This month we had our annual company picnic at a park nearby. The weather was gorgeous – blue skies full of big fluffy cumulonimbus clouds. The sun was hot, but well combated by large volumes of libations, as well as plenty of weather-appropriate tobacco to help us relax and enjoy the warm summer surroundings.
Recently Shane wrote his recommendations for summer pipe tobacco blends with Escudo, Reiner Long Golden Flake, and C&D Sunday Picnic all topping the list. These are all great suggestions – having tried most of them myself. There was, however, a much wider variety of tobacco present at our own gathering, some of which might even surprise you.
Orlik Golden Sliced - One of Chris's preferred summertime smokes, we found our senior photographer enjoying this blend from one of his favorite briars. With just a hint of citrus, it's a nice blend of golden Virginias with a pleasant sweetness and freshness that accompanied the heat well.
Dunhill Royal Yacht - I'm a fan of Dunhill tobaccos myself – with Nightcap being one of my all-time favorite English blends. Yesterday, we found Jeremy with a bowl full enjoying the summer heat. He even demonstrated his boating skills as he took to the water with pipe in hand (or in mouth, rather).
Tabac Manil La Brumeuse - Semois is quite an interesting tobacco – one quite difficult to describe. It remained unheard of outside of Belgium until a New York Times writer received some as a gift and released an article describing the rather earthy leaf. It's got some cigar-like qualities, yet remains a unique tobacco all its own. Yesterday, Josh enjoyed several bowls from his favorite pipe, remarking every so often, "You know Eric, this is pretty good" - pretty high praise from the former History professor.
McConnell Special London Mild - Eric enjoyed a few bowls of this himself, and Adam even put aside his go-to tobacco to try Eric's summer recommendation. It's a mild blend of Brights and Orange Virginias that seemed to pair well with our variety of refreshments and good food.
Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. Louisiana Flake - A bit of a darker, flavored tobacco, we found Shane and his owner, Bubba (a very good boy), sipping from a bowl full of this Virgina/Perique flake. With subtle tonquin bean and whisky flavors, it paired nicely with the dwindling afternoon heat.
Sutliff Molto Dolce - Mike and I were having a chat about aromatics yesterday, and we discussed how our palates change with the seasons – preferring heavy English blends in the fall and winter. "But what about summer?", I asked. "Aromatics just seem to hit the spot on hot days. Not too heavy, with plenty of refreshing flavor." He replied. Although he's partial to a particular mango-infused blend, Mike's apparently not the only aromatic summer advocate out there though. Plenty of folks had their bowls full of this creamy blend as they relaxed after our southern meal of hefty proportions.
C&D Bayou Morning Flake - Sykes, of course, brought his pipe and enjoyed several bowls of this Perique/Virginia flake over the course of the afternoon. He's sworn by it before, and I'd have to agree, with its mellow and smooth sipping smoke, it's a fine tobacco for a hot summer's day.
Samuel Gawith St. James Flake - I've mentioned a handful of my colleagues' picnic preferences, but what was I smoking? Well, it was a bold VA/Per from Samuel Gawith: the St. James Flake. A cool smoke with a little spiciness from a generous portion of St. James Parish Louisiana perique. As I watched the clouds float by and listened to the distant chatter of friends, I could think of no better way to wrap up the weekend.
There were a few other tobaccos and, of course, plenty of cigars going around as well; but either way, yesterday just proved that there's no reason to wait until autumn to pick the pipe back up. So if you've got a picnic planned yourself, or are just looking for something to help you through the summer heat, you might want to give this handful of blends a try. Do some exploring and try something new (or just something you haven't tried in a while). If you've got your own favorite summertime blend, write us in the comments and let us know. We have loved your suggestions from the first post and are looking forward to more.