Aladino Corojo Reserva

Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto

Sometimes you happen upon a diamond in the rough.  Indeed, that is the case for me and the Aladino cigar line.  I cannot recall exactly when, or where, I saw the brand for the first time, however, admittedly, the simple labeling and packaging reminded me of some familiar Habanos S.A. brands for a time long gone (old Montecristo bands).  Anyhow, I decided to pick up a few different options of the Aladino line at my local tobacconist and give them a try.  Before going any further, let me be clear, I have yet to be disappointed with the cigars in this brand.    

Aladino cigars are produced by the JRE Tobacco company, a father/son operation dedicated to growing and producing the best Corojo cigars from Honduras.  The following message about the company and their mission can be found on the JRE webpage (https://www.jretobacco.com) and reads as follows: 

“JRE Tobacco is a family centered company, founded by Julio R. Eiroa and his son Justo M. Eiroa, together they manage all aspects of the cigar growing and manufacturing for your enjoyment.  This is a crop to shop operation as we like to call it.  We are fully committed to providing sustained quality and satisfaction on every Aladino, Rancho Luna and Tatascan we make.  This self-impossed standard covers the entire cigar manufacturing process.  Our commitment to quality and consumer satisfaction is never compromised or circumvented.  As the premier Corojo grower in the industry, I, Julio Eiroa, Master Cigar Blender and Tobacco grower, guarantee that all our brands will provide you the opportunity to enjoy an authentic Corojo taste, the same as cigars from the 1960s.  Join us on this journey and be part of a history-making cigar smoking experience like no other.”

The Aladino Corojo Reserva portfolio contains the following sizes and are readily available at your local brick and mortar store or friendly online tobacconist.

  • Corona 5 x 44 (Limited Production)
  • Robusto 5 x 50
  • Toro 6 x 52
  • Box Pressed Figurado 6 ¼ x 54 (Limited Production)

On to the review….

Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto Attributes

Size: Robusto

Length: 5  

Ring Gauge: 50

Wrapper: Honduran Corojo

Binder: Honduran Corojo

Filler: Honduran Corojo

Country: Honduras

Price: $11.50 USD ea./$215.00 Box of 20

Pre-light Inspection: Although the bands are simple in nature, the tissue paper added to the body of the cigar gives the consumer a feel of delicate elegance.  The cigar’s wrapper had a few veins running throughout and the cigar was very firm to the touch yielding no soft spots.  The cigar displayed a Colorado colored wrapper leaf and the cap on this example was an uneven, lumpy, double seam.  The cold smell showed sweet cedar and chocolate notes and the cold draw was medium tight with cold sweet notes of fresh Earth. 

Opening and First Third:  Cigar opened with a bold spice and lots of thick, full, white smoke.  The draw gave almost perfect resistance, and the burn did require a touch up, however, nothing that would negatively impact the cigar’s overall performance.  Tastes in the first third noted an earthy forward taste with touches of cocoa powder and splashes of pepper spice (similar to a clove). Aroma was outstanding, yielding sweet, creamy, bready notes.  Cigar’s strength and body were both medium/full moving to the full range.

Second Third: The second third of my Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto continued to have a magnificent aroma of sweet cream and baked deserts.  Truly wonderful!  The burn on the cigar continued to be wavy but did not require any touch-ups.  The pepper and spiciness of the cigar enhanced during the second third with the chocolate/cocoa tastes fading away.  The earth notes remained solid, and a minor floral note began to appear as the cigar moved into the final third.  Body of the cigar remained medium/full while the strength of the cigar actually pulled back to be straight medium.  

Final Third: The final third of my Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto was nothing short of amazing.  The aroma continued to be memorizing with its creamy, baked sugar sweetness.  The Earthy tasting note persisted throughout the entire smoke and was truly the foundation for the cigar’s flavor profile.  Notes of mint and chocolate splashed in and out during the final third and a very, but pleasant, buttered, nutty sweetness started to stand out near the finale.  Cigar closed more toward full in body with continued mouthfuls of creamy, thick, white smoke, and the strength I would classify as a solid medium.  The burn remained wavy and required two more touch-ups to close out the smoking experience.  

Overall Impressions: Overall, I must admit that the Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto is very much in the running for my 2022 Cigar of the Year.  The cigar has just enough complexity to remain interesting, while offering a very enjoyable smoking experience.  I would be remiss to not tell everyone that I have indeed ordered a full 20 count box of this cigar as it is very much box worthy.  If you are looking to get someone into cigar smoking, or would like to impress a guest with a quality cigar without breaking the bank, the Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto is a perfect match for you.  Pick some up and give them a try for yourself.  It will be a guarantee payback on your investment of time and money.    

Cigar Score: 4 out of 5 boxes

A full video review of the Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto cigar can be found on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/qHXuCzMw5fw

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar Review

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition

Happy National Cigar Day!  Or at least I think I read that somewhere… Even if it’s not, we have beautiful weather in my part of the world, and a lazy Sunday calls for a good cigar.  

Most of us probably associate Pappy Van Winkle as one of the most sought-after, high-end bourbons in the world.  Admittingly, I have had the fortune of sampling some 10-year-old Pappy and although it was very smooth, it’s by far, not the best bourbon I’ve ever had.  As we will note later in this review, don’t get caught off guard by the hype associated with a brand name.  

With that being said, the Pappy Van Winkle line is rolled and produced by Drew Estate Cigars at La Gran Fabrica in Esteli, Nicaragua.  The Tradition line debuted in 2018 and includes the following vitolas:

  • Corona 5 ½ x 44 (Exclusive-not marketed)
  • Coronita 4 x 46 ($15.00)
  • Robusto Grande 5 ½ x 54 ($22.00)
  • Belicoso Fino 5 x 50 ($25.00)
  • Toro 6 x 50 (Exclusive-not marketed)
  • Churchill 7 x 48 ($24.00)

The Tradition line is the second release in the Pappy Van Winkle Cigar portfolio, with the first being Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented.  I was a bit worried that being produced by Drew Estate, the company would attempt to infuse some type of bourbon flavoring into the cigars, similar to their Acid line, however, this is certainly not the case.  So, let’s jump in and see what the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar is all about.     

