casey - Thanks, It is awesome to see that others agree!
I don't particularly love Gawith Hoggarth florals, but being a huge fan for blood-sister company Samuel Gawith have already try them more than once, and found the Bosun Cut Plug quite appealing for winter, specially paired with a cup of Twinings White Tea.
I've got some aged Bob's Chocolate Flake that has 4 years on it. The chocolate is still there in the jar note, but is a background note in the smoke. The tobaccos have aged to a wonderful tea like quality, with sugar crystals all over the flakes. Smooth, soft and velvety in texture.
Hi, Kaz — Your excellent article prompts a question — Are any of thee tobaccos you wrote about similar to Condor? One of my favorite DIY blends was the addition of a few crumbs of Condor Plug to Lat blends or even various codger tobaks. The number of crumbs was adjustable to suit my mood, season ... whatever. Alas! The key ingredient of my DIY blend is no longer available. I’ve tried ordering overseas, but the response I get is that politics forbids shipping to the US. Grrr! So, I’m looking for alternatives. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. Thank you.
@KevinM - Thanks for reading! I don’t think these would be close enough to Condor. The closest in the GH catalog is Conniston Cut Plug. It is similar, however it does lack the vinegar note that I enjoy in Condor, and is a tad bit more floral in overall character.
I'VE NEVER SMOKED BLACK SEA BY CAPTAIN BLACK
I've been exploring Gawith and Hoggarth lakeland blends recently. I had tried a lakeland a long time ago and didn't care for it then recently at a pipe club meeting I was given a sample of rum flake and really enjoyed it enough to try others. So far I've enjoyed everything I have tried. I normally wouldn't enjoy an aromatic with the exception of a few because most companies offer goopy messes with typical black cavendish base and nasty artificial flavoring, but G&H has managed to do it right. I am very sensitive to artificial scents and flavorings and can enjoy the natural flavorings G&H uses and the fact I like to dry my tobacco out to smoke and these dry like one would expect with none of the PG you normally would associate with a lesser quality aromatic. I consider these more of a flavored/scented tobacco. They have quite a few blends and I look forward to exploring them more in the near future.
Thanks, Kaz. I ordered a few oz. of the Conniston. Even if it doesn’t match Condor as my perker upper, the TR posters seem to like it fine, so what’s to lose? My bad: I shoulda ordered a lifetime supply of Condor when I had the chance. Dang.
@Al - I'm glad you found a Lakeland tobacco that works for you (I smoke Rum Flake almost every day). By modern definitions, these are aromatics, but they were not always considered so (and they still aren't by the manufacturer!). I think these tobaccos are truly in their own league, as the smoker of conventional aromatics (i.e. Lane 1-Q or similar) would consider these blends to be in another category. In some ways they really do defy definition.
@Kevin - I hope you find a new favorite in Conniston!
yes, yes, yes! bright CR Flake is another favorite of mine. there are a growing number of tobacco's in your inventory that are "out of stock". what's the story on that? thanks for the fine article!
@Greg - Bright CR is a great VA flake! As for the out of stock tobaccos, we are ordering tobaccos from distributors almost everyday. Due to increasingly high demand for certain blends as well as some manufacturers’ old-school, small batch production (like Samuel Gawith), it can take some time to restock. Over the coming weeks availability for many blends should level out some.
Serially speaking — Kaz, I mixed about 50/50 Coniston
and St. Bruno. A pretty good smoke on a cool but still Feb morning in New England. Your prediction was exactly right — it lacks that vinegarish note of the Condor, but nice, nonetheless. Well, hope springs eternal.
Thanks for writing this post! I've avoided Lakeland tobaccos purely on the basis of prior descriptions, but after reading this I ordered a few to sample. I loved what I tasted, particularly the Ennerdale Flake and Bosun Cut Plug. I've some new tobaccos in my rotation and will be trying some more over the coming months. Always something new to discover with this hobby.
Happy to have another convert! Bosun is an all-time favorite of mine, as well!
You all at SP are highly effective marketers. Powerless to resist, I bought a sample of each one you listed, plus Balkan Mixture. I never liked any aromatics or added flavor in my tobacco, but these are really wonderful. And while the scented element is unmistakeable, the underlying tobacco stands up well. I am now a confirmed Lakeland fan.
@Jerry Ford - My thoughts exactly! Welcome to the club!
Thanks so much for your knowledge on Lakelands Kaz. It sparked my interest and now the soapy Lakelands is almost all I want to smoke, I love them so much. Again thanks for you help!!
I'm a HUGE fan of Lakeland tobaccos. If I could, I'd smoke them almost exclusively. Unfortunately, due to lack of availability, I can't. At this point, I'm practically praying that a whole lot of Gawith Hoggarth product comes our way in 2019!
Grasmere flake has more floral overtones than Ennerdale and Kendal in my opinion - but it's a bit too strong for me to have any more than 2 bowls a day....
SP is the only place to effectively purchase Lakeland tabacco. I’d also really like to try St. Germain’s brand. What happened. A bit of G&H bulk is available. I was able to run all the Lakelands. Heaven. I just have this anxiety that they’ll all be gone.