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.”


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.

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.

RLP-6 by Lane Limited

Blender description:

Blended with just the right prportion of Golden Virginia and Burley`s, the basic blend of Toasted Cavendish tobaccos takes on a zesty dimension. This mixture gets better as you smoke it all day long

This ubiquitous industrial bulk aromatic goes by almost as many names as there are shops selling pipe tobacco across North America. Pipe smokers who dislike bulk aromatics of this sort may find they dislike this one the least.

RLP-6 packs and smokes very nicely, has a clean flavor and finish, and I can’t get it to bite my tongue. Many compare it to its over-the-counter cousin, Captain Black White. It has been a while since I’ve sampled Captain Black, but I can say my memories of it are not as fond as my appreciation for the bowl of RLP-6 I smoke as I write this. I’m pretty sure there are differences between the two.

This is no boutique blend by any stretch of the imagination, but it never pretended to be. There is a reason this has been around for ages upon ages and outsells more refined pipe tobaccos pound for pound.

I make out a good deal of the underlying heavily processed tobacco flavor and its not in the least unpleasant, nor is the top flavor applied more subtly to this blend than most other aromatics of this caliber. Its pleasantly sweet but won’t make you worry about cavities as you smoke it.

You’ve likely smoked this before. What were your thoughts on it? Please add them to the comments below. Just for fun, if you know, I’d be interested to know what your local B&M names this blend.

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.

Classic Burley Kake by Russ Ouellette – Video

Blender’s description:

Classic Burley Kake is a new blend that pays homage to old-time Burley flakes and cakes. Using Tennessee and Kentucky Burleys, ranging from lighter white to darker mahogany, and a bit of matured red Virginia, this sliced cake tobacco is a traditional American-style blend.

We start with four different types of Burley, the aforementioned Tennessee and Kentucky, plus two different premium white Burleys. Then we add a red Virginia for a maple-like sweetness. Then we use all-natural flavors- cocoa, rum and anise and steam the tobaccos with the flavorings and firmly press and slice it. The aroma is mellow and pleasant, and the taste is lightly sweet with a large volume of smoke.

Hearken back to a simpler time when the sight of a pipe in someone’s mouth while walking down the street was common, and the scent of pipe tobacco was everywhere. Give Classic Burley Kake a try and go back in time.

The new Classic Burley Kake is a similar type of tobacco to Edgeworth Sliced. We’re not attempting to to copy Edgeworth, but rather provide smokers with a blend that is similar to yet still unique.

I try to maintain a certain objectivity when I review tobaccos – it shouldn’t be important to you how much I like this or that blend, you probably just want to know what’s in it and whatever other facts I can relay to you.

That said, I’m going to have to make an exception with Hearth and Home’s Classic Burley Kake. I’m very excited about this blend. For starters, it fits exactly what I’ve been looking for in a Burley blend – just a little sweetness, a little flavor, and I wanted all the rough edges knocked off. That is exactly what Russ Oullette has done with Classic Burley Kake.

In the pouch, the smell is cocoa and a little black licorice. The cakes rub out to medium semi-course cut at the ideal moisture level that makes gravity filling a pipe very easy. I fill this blend rather loose.

Hearth and Home Classic Burley Kake

First light kicks off the rum, anise, and cocoa flavors. The first quarter of the bowl they seem to mingle back and forth allowing me to easily make out each separate flavor. By the 1/3 mark, they seem to meld together and do a perfect job of accompanying the clean base tobacco flavor from the burleys.

The mellow natural-tasting sweetness and soft flavors remain throughout the bowl. The tobacco is as well behaved and easy to smoke as any aromatic, but has the mouth-feel, flavor, fullness, and strength of a regular non-aromatic blend.

I’m not one to make a point out of smoking to the bottom on one light, but it seems to almost come natural with this blend. It is full enough I’m not tempted to puff greedily, but easy going without causing fatigue so I can easily maintain a steady and gentle smoking cadence that keeps the ember hot and me in heaven on earth.

This blend will likely appeal to aromatic smokers wishing to explore their boundaries, definitely the Burley lover, and any other pipe smoker looking for a change of pace with a quality blend.

If you have tried this blend too, let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.

Wilke No. 72 by Pipeworks and Wilke

Blender’s description:

Composed of Burleys, two cuts of Virginia, Latakia and Perique. For those who enjoy true natural tobacco flavor, one of my most popular lighter English blends.

Here is an example of a blend that truly uses Latakia as a condiment. This rounds out and touches up the earthy burleys and leaves the pepper from the Perique to deal with the tang and sweetness from the Virginia.

No. 72 has lots of high notes and a clean dry finish. The proportion of Perique here is pushing the envelope but doesn’t quite step out of bounds. Those who like Virginia/Perique blends and burley should not be off put by the amount of Latakia here and enjoy this approach to what I’d call a classic American blend.

This will work great in warm weather or as a spicy all day smoke. Try this one in a variety of pipes as the bowl size and pipe engineering makes all the difference.

Boswell’s Premium Burley

Blender’s description:
Created by J.M. April 2007 A carefully well balanced blend creating a mild but full bodied flavor. A Kentucky Burley ripened to the fullest flavor. This is a winner with our customers, no other Burley like it!

In the pouch, the tobacco is soft to the touch, mostly medium with flecks of black. The pouch aroma is slightly sweet with maybe just a hint of Vanilla. This is another tobacco that is a joy to fill, light, and smoke.

The flavor while smoking is very smooth and mellow. There are much stouter burley blends out there, but this is just right for starting the day with a cup of coffee or enjoying in warm weather. I can barely detect any added flavor and the sweetness is subdued. Whatever processing this tobacco underwent has driven out any hint of harshness or capacity to nip the tongue.

As the bowl progresses the burley flavor deepens without going bitter and the sweetness subsides even further. The most serious burley aficionados may find this lacking in the body and strength department, but those looking for a well behaved, neutral flavored, straightforward burley smoke will likely find a keeper.

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.