On to the review….

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Attributes

Size: Robusto Grande

Length: 5 ½   

Ring Gauge: 54

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Oscuro

Binder: Indonesia

Filler: Dominican Republic; Nicaragua

Country: Nicaragua

Price: $22.00 USD

Pre-light Inspection: Cold smell yields a nice rich tobacco and earthy barnyard mix.  The wrapper is a medium to light brown in appearance with minimal veins.  Cap is pristine and the large double bands display a picture similar to the bourbon outlined in a cardinal red.  Cold draw did not yield any specific tastes and the draw seemed initially tight. 

Opening and First Third:  The cigar opened with a spicey black pepper and moved its way into a leathery dry toast.  First third was medium in both strength and body.  The burn a bit wavy but needed no touch-ups producing a very pure white powdery ash.  The draw was not tight as I though on the pre-light and instead could be defined as effortless. 

Second Third: Moving into the second third, I had to remove the first, smaller, label identifying the cigar as Tradition.  I was very careful to remove the band, however, the cigar started to split once the band was removed and continued this trend the remainder of the smoking experience.  Tastes continued to show a nice toastiness that was complemented in the room note.  The aroma, coupled with the toast, reminded me of a nice bakery.  There was an awkward metallic taste note that sporadically appeared in the second third.  A mild hint of soft red wine, similar to a pinot noir, appeared at the end of the second third and my hopes were that this continued into the last part of the smoke.  Body and strength continued to be medium and the burn was very wavy due to the split wrapper.     

Final Third: I ended up touching the cigar up heading into the final third in hopes of stopping the split.  This did help initially, but the cigar had to be touched up a few more times in order to make it a successful finish.  The toastiness continued through the end with the aroma reminding me of sweet graham.  The metallic taste decided to show up on a more frequent basis in the final third but was also accompanied by a unique nutty almond paste note.  The body of the cigar finished out medium/full while the strength boasted itself into the full category.  

Overall Impressions: The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition was a nice cigar and I’m glad I had the opportunity to smoke it.  Like the bourbon, I feel this could be a hyped-up line due to its name and tradition.  Would I recommend other folks try the line, absolutely as it is a good cigar.  Would I fill my humidor with a box for aging, probably not.  At a price point of $22.00 each, this is a good cigar but not worthy of a second go in my rotation.  To be clear, there are a lot of other cigars on the market, in the $8 – $10 price range, that I enjoy on a much more regular basis and that I would reach for before the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition.  Would I suggest maybe picking one up to enjoy on the golf course or with some buddies?  Sure!  But for the long term, this will probably be my one and only Pappy cigar.   

Cigar Score: 3 out of 5 boxes

A full video review of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Robusto Grande cigar can be found on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/DeNx1DThurs

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2021

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2021

Another year has come and gone.  It seems as though the older I get, the faster time passes.  Of course, when reflecting on the past 365 days, I am not shocked by the reality of accomplishing less than I set out to accomplish at the start of the year.  Without making excuses, the continued threat of COVID does not always make endeavors easy, however, it appears this virus is here to stay.  Thus, we must now work to live with it, not just around it.    

With all of this being said, I was able to enjoy several pipe tobacco blends this past year and most were excellent in nature.  Below, I have presented my Top 5 favorite Pipe Tobaccos for 2021 along with my top two biggest disappointment blends.  The five tobaccos I selected as my favorites are blends that I not only smoked the most, but tobaccos I worked to cellar more than any other blends during the year.  Each presents a unique and enjoyable experience and if you haven’t had the opportunity to try them, I suggest you do. As always, thank you for taking the time to read and follow The Pipe Professor website.  I can’t guarantee posts will be regular but be assured they content on this page will be of utmost quality now and in the future.  Here’s to a blessed and joyful 2022!  

Tobacco #5 for 2021

Drucquer & Sons First Amendment

Info & Overview

Brand: G.L. Pease  

Category: English

Blend Components: Burley; Latakia; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 100g tin

Price: $21.25 USD

Tobacco Notes:  Admittingly, I very much enjoy G.L. Pease tobaccos and am an even bigger Drucquer & Sons fan.  When I saw the release of a new tobacco to the D&S line this past summer, I did not hesitate and jumped in immediately purchasing three tins blind.  I did do an initial review of First Amendment on the Pipe Professor YouTube channel, but since the filming of that video, I have continued to smoke and enjoy First Amendment more and more.  This tobacco offers a rich flavorful nutty smoke that is savory and hints at rustic, rich tea notes all followed by a natural tobacco sweetness.  The blend is very complex and extremely enjoyable. So much so, that I went back and have now stocked my cellar with this blend for many years to come.  To say I am eager to see if it continues to expand in enjoyment from time-set-aside is a complete understatement.  Drucquer & Sons First Amendment, if you haven’t tried it, I don’t know why you are waiting.  It’s fantastic and available.   

