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.

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.”

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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.

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University Flake by Peterson – Video Review

Tin Description: A mild easy smoking blend of fine Virginia and Burley tobaccos, made the traditional way.

A light berry essence melds nicely with the Virginia and what I believe is likely some dark fired Kentucky Burley. Whether you crumble Peterson University Flake out or fold and stuff, I find it burns evenly enough even fresh from the tin. The Burley makes it a fairly hearty blend with a few robust moments coming throughout the smoke. I experience no tongue bite from University Flake.

Peterson University Flake has become somewhat of a classic pipe tobacco. While being unique, it also sets a standard for Virginia and Burley Flake pipe tobacco. Try smoking Peterson University Flake with the air pocket method.

Luxury Twist Flake by Peter Stokkebye – Tobacco Review

Blender’s description:

A pure Virginia blend from the best fields of Zimbabwe and the Eastern United States. Rolled Twist Flake, then Cavendish pressed and cut.

These square flakes have leaf ranging in bright to medium brown. They are easy to rub out or burn well stuffed in the bowl. I prefer wadding one into a ball, rolling it a little, the stuffing the whole works in the top of a narrow-chambered pipe leaving an air pocket underneath.

The overall flavor includes a lot of high notes, considerable citrus-like tang, much like lemon or orange peel with bright Virginia’s characteristic grassy flavors. The darker leaf provides an appropriate amount of balance with body and a clean sweetness. Any added flavors are very subtle and not readily apparent during the smoke.

I’m surprised to find so little propensity to bite the tongue. I expect a little tingle and irritation from leaf of this sort, but this leaves my tongue ready for another bowl. This is one of the rare Virginia-only blends I could smoke bowl after bowl all day. The burn is cool and clean. No unpleasant aftertastes. It arrived in bulk with perfect moisture content ready to smoke as-is.

This is not the most complex Virginia blend I’ve smoked, but it does grow deeper and the sharper tastes yield to richer, earthier, sweeter flavors as the bowl progresses. There is a nice interplay between the brighter and deeper sides of the smoke with the later gaining ground as the ember floats to the bottom.

Virginia lovers will likely find this a very agreeable companion and it makes a great introduction to those new to Virginia blends.

Some thoughts and tips on tamping – Video

I think a lot of problems people encounter with pipe smoking could be mitigated by improving their use of the tamper. While a lot of care needs to go into the proper filling and lighting of your pipe, that’s not where the attention stops. Keeping the tobacco properly tamped will lead to a more pleasant smoke and a lot less relights, but doing it wrong will make things worse.

What are your thoughts on tamping? How often would you say you tamp during the average smoke? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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.

Bestmake by Pipeworks and Wilke Video Review

This is one of those old timey blends you can smoke all day.

Blender’s description:

One of the oldest Wilke recipes. Virginia and Burleys are mixed with a non-aromatic Black Cavendish tobacco and topped with a generous amount of superior Latakia creating a traditional medium strength English blend. A rich mellow blend in the true British tradition.

This blend has a medium amount of Latakia. I wouldn’t want any more in this blend because I might miss the tangy sweetness from the Virginia or that faint toastiness from the unflavored black cavendish. The burley is applied just enough to round it out with some body.

This blend is well behaved and well balanced.

Samarra by G. L. Pease – Video Review

Tin Description:

Samarra – opulent and elegant! Several varieties of Virginia tobaccos form the structure of this blend. Smoky Cyprian Latakia, fine Turkish leaf, and just a bit of Perique are added for richness. The smoke is silky and round. A subtle, yet complex sweetness from the Virginias and just a little zest is present throughout the smoke, while layers of complexity tantalize the senses from first blush to the last puff.

Blender’s comments:

Samarra, along with Cairo, Mephisto and Renaissance, was one of the first blends to be offered under the G. L. Pease brand. In a sense, it is a refinement of Sublime Porte, a blend I produced years ago for Drucquer & Sons while working there, so it reflects a much longer history than the other blends in the line.

Despite a significant percentage of Cyprus Latakia, Samarra is not a Latakia powerhouse. It is rich and complex, relying as much upon the delicate sweetness and structure of matured red Virginias, and the exotic, fragrant nature of fine oriental leaf as it does on the smoky opulence of the Cyprian “King of Flavor.” The blend is finished with a hint of zesty lemon Virginia, adding a hint of brightness to the smoke, and a touch of perique, providing its own unique spice.

I simply love this blend. When I first tried it, I was somewhat bored by it. It seemed a little ho hum at the time. No recall on what other blends I had been experimenting with at the time, but a few bowls into the first tin I was hooked. Samarra was in my pipe throughout the day. Now I have to fight the urge to hoard the stuff.

Everything is there that makes a great English blend. There’s the quality of the leaf which I rely on from Greg Pease blends. With this blend there is a deft balance between teh components. Latakia is leading the way but not making a big deal about being in charge. Virginias embrace the entire experience with a touch of natural sweetness and tang while the Turkish and Perique keep things interesting. None of these flavors are lost amongst the others.

The really cool thing about this blend is it works as one of those contemplative quiet smokes that you want to dedicate full attention to not to miss a nuance, a slight turn in flavor, or an unexpected note. At the same time, the balance, medium fullness, and perfect behavior qualify this for all-day smoking.

This is the English blend. I will be recommending this to all who ask me to suggest an English blend.