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.


LJ Heart Burley by Russ Ouellette – Hearth and Home

Blender’s description:

A light, naturally sweet blend created for renowned pipemaker, Lannes Johnson, who selected this mixture to send as a sample to his pipe customers. Two diff- erent types of nutty Burley are laced with an unusual cube cut Virginia and a Burley-based natural toasted Black Cavendish for a splash of non-flavored sweetness. Now available to the general public for the very first time. If you’re looking for an all-day blend that isn’t wet or overly sugary, give this one a try.

Expect this tobacco to arrive well on the dry side. I recommend leaving it as is before smoking. The overall taste is slightly sweet with a healthy tang. Maybe its my imagination but I’d swear I taste a little Perique, but the blend description doesn’t mention it.

The base of burley is easy on the tongue but deserves a careful smoking cadence to keep off any bitterness. This is a clean medium bodied that won’t win any rewards for complexity and likely never sought any. The blend was created for an all-day pipe smoker, and an all-day blend it is if you share LJ’s preference for a straightforward tangy smoke.

Wilke No. 193 by Pipeworks and Wilke

Blender’s description:

It is a light English blend of Virginias, Burleys, Latakia and Perique and is topped off with a bit of Wilke’s unique fermented black cavendish. Truly a social English.

This is a very agreeable blend in all ways. While 193 does lean to the lighter side, I find the flavor and body entirely satisfying and I can enjoy this any time of the day. The foundation of Burley, Virginia, and Latakia is not obscured by the smidgen of Perique or the fermented black cavendish.

This amount of Perique is perfect for adding a tidy amount of zing to an English type blend of this sort. The fermented black cavendish is either not overly sweet to begin with or applied sparingly enough to twist in an additional layer of flavor without getting in the way of a clean finish.

Like all the Pipeworks and Wilke blends, this arrived plenty moist and required some drying to reach a moisture level that appeals to me. Once there it loads and burns beautifully with no bite. I expect this easy-going blend will appeal to most pipe smokers unless they have no tolerance for Latakia or Perique in any amount.

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.

Gotham Court by Pipeworks and Wilke

This is a blend that makes me glad I don’t limit myself to one type of pipe tobacco blend or another.

Tin description:

A spicy aroma along with a subtle Oriental flavor. Orientals (other than Latakia) and a rich Virginia base along with two Cavendish tobaccos make up this special blend. Lightly aromatic!

I try a lot of pipe tobaccos and usually a new blend is a variation on a theme – another English, another Virginia/Perique, another aromatic, etc. Once in a while something entirely different comes along – this time its Gotham Court.

When I’m lighting this up my mind is telling me “its an aromatic – see, it says right there in the description,” but my palate is saying “but wait a minute, it doesn’t have that sweet, doughy, mouth feel.”

A lot of the sweetness, what little there is compared to most full-on aromatics, seems to be from the Virginias rather than the topping. The Orientals bring up the rear, sort of harmonizing with the added flavoring, and the cavendish carries the middle.

I’m hesitant to name the topping flavor. Some have called it cloves and nutmeg. I’m not sure that’s all there is to it. Hard to say because like all good aromatics, it is hard to tell where the topping flavor stops and the tobacco starts.

Gotham Court also undergoes some changes throughout the bowl. The Virginias get deeper and earthier, but the Orientals and the spice hold their own throughout the bowl.

This is a truly interesting blend and worth a try by any pipe smoker no matter what your usual preference.

Video coming soon.

Haddo’s Delight by G. L. Pease

Blender’s description:

This is a stout blend consisting of several grades of Virginia tobaccos with a generous measure of long-cut perique. Unflavored Green River black Cavendish and a little air-cured white burley ribbon provide fullness, body, and a bit of extra strength. Finally, an exclusive process darkens and marries the mixture, and gives the blend a subtle tin aroma of cocoa and dried fruit. The flavor is full on the palate, earthy, slightly sweet and intriguingly piquant, with overtones of figs and raisins. A wonderful and unprecedented blend for the true perique lover!

No review on this pipe tobacco yet.

No review on this pipe tobacco yet.

Ask about this pipe tobacco on the Tamp and Puff Discussion Forum or comment on it below. If you would like to write the review, please contact me.

1864 Perfect Mixture by Larsen

The tin description:

“1864” is the Perfect Mixture. A modern version of an early successful blend by W.O. Larsen. The 1864 mixture consists of carefully selected Virginia tobaccos from the best tobacco fields on three continents. The balanced Virginia tobaccos are blended with fermented Black Cavendish and premium Burley from the U.S.A., Malawi, and Mexico. We have added a seductive flavor to ensure a generous and delicate taste – truly a Perfect Mixture.

This is by far the best aromatic I have smoked and a masterpiece of a blend in its own right. I don’t have a special affection for aromatics, but I do enjoy a good one, and this is by far my favorite. Smoking pipe tobacco doesn’t often get better than this.

The balance between quality tobacco and top flavor is perfect. Neither is overwhelmed by the other; instead, they work in harmony with each other to make a wonderful overall smoke.

I can’t identify the flavor – at one point I thought it was a combination of orange and chocolate, but now I’m leaning towards something like anise and something else. The flavor is mysteriously familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s just good.

The base blend of tobaccos tastes like high quality. The burn is problem-free. No tongue bite and I’m a pipe smoker who has to be careful. I smoke this in my favorite briars without hesitation – it leaves no ghost flavors. The blend is at a suitable moisture directly from a freshly opened pouch.

Even if you have been put off by aromatic house blends or over the counter vanilla bombs and have sworn off aromatics, give this a try.

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.

Winding Road by Ashton

Tin description:

A mellow mixture designed to bridge the gap between aromatic and English style blends. Comprised of golden and dark brown Virginia with a sprinkling of Black Cavendish, this excellent blend bears a natural fragrance accompanied by subtle notes of caramel and apricot.