Tobacco #4 for 2021

Boswell’s Honey Roast Pipe Tobacco 

Info & Overview

Brand: J.M. Boswell’s  

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Golden Cavendish; Black and Fire-cured Cavendish; Black Honey Cavendish

Flavorings: Honey 

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: per oz

Price: $3.75 USD per oz

Tobacco Notes:  For several years now, I have put aside smoking aromatic pipe tobaccos.  Why?  I have no idea.  However, during 2021, I found myself craving the sweet aromatic offerings that first spurred me into the hobby.  Anyone who is a seasoned pipe smoker knows that if you are looking for the best aromatic pipe tobaccos, your guaranteed option is Boswell’s.  I put in an order on the Boswell’s website earlier this year with several 2oz samples.  Of all the aromatics I tried this year, not just Boswell’s, the Honey Roast found its way into my pipes more than any other.  This tobacco offers an outstanding room note of sweet, dark baked bread, the tastes also come forward offering honey, browned buttered toast, and candied sweetness.  The tobacco has its own unique complexity in that your palate will be satisfied but always wanting more.  Boswell’s Honey Roast is a lasting aromatic pipe tobacco that should be sampled by pipe smokers who enjoy a little honey sweetness in their smoking diet.    

A short video review of me sampling Boswell’s Honey Roast can be found here.

Tobacco #3 for 2021

Orlik Golden Sliced

Info & Overview

Brand: Orlik Tobacco Company

Category: VaPer

Blend Components: Virginia; Perique

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 1.75 oz tin or 3.5 oz tin

Price: $9.58 USD for 1.75 oz; $16.99 USD for 3.5 oz 

Tobacco Notes: The king of Virginia Perique (VaPer) blends, at least that’s my opinion.  There has indeed been some argument in the Pipe Community that Orlik Golden Sliced actually contains no perique and is just a straight Virginia blend, but I do not fall in that camp.  Being the tobacco I have purchased the most of in 2021, Orlik Golden Sliced is a perfect example of not only a Virginia Perique tobacco, but a blend that ages wonderfully.  This past year I finished a tin of OGS from 2015 (it was spectacular and smoked like a dream) and worked my way through two fresh tins.  The aged sample had its own fantastic qualities; however, this tobacco is still amazing when enjoyed fresh.  The best part of it all?  OGS is a very affordable tobacco that is frequently on sale at your local online tobacconists.  Fresh hay, spiced sweetness, and brown sugar, this tobacco, in my opinion, is the best bang for your buck currently available on the market.  And to think, early in my pipe smoking career, I very much disliked this blend.  I’m glad I finally came to my senses!  

Tobacco #2 for 2021

Mac Baren Modern Virginia Flake

Info & Overview

Brand: Mac Baren 

Category: VaBur

Blend Components: Virginia; Burley; Cavendish

Flavorings: Apricot; Pineapple

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 1.75 oz tin

Price: No longer in production

Tobacco Notes:  It seems like I always find a tobacco I really love and shortly afterwards, it’s pulled from production.  Mac Baren’s Modern Virginia Flake Cut is one of those tobaccos and unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to stock up as I did with other blends that are now forever removed from our pipe tobacco portfolios.  This tobacco has aged into a wonderfully dark, crystalized flake.  The fruit toping has settled just enough to present an exceptionally pleasant room note while not taking away from the fruit sweetness, rich natural honey, and mild nutty flavors presented in the tastes.  This tobacco burns cool and smokes under the medium body, mild strength profile.  Completely perfect when I’m looking to interrupt my regularly scheduled smoking rotation.  If you have been able to cellar or find Mac Baren’s Modern Virginia Flake, good for you. I suggest going ahead and opening those tins to enjoy.  You will be glad you did and experience something that should have never left the market.        

Tobacco #1 for 2021

McClelland Frog Morton on the Town

Info & Overview

Brand: McClelland Tobacco Company

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Virginia 

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin or 100g tin

Price: No longer in production

Tobacco Notes:  I’ve smoked my share of regular Frog Morton (Frog-on-a-log) and Frog Morton Cellar.  Both are highly enjoyable tobaccos but neither have come close to uprooting my favorite McClelland tobacco, 40thAnniversary.  It wasn’t until late summer/early fall this year that I decided to pop open a tin of Frog Morton on the Town to see where it stood in comparison to its Frog friends.  Wow!  I was, and continue to be, blow away by how much I enjoy this tobacco.  I never smoked this blend when still available on the market, therefore, I don’t know if it’s the age or if the blend has always been spectacular, but I do know it’s worth every penny I have paid and will continue to pay for it.  The smoking experience offers a damp, earthy room note and tastes that is offset by floral/herbal notes, forest pines, and black tea creaminess.  The smoke is rich and smooth with the tobacco burning slowly down to a white ash of wonder in each bowl.  My palate could, and would, enjoy this tobacco all day every day is possible.  If you haven’t been able to sample McClelland’s Frog Morton on the Town, it would be worth your hard-earned coin to find some and splurge.  Every pipe smoker should have the opportunity to enjoy this heavenly bliss at least once.   

Top Two Tobacco Disappointments of 2021

Disappointment #1 for 2021

Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake

Info & Overview

Brand: Former

Category: VaPer

Blend Components: Perique; Virginia 

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 2oz tin

Price: $10.63 USD

Tasting Notes: This was the first Former’s blend I have ever smoked and without standing, very well could be my last.  I did a first impressions video of this tobacco here, but as I sampled it a few times after this initial impressions video, I found the tobacco did not improve.  Dry, simplistic, and bland with an overall ‘dusty’ quality, this tobacco did not find enjoyment with my smoking palate.  It’s possible that this blend will age wonderfully but I’m not willing to dedicate my time, money, or cellar space to find out.  With so many fantastic Virginia tobaccos on the market, Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake is an easy pass for me.  

