Americana by Cornell and Diehl

Americana by Cornell and Diehl - Pipe Tobacco ReviewAmericana (Bulk #127) from Cornell and Diehl is listed under the “English Blends” category on their web site. I guess that will have to do being they don’t have something like an “American Blend” category. Categorizing tobacco is difficult business. Pipe smokers arriving at Americana’s doorstep looking for something tasting similar to Dunhill’s Nightcap or G.L. Pease’s Westminster may think they showed up at the wrong place.

Burley, to my tastes, is the main attraction here. Yes, the Latakia is present in significant quantities; you’ll never forget it’s there. The thing is, Latakia alongside Virginia and Oriental may as well be an entirely different condiment than the very same Latakia up against a sturdy proportion of Burley. It behaves differently on the taste buds with both types of blends.

With Americana I notice big, rich, deep, dark earthy tones much more than the leather and woodsy flavors. Is the Latakia shoring up the richness of the Burley or is the Burley beefing up the richness of the Latakia? I’ll let you decide. All I can tell you is that between what I assume is a measure of some dark fired or Kentucky Burley and the Latakia, this is a rich blend.

It seems the Burley has two parts to play. I’m not confident I can identify the other types of Burley at work in Cornell and Diehl Americana, but I can say they add structure and a dry finish. By structure I mean that the Burley is what supports the other flavors. It may not comprise the greatest portion of leaf in the recipe, but it is the base. When I say dry finish, I am describing the lack of any lingering sweetness.

This is not to say you won’t notice the tang and sweetness of the Virginias if you pay attention. They are there, and I am glad they are. They do help the blend along whether I am noticing them or not. This is much like the role Cornell and Diehl’s unsweetened black cavendish plays. It certainly isn’t a core component of the flavor but does seem to act as a bridge of sorts between all the other flavors. Incidentally, Cornell and Diehl’s very special unsweetened black cavendish is so good I can (and have) smoked it by itself. Wonderful stuff!

Everything is balanced very nicely to bring about a very smoke-able yet stout American blend. The blender, Bob Runowski, has managed to keep Americana from being harsh while allowing it to be stern. If you are sensitive to nicotine I recommend a slow pace in a comfortable chair and no operating heavy machinery. I experience no tongue bite and moderate palate fatigue. Not that I am ever ready to follow up a bowl of Americana with something else anytime soon.

While it doesn’t stack up as a English blend by my definition,* I don’t think it should be expected to. These old time American style blends are a class to themselves. For anyone wanting to explore what excellent burley has to offer or who wants to take a time machine back half a century to see what your average everyday tobacco blend may have been like, Americana has my recommendation.

This is a staple in my personal rotation and I have been ordering it by the pound over the last year or two. You will have a difficult time finding it at retailers. You can easily order it directly from Cornell and Diehl.

*Defining the categories such as American blend, English blend, Balkan, aromatic, etc is about 80% subjective opinion much of the time. Don’t put a lot of weight on my, or anyone else’s definitions and categories, best to always let the blend speak for itself.

If you’ve already tried it, please let me know your thoughts about it in the comments. Questions and other observations are welcome too.

 

I do not sell tobacco on eBay or anywhere else

Aside

So this is not me….

Intellectual Property Thief

I have had the same issue in the past and I suspect this is the same guy using a different name to sell. (If you visit the older article check out the comments – the guy had the audacity to take me to task for blogging about the issue.)

One of the main reasons I decided to post about this again is because I contacted eBay’s VERO program to report this and seeing this post here may assure them I am indeed the intellectual property owner.

Pipe Smoking not Piping

I am usually a “to each their own” type of guy…. but enough is enough. Please…. spread the word…. there is no need to live in darkness any longer…

pipe smoking not piping please

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G. L. Pease Sextant is Tobacco of the Month at Tamp and Puff

Tamp and Puff Sextant discussionEvery month at Tamp & Puff Discussion for pipe smokers we pick a new pipe tobacco to sample and review together.

This month it is Greg Pease’s Sextant.

Tin description:

A classic mixture harmoniously married to a Navy flake. Ripe Virginia tobaccos are first blended with Cypriot Latakia, fine Orientals, and a touch of dark-fired Kentucky leaf, then infused with a hint of dark rum before being gently pressed, matured, and sliced. The flavour is rich, bold and satisfying; the aroma an enchanting interweaving of traditions.

Pop over to Tamp&Puff and join the discussion.

Should I cellar this pipe tobacco?

Here is the situation: You are already convinced that cellaring tobacco is a great idea, whether it is for the purpose of aging it or just ensuring you’ll have some on hand for a raining day.

But you have a blend and are not sure whether it is a suitable candidate for aging. Lets use GLPease’s recent “Sextant” as an example because I saw this question come up on the Tamp and Puff forums.

