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.”

(more…)

Pipe Tobacco Review – Low Country Cooper

Low Country Cooper Pipe Tobacco Review

Low Country Cooper

The tin description:

The confluence of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers create Charleston Harbor, the most important port in the antebellum South. Following trade winds, goods flowed to points north and, especially, across the Atlantic to the great British ports of call. Commemorating the Cooper River’s contribution to world trade, we have selected choice Orientals and Cyprian Latakia to accent a base of fine Bright Leaf and Red Virginias to create this exceptional medium English Flake.

Inside a Tin of Low Country Cooper

Low Country Cooper is an English Flake consisting of the standard Virginia, Latakia, and Oriental leaf pressed and sliced. Cornell and Diehl provide the component tobaccos and manufacturing. The recipe itself is the creation of the folks behind Smokingpipes.com and its sister store Low Country Pipe & Cigar in South Carolina.

This English blend is brilliant for its balance as much as anything. When it comes to English blends there is really nothing new under the sun as we talk about ingredients. The blender’s expertise shines when he can balance those ingredients to create complexity and showcase the strengths of the component tobaccos and the interplay between them. That’s exactly what happened with Low Country Cooper and makes this a remarkable blend.

The “Choice Orientals” in combination with a harmonious balance of Latakia and Virginia launched Low Country Cooper to the top echelon of my list of favorite English blends.  The Orientals here are amazingly delicious. There’s a certain saltiness that makes my mouth water along with leather and herbal notes. The Cyprian Latakia is obvious but not overdone and the Virginias linger between tart and sweet.

Smoking Characteristics

The blend has body and substance without being heavy. I can and do smoke this all day or any time of day. There’s enough complexity for devoted attention to a meditative smoke while also being well behaved enough to share my focus with a book, movie, or work on the computer. This blend works well for me in a variety of roles.

The nicotine strength is, again, moderate and satisfying. I experience no tongue bite and the burning characteristics are superb straight from the tin. I have experimented with various filling methods such as folding the flake, air pocket, etc but find rubbing the flakes out works best to my personal tastes. This is the case for me with any flake tobacco so I suspect pipe smokers who prefer folding and stuffing other flakes will prefer Cooper prepared that way.

I imagine a few years age will be good for Low Country Cooper but I must stress that I have not had any older than a few months and can say a fresh tin is not to be missed. Buy some for now and buy some to cellar.

Be sure to pick up several tins – a couple to age and you’ll want to pop one right now. Cooper is available at Smokingpipes.com. Reviews on the rest of the Low Country tobaccos are coming soon. Maybe you’ll want to add those to your order as well. Spoiler: I found them all superb!

Have you smoked this blend? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments.

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.

Old Dublin by Peterson – Pipe Tobacco Review

Old Dublin by Peterson Pipe Tobacco Review

Old Dublin by Peterson - Pipe Tobacco

This traditional mixture of the finest Latakia, Turkish oriental, and Virginia Leaf is slowburning, cool and still blended by hand.

Two thoughts struck me as I lit up my first bowl Old Dublin. The first was “wow, this is so middle of the road, but in a good way.” The second thought was “where you been all my life!” Further bowls have revealed a most pleasant English that is perfectly tolerable in every way. I think this is what I noticed when I was seeing Old Dublin in the middle. There wasn’t anything extraordinary that I had to interpret, it just tastes good – it tastes like an English blend rather than an English blend but only little more this, or like and English blend, but with a lot of that. Like the tin description says – traditional English. Old Dublin was not an attempt to reinvent the wheel.

If anything stands out it is the Orientals. They are absolutely heavenly to my taste, much like a dry white wine. I love Old Dublin after a meal whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It has this dry fragrant character. Of course, when I say dry I don’t mean the moisture content, but the taste. So, the Turkish is right up there with everything else. Latakia fanatics may be underwhelmed, but those of us who would rather the Latakia leave room for others will find the proportions a wise choice on the blender’s part. There is more tang than sweetness from the Virginias. You have to pay attention or you may miss it.

The cut is ribbon, fine to medium. Moisture was perfect from a fresh tin. The burn is perfect and a good fill is near effortless. I had no problem with tongue bite and the strength is suitable and satisfying any time of the day. If you like English and Balkans, especially in the medium range, you’ll want to try this if you haven’t already. If you have tried it, or even if you haven’t, please comment below.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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.

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.