Disappointment #2 for 2021

Sir Walter Raleigh Original (Pouch)

Info & Overview

Brand: Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG)

Category: Burley

Blend Components: Burley

Flavorings: Anisette; Sweet/Sugar 

Cut Type: Corse Cut

Available Packaging: 1.5oz pouch (or) 14oz can

Price: $4.13 USD per pouch (or) $38.18 per can

Tasting Notes: I started a segment on my YouTube channel (which I do intend to continue forward with in 2022) called A Study in OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouches.  In this study, I am sampling several of the most common and available ‘codger’ drug store pouch tobaccos in search of any real gems.  Sir Walter Raleigh original was the first pouch I sampled in the series (video here) and going into the review, I had very high hopes.  I mean, let’s be real.  This blend has supposedly stood the test of time being around more than a century.  Surely, there is something amazing that folks have flocked to generation after generation.  Without going into the details (those can be found at my original post here) this blend has absolutely nothing to offer.  Completely flavorless and bland.  It baffles me to think that folks have continued to smoke this blend entire lifetimes.  I just don’t understand why.  No flavor, no real room note, just bland nothingness.  My current plan is to give the remainder of this pouch to anyone who wants it and never purchase another Sir Walter Raleigh pouch again. To be very bold, if this were the only pipe tobacco available on the market, I wouldn’t smoke a pipe.     

Again, thank you for visiting The Pipe Professor website.  I hope you have enjoyed my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2021 and please stay tuned for more reviews and exciting content including My Favorite Things of 2021.  As always, I hope each of you have a blessed new year and until next time, cheers!

* All tobacco/tin pictures and blend information (excluding tobacco notes) were taken from tobaccoreviews.com, boswellpipes.com, pipesandcigars.com, and smokingpipes.com.  The writer of this post is not the owner of the above photos/blend information related to each tobacco and does not take credit for their creation. 

A Study in OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouches 

The Introduction & Pouch #1: Sir Walter Raleigh Original

A few weeks ago, I came across a sale on the Pipes & Cigars website for pouch tobaccos.  As I looked through the prices on the pouch tobaccos, I began to wonder why I had never actually tried any of the staple Over the Counter (OTC) pipe tobacco pouch blends during my pipe smoking tenure.  After lighting a bowl of something not OTC, I reminisced on the fact that I started pipe smoking with my local tobacconist blends (Schwab’s Pipes N Stuff Ideal and Big Blue Blend) and immediately moved into Cornell & Diehl blends, Dunhill EMP, McClelland Frog Morton Series, and at the time Tewksbury’s Hobbits Weed (Rest in Peace).  

I concluded that my pipe smoking journey had completely by-passed where a lot of pipe smokers start the hobby.My thinking further reasoned that many of these blends are highly revered and have stood the test of time, some for a century or more.  If folks have been enjoying these blends for that long, maybe I really am missing out on something spectacular.  I knew I couldn’t just let the opportunity pass without at least trying some of the blends, so, after moving through another bowl or two, I decided to place a large order with P&C and catch up on the pouches I have missed out on during my pipe smoking journey. 

 

So, where to begin?  In all fairness, I decided to put all the pouches (plus some others I already had in my cellar, unopened) in a large bag and do a random pull to begin smoking my way through each to see what these infamous OTC blends all are about.  I detailed the process for this little experiment on my YouTube channel with a video called Introduction to A Study in OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouches.  You can view the video here or I will quickly review the process and guidelines below.

Guidelines to the Study

  1. Pouches will be reviewed in a random order, one per week, until all pouches have been sampled.
  2. Each tobacco will be smoked a minimum of four times; once in an unfiltered Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman Corn Cob pipe, once in a Missouri Meerschaum Pride filtered Corn Cob pipe, once in an unfiltered Huck Finn Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob pipe, and once in a Ropp Superior paneled briar pipe.
  3. I will capture my initial impressions for each tobacco in video format on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel and provide my final assessment here on The Pipe Professor webpage after smoking the blend a minimum of four times throughout the week in the various pipes.  
  4. As I smoke through each blend, I will place them in rank order, updated with each review here on the webpage.  Blends will move up and down the list until I have smoked through all the OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch blends.  
  5. Similar to other pipe tobacco reviews, I will rate each blend using the Five Pipes scoring rubric.  

Without further ado, let’s jump in to our first OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch, Sir Walter Raleigh Original.

Sir Walter Raleigh Original

Let’s be honest, if you are a pipe smoker or have ever smoked a pipe, you have more than likely heard of Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco.  I was excited that this pouch was the first random draw to come out of my bag.  Supposedly having been around since 1927, this name and tobacco blend is easily a staple in our timeless hobby.  With a blend that has survived almost a full century, I was eager to experience the successes that have carried this blend forward for 91 years.  Similar to other pipe tobacco enthusiast, I headed to the Tobacco Reviews webpage to read the description and find out more about the tobacco.  From the Tobacco Reviews website:

“An aromatic burley blend with hints of cocoa and Oriental spice, the Sir Walter Raleigh regular mixture has been a popular favorite of countless smokers for generations. A traditional blend of burley tobaccos made in Kentucky.

This description sounds wonderful and lovely making me want to jump right into smoking.  Before doing so, let’s take a look at the blend breakdown.

Info & Overview

Brand/Manufacturer: Sir Walter Raleigh/Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) 

Category: Aromatic Burley

Blend Components: Burley

Flavorings: Anisette and Sweet Sugar

Cut Type: Course Cut

Available Packaging: 1.5 oz pouch/7 oz can/14 oz can

Price: $4.62 USD per pouch/$20.04 per 7oz can/$38.18 per 14 oz can

On to the review…

(Sir Walter Raleigh Pipe Tobacco First Impressions YouTube video can be found here)

From the Pouch: Upon opening the seal I am met with a very rich, pleasant tobacco smell, similar to Red Man or Levi Garret chewing tobacco with prominent notes of chocolate.  The tobacco color consists of dark browns and the cut was more shag than course in my opinion.  Moisture content out of the pouch was perfect, however, I did find a few stems that needed to be removed before packing and smoking.      

