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.


Three Friars by Cornell and Diehl

I have found Cornell and Diehl Three Friars to be a superb anytime Virginia blend with a bright vivid flavor and enough Burley and Perique to add just the right amount of body and zing for a great warm weather smoke.

Three Friars tin by Cornell and Diehl

Tin Description

“A combination of Virginia ribbon, Brown Virginia, Burley, and Perique.”


Epiphany by Cornell and Diehl Pipe Tobacco Review with Video

This review of Cornell and Diehl’s Epiphany is long overdue. As much as I smoke of this stuff I can’t figure out why it took so long to get around to posting the review.

Tin Description
We have a delightful new light English blend called Epiphany. Epiphany is reminiscent of the original Revelation blend that was said to be the favorite of a certain reknowned thinker named Einstein. Epiphany is another classic Tarler/Runowski blend of Va, Burleys, Latakia and Perique in perfect balance and harmony.


Burley Flake #4 by Cornell & Diehl Review

Burley Flake #4 gets most of its character from Dark Burley which brings a very straightforward, arguably strong, and robust flavor. Following in the distance are the lighter burleys, a taste of Latakia, and a touch of Red Virginia.

This is by no means a sweet blend…oh no. Those of you used to Burley flakes such as Solani Aged Burley or even Peterson’s University Flake will find something altogether different in Burley Flake #4.

Matching the stronger flavor is the stronger nicotine content. This flake will put hair on your chest and your wife or girlfriend out of the room. Go ahead and enjoy a beverage with this one, it will stand up to anything.

I am very pleased overall with this and eager to try the rest of the series, especially those featuring the Dark Burley. Those preferring to fold and stuff should find the flakes in good enough shape for some careful folding. I like these rubbed out and filled.

Riverboat Gambler by Cornell & Diehl and getting to know new blends

Blender’s description:

In the tradition of the mysterious Mississippi riverboat gamblin’ men, a flavorful blend of the South’s tobaccos—Burleys, Virginias, and Perique—with the exotic taste of Turkish leaf. The odds are with you when you smoke this blend.

My “quick review” for RG as seen on SF:

This is a big-flavor blend. Burley, Virginia, and Perique with a healthy topping of Turkish. I taste very little, if any, sweetness. This one has the same sort of flavors you get in a spicey bowl of hot and sour soup.

Sound unappealing? I thought so too. I ordered some anyway. I grimaced my way through the first bowl, and hiccuped and stuttered through every one since, and I vowed I’d plop the contents of the rest of the tin in a mason jar, encase it in lead, and forget about it, but for some reason I keep finding myself reaching for more of it.

Its the oddest thing. I guess this means I like it, but every time I smoke it I can’t figure out why. I guess its the BIG flavor, more-that-satisfying nicotine content, and the originality of it.

I often am not struck utterly enthusiastic with a new blend in the first few bowls and begin liking it more as I proceed through a couple ounces. This one it was like my senses were throwing me into fight or flight mode, but something keeps saying “go back for more.” And I do. Never had an experience quite like this with a blend.

Good stuff? I gotta say heck yeah if you like fairly strong tobacco and you aren’t afraid of Perique.

Plantation Evening by Cornell and Diehl

I was rooting around in my closet when I found a sampler bag I’d wrapped in aluminum foil a year or two ago. Long enough ago I don’t remember receiving. I checked C&D’s web site for the “tin descrioption.”

A smooth, reasonably light blend of aged Virginias, Latakia, Perique and a little Turkish. An outstanding, middle of the road English blend with a delightful flavor.

This is a great English blend for a warm climate, and a better English blend for pipe smokers like me who prefer Latakia as a condiment rather than the base of a blend. Plantation Evening has a mouth-watering tang from the Virginias and Perique with a detectable amount of natural Virginia sweetness.

The Latakia and Orientals are present in just enough measure to keep things interesting and lock Plantation Evening into the “English Blend” category. If I had to have one complaint, it would be that the Perique comes on just a little strong, but this may be a plus for you.

Pennington Gap

Pennington Gap by Cornell and Diehl

Pennington Gap by Cornell and Diehl

From the tip of Virginia, an all-American blend with a southern accent. Nutty Kentucky cube cut burley and rich black cavendish balance the unique aroma and flavor of Louisiana Perique, finished with bourbon for that touch of southern hospitality.

Every time I reach for this blend I recall the superb treatment one receives when dealing with Craig and Patty Tarlor of Cornell & Diehl. This is a pipe tobacco blend I would not normally have picked out on my own – the combination of tobaccos and the whiskey finish wouldn’t have appealed to me. One day I was placing an order directly from C&D and asked Craig to simply pick out something unusual and add it to my order. When I took shipment and opened the box, I found the Pennington Gap.

So often we go into a blend with a preconceived notion of what to expect only to be surprised. This was one of those times. As it turns out, I loved the spiciness, the mellow sweetness, and how well this pipe tobacco behaves.

Bailey’s Front Porch by Cornell & Diehl

For a change, I’m going to do a “live review.” Usually, I try to get to know a blend a while before putting my thoughts together – this one I’m going to write as I smoke it for the first time.

The flame seemed to jump into this tobacco and nearly light itself. The various tobaccos are cut in such a way packing was a matter of gravity filling and a light tap. Initial tastes were rich, smooth, round, seemingly sweet, and almost creamy. This appears to have about as much chance of biting as a Hershey bar. The gentlest pulls produce generous volumes of smoke accompanied by a wonderful balanced flavor.

I talked to Craig Tarlor when I ordered the sampler this came from. I asked for American style English blends – a blend that would be easy to smoke all day, rich and sweet – this tobacco fits the bill perfectly.

About halfway through the bowl, all the components are holding their own and continue to provide balance. In other similar blends from other brands I’ve noticed that I enjoy the special way Burlies, Latakia, Virginia, and Perique all work together. The Burley brings in a special dynamic not found in blends containing only the other three components.

Towards the bottom of the bowl, the flavor grows more robust, yet still refuses to bite or tire the pallet and ends with a tiny pinch of dottle at a dry heel. The Vitamin N and rich taste has left me satisfied, yet prepared to light up another without reservation.