The member was questioning whether Sextant is a good candidate for cellaring being it has the addition of rum.

A Storm Cellar

No need for an underground bunker to age your tobacco, a cool dark closet or cupboard works great.

My advice is cellar it. In fact, that’s always my advice. When you buy a tin, buy a second and cellar it. Always purchase double what you need and set aside half for a rainy day.

What’s the worst that could happen? Assuming the tin remains intact the worst that could happen is you open the tobacco some day, taste it, and not like it. Maybe it has gone flat or muddled. The Latakia looses its punch. Its not as good as it was when it was new. That’s pretty much the worst that could happen.

My guess is that in most cases, if you pop a 20 year-old tin a couple decades from now you won’t be at all disappointed provided you manage your expectations. There are endless variable surrounding a few general rules. Tobaccos like Virginias are improved by age where Latakia will lose some of its character. Burley lacks sugar so it sort of just gets old rather than improves. Added flavorings may go stale.

When tobaccos are combined in a blend, just as each component of the recipe works synergistically with the other leafs to work magic on the flavor, different things may happen during the aging process with all the endless variables of a blend factoring in  the end result.

Remember too, that even if the other guy may not like the effect age has on a blend, it could be a vast improvement according to your tastes. This is why I recommend that when you try a blend and don’t like it, seal it up in a canning jar and return to it in the distant future.

Anything you like, or think you like, or wouldn’t want to have unavailable to you is worth setting aside for long-term storage.

Bottom line: No one is going to know what ten years of age does for a blend until they have aged it ten years or so. But it isn’t unreasonable to expect we might be paying at least twice what we are now for a tin of tobacco in ten years with taxes and inflation.

The only tobacco I won’t cellar are tobaccos I wouldn’t smoke now, and I’ve even made numerous exceptions to that rule too.

Live Broadcast today – Smoking Pipe Tobacco TV

Status

This will be my second scheduled live stream.

Today I’ll be unveiling a new feature for Tamp & Puff – the people who show up at the show will be the “beta testers.”

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, a live stream is the same thing as watching me blather on YouTube except it is live and you can text chat with me and others, ask questions, bring up topics, etc. Think of it as a poorly produced television show on one of those public access channels – only its about pipe smoking so it’ll be fun and interesting.

Place: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/smoking-pipe-tobacco or just click the TV link and watch it here.

Please head over there now and sign up for a free account. You can watch it without signing up but I highly recommend you sign up – its painless, they don’t seem to spam you, and it makes it easier for us to recognize you.

Time:

  • Los Angeles (U.S.A. – California) Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 Noon PDT UTC-7 hours
  • St. Louis (U.S.A. – Missouri) Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 2:00:00 PM CDT UTC-5 hours
  • London (United Kingdom – England) Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 8:00:00 PM BST UTC+1 hour

Please feel free to send me questions and topic suggestions ahead of time. Post them here, Twitter me, Facebook me, email me, PM me, whatever is easy for you.

I would also like to talk to you “on air,” feel free to Skype me. My Skype is smokingpipetobacco

Things are a little wonky with site organization

Aside

I am transitioning the site to a new and improved way of organizing and presenting my posts.

The biggest difference you’ll see is with the Categories and Tobacco reviews. I want folks to be able to sort thru all different videos and such more quickly and easily, and as I populate the new sorting method you’ll see what I mean, but I can’t quite get rid of the old method in the meanwhile.

So, you get to see both. For now.

Let me know you read this. Leave a comment! Tell me how you like the look and feel since the redesign.

Comments are in limbo temporarily

Aside

There’s a new comment system in place here that should greatly enhance the whole commenting experience thingy. If you can hear the buzzing, whirring, and clanking in the background, that’s the machine syncs the old comments from the old system with the new comment system.

You should see your old comments shortly and until then, you can still leave new comments. Please leave new comments! Comments are good!

Back to making pipe smoking videos

It has been a long time since I posted last. Sorry about the lack of content this year. My hiatus is over and there is fresh content and lots of news coming up.

Over the weekend I made two new YouTube videos – one about short term storage and the ugly things that happen when you don’t store pipe tobacco with proper care. The other covers steps you can take to make repairs if you let some pipe tobacco go dry.

Government Propagana and Tobacco Rant

I probably shouldn’t blog when I am angry. And I don’t get angry often these days. Just now I was catching up on some news and read about yesterday’s Food and Drug Administration announcement about the new cigarette packs. They are going to put these idiotic, gross, macabre photographs on the top half of cigarette packs.

government propaganda health warning on cigarettesI haven’t smoked a cigarette in years. I personally do not like them and believe there are better ways for me to enjoy tobacco. The new cigarette packs will not be part of my life. But that’s beside the point.
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