Smoking Notes: The tobacco was easy to pack and light.  In fact, the burn and performance of the tobacco was not bad at all.  I had no problem keeping each bowl lit and the tobacco burned at a nice pace.  The strength of the tobacco was mild and the body was an overall mild + (almost medium bodied).  The major problem with this tobacco is the taste and aroma.  They are both non-existent.  I ended up smoking a total of six bowls of Sir Walter Raleigh Original (four in the cobs and two in the briar).  Not one single smoking experience provided me with any flavor.  Truly, not once did I get any tastes good or bad from this smoke.  It was just….there.  The room note at times did hint toward a chocolate essence, however, I’m honestly not sure if that was real or my mind hoping for it.  Granted, it is important for a tobacco to perform well in the bowl, however, I smoke to enjoy great tastes and smells in from my pipes and tobaccos.  I got neither from this blend.  

Overall Impression: 91 years of blandness.  Maybe I missed something, but I never got anything from this blend….nothing!  Flavor was non-existent, at times the room note hinted at a coco chocolate but rarely developed, and the strength of the tobacco was very mild.  The tobacco did burn well and stayed lit easily, so that is one positive.  If I am going to spend money on tobacco and put forth the time and effort of enjoying a pipe, it will not be on Sir Walter Raleigh Original pipe tobacco.  This will easily be my first and only pouch of this tobacco.  91 years this blend has survived!  Wow, my mind is blown on why and how.        

Tobacco Score: (2 out of 5 pipes)

Stay tuned as we study a different OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch next week. Until then don’t forget to slow down, simplify, and sip on a pipe. Cheers!

Current Order of OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch Enjoyment 

  1. Sir Walter Raleigh (it’s the only one I’ve smoked thus far and won’t be here long, guaranteed!)

Tobacco & Tomes

A review of Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake & the book Later by Stephen King

I filmed a first impressions, “Pop-the-Top”, tobacco review of Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake last weekend, in which, I found the blend to be “just ok”.  The video for my first impressions, and review of the book Later by Stephen King, can be found here (FYI, watch the video until the end for a special surprise).  

I must confess, I failed to acknowledge, mention, or even purposefully detect the perique in the Former’s Bird’s Eye blend during my initial impression.  The only indication I found during my first smoke experience was the deep, rich fruit notes I detected on the nose when smelling the freshly opened tin.  Now that I have been able to smoke this blend over the course of a full week, I am much more “in-tune” to what the blend has to offer and will discuss my final score below. 

Info & Overview

Brand: Former’s 

Category: VaPer 

Blend Components: Virginia; Perique

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Broken Flake

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $10.50 USD

On to the review…

From the Tin: From the tin, the tobacco is presented as broken flakes.  Understandably, the manufacturer sells this tobacco as a flake tobacco; however, the flakes I encountered were broken, not full flakes like that of Orlik Golden Sliced or Dunhill Flake.  The tobacco is very, very dry upon opening the tin, almost overly dry.  This is a bit concerning, as the tobacco will not only burn hotter while smoking but may be too dry to age well in the cellar.  The broken flakes are light golden and yellow in color.  The perique is not evident unless you purposefully look for it.  The smell from the tin is a straight up hay barn, no qualms about it.  Due to the dryness of the flakes, the tobacco required no dry time.  To be completely honest, I almost considered re-hydrating some of the tobacco but did not do so.   

Tasting Notes:  I always find it interesting how a blend changes from the first bowl to the lasting crumbs of an empty tin.  We all hear it said, and it is absolutely true, if you don’t like a blend at first, give it some time and see how either it or your tastes change.  My initial tasting impressions of Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake was not bad by any stretch of the imagination; however, after giving the blend my full attention over the past week, the tastes really became clear.  Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake offers the smoker tastes of grass, hay, spicey black pepper, wheat/grain, and dry cereal, similar to bran flakes.  Initially, I thought I was tasting a leather quality but after smoking almost the entire tin, I realize it wasn’t leather, but an earthy, dried fruit note found from the perique.  Side note, I only found this taste to be present a few times.  In fact, it was so random I’m not completely comfortable listing it as a given taste you will experience while smoking this blend.    

Overall Impression:  First and foremost, quick cadence smokers be warned!  If you pull hard or fast on this tobacco, it WILL give you tongue bite.  Maybe it’s due to the dryness, maybe it’s the sparce perique…  Either way, this is a tobacco to be slowly sipped and enjoyed.  As I scored this tobacco “just ok” in my initial impression, I continue to hold strong to that thought.  The tobacco is a good quality and I’m glad I had the opportunity to smoke it; however, there is really nothing special about this blend.  It’s a pretty standard Virginia flake (with a sprinkle of perique) and with all the various options on the market, there are much better choices I can put my time and money into.  For me, the major drawback of the blend is its extreme dry character.  I feel this probably hurts the quality of the tobacco more than it helps.  Is it worth a try?  Sure!  Will I be filling voids in my cellar with tins of Former’s Bird’s Eye Flake?  No.  Score from my initial impressions to the end of the tin, not changed.        

Tobacco Initial Impression Score: 3 out of 5 pipes

Tobacco End of Tin Overall Score: 3 out of 5 pipes

Later 

by: Stephen King

A new novel by Stephen King, I couldn’t resist giving it a read.  Not to mention, I am a sucker for the cover art on a book and Later, screamed interesting read.  I know, I know, “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” but let’s be real people.  All of us do it, whether intentional or not.  So, coming out of the pandemic and having the chance to read the new King novel, I took total advantage.  I will say, I was hesitant to purchase the book as the last few King novels have been less than satisfying, thus, not warranting a second read.  Therefore, I took advantage of my local library’s online e-book option called Libby.  Not only was I able to read the novel for free, but the book is also automatically returned on its due date.  I’m typically terrible about returning books to the library on time, so this is a welcomed change for me.      

Here are the specific details on the novel:            

Info & Overview

Title:  Later

Author:  Stephen King

Publisher:  Hard Case Crime

Publication Year:  March 2021  

Genre:  Fiction/Crime/Horror

Number of Pages:  272

Price:  $9.56 USD (mass-market paperback); $9.99 (Kindle e-version) 

On to the review…

As discussed in my video review of the book on YouTube, I am using a new review system similar to what I use when tasting wines.  I will be breaking my thoughts into the following categories: Successes, Struggles, Suggested Audience, and Score.  With that being said, let’s dive right in. 

Successes

  1. It was easy to relate to the characters in the book, especially the main character and narrator of the story, Jamie Conklin.  Maybe it was the modern-day era that made the connection to characters smoother, or maybe King just did an overall better job at bringing out the details of each person.  Either way, the characters in the book were well done and helped make for a good story.  
  2. Building off of Success #1, King does a really nice job of having characters appear and reappear throughout the story (hints the book title Later).  I especially found an interest in the reappearances of Jamie’s mom’s NYPD detective ex-girlfriend Liz.  The way King manipulates her relationship and personal desire to other characters was very well done. 
  3. The final success complement’s King’s persuasive writing.  Even though this was a fictional story, the manner in which it is written and delivered makes it highly believable and realistic.  The setting for the story is modern day in New York City (or just on the outskirts of the city itself).  King continuously pulls the reader out of reality then expertly pushes us back in.  The set-up is so good one may think something similar to this story could indeed happen in real life.  

Struggles

  1. There were editing issues within the kindle (e-book) version of the publication.  Simple things such as “s” on the end of words that would never have needed them or made sense for them to have a plural or possessive plural function.  Also, there were random symbols and letters in some of the words and sentences.  For example, “As I wal%ked up the 3tepes, I noticed the door slightly ajars”.  I’m sorry but at the level Stephen King is publishing, there should be zero editing errors, no exceptions.  I hope these errors were not found in hard copies of the book and am allowing the benefit of the doubt that it had to do with some kind of electronic upload/formatting failure when pushed to kindle.  
  2. If you follow King on any type of social media, you undoubtably know his philosophy and moral stance when it comes to politics.  The same can be said for reading his books.  There were a few parts in the story where King used his writing platform to make stabs at individuals in today’s current political world.  Whether you agree with his stance or not (I am NOT opening that can of worms on this website.  Visit your friendly local news organization to find all the political gossip you can handle), the jabs and snide remarks toward those he agrees and disagrees with are unnecessary and do not help push the story plot forward in any way, shape, or form.  The book would be just as effective and enjoyable without bringing the political rhetoric into the story.  After all, I read to escape the bull crap of this world (such as politics), therefore, when it follows me into my pastime, I begin to look for other authors to satisfy my storytelling needs, who understand, fictional stories can do without real-life horror.  
  3. The final struggle of the book is two-fold as the first part is somewhat the cause of the second.  As mentioned above, the main character is a young boy named Jamie Conklin, and Jamie can see dead people.  Yes, this theme has already been successfully achieved by M. Night Shyamalan in the 1990’s blockbuster hit The Sixth Sense.  Although a touch different than the Bruce Willis film, as dead people only last three days and must tell the truth when asked a question, King did do a nice job of using Jamie’s unique skill to bend the plot into an enjoyable rat-race (read the book and you’ll better understand what I mean).  With that being said, the second part of struggle three is related to this special ability.  King uses it to abruptly end the book causing the entire story to fall flat and just end in a “happily-ever-after” sort of manner.  A very tense moment at the end just kind of stops and literally, “walks out the door.”  Really!?  We had all this major build-up and were staged for the grand finale and what do we get?  A moldy bologna sandwich.  I don’t know if deadlines were tight, ideas had run dry, or he was just looking for a sequel opportunity (mark my words now…See You Later by Stephen King, set to debut December 2022).  No matter what the case, this is becoming characteristic of King’s writing.  He just doesn’t finish strong anymore.  That was one of the reasons I started reading his work 20+ years ago.  He wrote a great story with a very satisfying ending.  No, it may not have been a happy ending, but it was satisfying.  King has lost his touch when it comes to a solid finish.  Period.  Best word to describe it, unfulfilling.                    

Suggested Audience

Obviously, this story is written for a mature audience (adults), however, this would be an acceptable novel for a mature young adult or teen.  Also, if you are looking to dive into Stephen King’s work, this would be a good novel to start with for two reasons. First, there are no characters linked to a previous story/book and secondly, it is a horror novel, but it’s not demented horror like we find in several of his other stories (i.e., you will be able to sleep at night).   

Overall Book Score: 3 out of 5 books

So, there you have it, a Tobacco and a Tome.  Thank you again for visiting The Pipe Professor webpage.  Stay tuned, both here and on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel, for more literature, tobacco, pipes, cigars, and timeless treasure content.  I hope to post bi-weekly (alternating) Sundays on both platforms.      

Until next time, thanks for reading.  Cheers!  

Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro

Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro   

Happy 2021!  I am excited that the first cigar I am blessed to smoke and review this year is the Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro No.50.  I purchased a 10-count box of these cigars back in 2015 and yes, am just now opening them for enjoyment.  Before getting to the review, lets discuss a little about this cigar and its significance in the Padron portfolio.  

In celebration of their 50th year in the cigar production business, the Padron family chose to celebrate the milestone with the creation of a regular production cigar line, Family Reserve.  Finding their beginnings in 1964 by patriarch Jose O. Padron, immigrant to the United States from Cuba, the Padron cigar company is currently based in Miami, Florida with crop growth and production occurring in Estelí, Nicaragua.  It goes without saying that Padron cigars started as a family endeavor and continuous as such to this day.  Although 2018 saw the passing of founder Jose O. Padron, the company continues its forward motion and success under Jorge Padron, son of the late Jose O. Padron.  The following are the six lines in the Padron portfolio, all of which encompass various shapes, sizes, and wrapper leaves (natural or maduro).  

  • Padron Series
  • Padron Damaso
  • Padron 1964 Anniversary
  • Padron 1926 Serie
  • Padron Family Reserve
  • Padron 50th Anniversary

For more information of the Padron family story visit their website at: https://padron.com        

On to the review….

Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro Attributes

Size: Robusto

Length: 5  

Ring Gauge: 54

Wrapper: Nicaragua 

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Country: Nicaragua

Price: $25.00 USD ea.; $250 USD 10ct. Box

Pre-light Inspection: The Padron Family Reserve 50-year sports a gorgeous box press, similar to most cigars in the Padron line.  The deep, dark, smooth wrapper leaf has minimal veins and provides an unlit aroma of sweet cocoa and rich earth.  The bands are extravagant and easily accent the specialness of the cigar.  The upper, main band is a deep wine red embossed with gold lettering depicting the Padron name and Family Reserve label.  Underneath the main band we are presented with a number ID band typically of Padron’s 1964 and 1926 lines.  These secondary ID bands help prevent counterfeiting of the cigars and personalize the smoker’s experience with the stick.  The second band is cream colored with gold lettering displaying 50 years.  The cap of the cigar is smooth, round, and well-applied.  The solid roll showed a jam-packed foot with no soft spots detected on the pinch throughout the cigar’s body.  Upon cold, pre-light draw I was presented with an effortless resistance, typical of most Padron cigars.  Cold tastes showed hopeful notes of earth and leather (similar to a new leather belt). 

Tasting Notes and Performance:  Throughout the smoking experience the cigar never required a touch up and the burn was suburb and straight the entire time.  The cigar produced a medium gray ash that showed beautifully stacked, wavy layers.  The tastes I noted throughout were earthy barnyard, dark cocoa powder, black coffee, and a mild pepperiness, all wrapped in a thick, creamy, white smoke.  The cigar was very well balanced in its tasting profile, however, very typical of a Nicaraguan maduro (certainly a Padron cigar).  The cigar provided a full-bodied experience and was medium-full in strength.  It’s easy to understand this is a cigar to be savored, not smoked like a steam engine.  The room aroma was a mix of sweet tobacco and soft yeasty bread.  Total smoking time was 74 minutes.             

Overall Impressions:  I have high expectations cigars that costs $25.00 a piece, and the Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro delivered on this expectation.  With that being said, at this price point, this cigar is certainly not an everyday smoke.  I am pleased with the balance and eloquence the cigar shows and look forward to dipping into the box on special occasions or with friends over dinner and drinks; however, if given the option of spending $250 on another box or putting that cash toward a 25-count box of Cubans, I will stick with the latter.  The only negative point against this cigar is the price.  However, luxury experiences call for a luxury price tags and if you have some extra dough laying around, I can assure you that investing it on a Pardon Family Reserve 50 years will pay you back with an extraordinary smoking experience.  If you have the opportunity to pick one up, do so.  It will be worth your time and money.   

Cigar score: 4 out of 5 boxes

Until next time, stay blessed. Cheers!

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2020

Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2020   

Let’s address the elephant in the room, 2020 was more than complicated due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Many of us have had to change our day-to-day habits, several individuals have lost their jobs, and even more have suffered from the loss of family and friends due to the virus.  Nobody, at the start of the year, would have ever guessed our current situation would look as drab as it does.  On top of all the pandemic chaos, Americans have persistent through a tough and interesting election year.  And although the election itself has been decided, we continue to be overrun with crappy political battles that do the exact opposite of putting people in the country at the forefront of decision making.  Alas, we do see hope on the horizon with vaccines beginning to be distributed and business/restaurants beginning to re-open.

For us pipe smokers, the social aspect of the hobby was put on complete hold as many pipe shows and tobacco shops were forced to close their doors or cancel for the year.  Although many organizations attempted to push dates back, the ongoing shutdowns, due to the pandemic, proved too much for pipe smokers to gather in organized fashions.  If we are able to learn anything from this entire situation, I hope that it’s to not take things for granted.  Our time with others, and simple gestures such as hugs and handshakes, should, and will, never be viewed the same.  If nothing else is produced from all the craziness, I hope each of you will, when safely permissible, take the time to visit with family and friends (and not just go through the motions).  We have quickly come to realize, we are not invincible, and life is not a haphazard dream.   

Similar to year’s post, my favorite tobacco list includes my top five tobaccos of the year and my two biggest disappointments.  As with any handmade product that requires personal inference, my thoughts and opinions are subjective and reflect what I enjoy or dislike as a pipe smoker.  You may or may not agree with the tobaccos on either list, and that’s ok.  You too are entitled to an opinion; however, you’re visiting this site to share in my own tobacco enjoyments and disappointments.  So, without further ado, I present my top five tobaccos of 2020 and my two biggest letdowns.  Keen observers of The Pipe Professor webpage will note some old comrades who continue to make the list, while eyeing a few newbies that have appeared. Enjoy!  

Tobacco #5 for 2020

Seattle Pipe Club Plum Pudding

Info & Overview

Brand: Seattle Pipe Club 

Category: Balkan

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Krumble Kake

Available Packaging: 2oz or 8oz tin

Price: $15.99 USD (2oz); $39.99 (8oz)

Tobacco Notes:  Although being listed as a Krumble Kake, this tobacco is presented in large, thickly sliced flakes that easily fall apart in your hands if not handled with care. On top of being very tasty, Seattle Pipe Club’s Plum Pudding provides the smoker with a creamy, spicy, fruity sweetness while offering a wonderful room note to be enjoyed by smokers and non-smoker alike. The pleasant smoky characteristic partners well with the Virginia tobaccos to showcase a fresh grassy, molasses sweetness.  Similar to other blends on this list, Plum Pudding continues to be a go-to tobacco for me, as it never fails to deliver an enjoyable smoking experience.  My only fear is that it will soon outprice itself.  I’ve noticed a steady price hike over the last few years (as with many other blends) and wonder when/if it will lose its “bang for the buck” promise.  Fingers crossed the price will level itself out and the enjoyment it provides will continue.    

Tobacco #4 for 2020

Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader Special Edition with Perique

Info & Overview

Brand: Samuel Gawith 

Category: English

Blend Components: Oriental/Turkish; Latakia; Perique; Virginia

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $13.75 (not currently in production)

Tobacco Notes:  Samuel Gawith produces a staple English tobacco blend.  If fact, Squadron Leader is a quintessential example of a classic English blend.  Add some perique, as in the Special Edition listed here, and you have pipe smoking bliss!  This tobacco shows tasting notes of fresh cut cedar wood chips, sun dried grasses, and a comforting burnt campfire essence.  The tobacco’s moisture content is spot on and delivers a wonderfully cool smoking experience.  The only downfall this tobacco has is its availability.  Being a resurrection, spearheaded by smokingpipes.com, the tobacco is typically offered once per year in limited quantities.  Unfortunately, this year, SPC did not offer the blend as in years past (probably just another thing this stupid virus caused us to lose).  Hopefully, 2021 will see another production run of this blend and if it does, I highly suggest you pick a tin or two up to try.      

Video review of Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader Special Edition with Perique can be found here.  Full written review can be found here.

Tobacco #3 for 2020

McClelland 221B Series Arcadia 

Info & Overview

Brand: McClelland Tobacco Company

Category: Oriental 

Blend Components: Oriental/Turkish; Virginia

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: N/A (no longer in production)

Tobacco Notes: Several years later, and we all continue to feel the loss of the famous McClelland Tobacco Company.  Anyone who knows me, knows I was very fond of McClelland tobaccos (before they announced their plans to close).  I had steadily built my cellar stock of their tobaccos prior to the insane online crisis that occurred in 2018-2019.  One of the tobaccos I had stored away pre-closure was the McClelland 221B Series Arcadia.  In fact, I managed to purchase several of these tins with, at the time, 8-10 years of age on them.  Now, those tins are 15-20 years old and showing the value of their contents.  McClelland Arcadia is an easy burning sweet and sour Oriental blend that shows notes of dark fruits, earthy woods, black coffee, and herbal spice.  Each bowl of this fantastic tobacco only reminds me that all good things eventually come to an end.  If you are holding back collectable tins, such as McClelland Arcadia, for that special occasion, go ahead and pop them now.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed, as this pandemic has shown, therefore, every day is a special day to smoke a special tobacco.   

Tobacco #2 for 2020

Boswell’s Northwoods

Info & Overview

Brand: Boswell’s Pipes & Tobaccos

Category: English

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Latakia; Virginia

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2oz tin or bulk per oz

Price: $13.95 USD (2oz tin); $5.35 (per oz bulk)

Tobacco Notes:  I must admit, although not holding the #1 spot on this year’s list, I purchased more Northwoods pipe tobacco than any other blend (per pound that is) during 2020.  There are some folks who find aging latakia pointless, however, I beg to differ.  Beyond delivering a balanced, silky, flavorful smoke when young/fresh, I find Northwoods to be even better with 3-5 years of age on it.  The enjoyment of the blend, when aged, creates an unapparelled smoothness that only enhances the creaminess from the latakia tobaccos.  In fact, the blend is so creamy and smooth, I would argue some type of vanilla topping has been added (it hasn’t according to the Boswell website).  If you have never tried this iconic pipe tobacco do yourself a favor and pick some up.  Never a disappointment!   

My video review of Boswell Northwoods can be found here.   

Tobacco #1 for 2020

Cornell & Diehl Professor

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia; Perique; Black Cavendish; Virginia 

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2 oz tin

Price: $10.75 USD

Tobacco Notes:  Those of you who follow my YouTube channel, or know me in any capacity, will not be surprised by this pick as my #1 tobacco of 2020. As I have stated in the past, this selection has nothing to do with the fact that my website is known as The Pipe Professor.  I give a full and detailed overview of how I came across this blend in my 2018 Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos for those who want to reminisce on the story.  This tobacco provides the smoker sweet and sour notes, woody earth, dried grass, spicy fruits, and a lingering musty room note that is suggestive of an old library or bookstore full of dusty tomes.  Maybe it’s my infinite love for books and libraries that make this tobacco’s smoking profile so enjoyable for me, or maybe it’s just complex enough to remain interesting?  Either way, Cornell & Diehl’s Professor has earned my #1 spot since 2018 and continues to be a superstar tobacco for me.  Similar to other tobaccos on this list, I encourage you to pick a tin up in your next order and give it a try.  Personal preference, smaller pipe bowls, sipped slowly, provide the most payoff when it comes to Cornell & Diehl’s Professor. 

Top Two Tobacco Disappointments of 2020

Cornell & Diehl Good Morning

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl 

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia; Oriental/Turkish; Virginia 

Flavorings: None 

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2oz tin

Price: $10.75 USD

Tasting Notes: Being a major fanboy of Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe (I have yet to try the blend since Peterson took over product as I have a fully stocked cellar of the Dunhill run), I was interested to learn that Cornell & Diehl had what they defined as an EMP match in their line-up (Good Morning).  From the start let me be point blank in saying, this is not an EMP match blend.  I did a full review of the blend on both my YouTube channel and The Pipe Professor webpage, but to sum it all up, this blend is about the most uninteresting bland tobacco I have ever smoked.  The beauty of EMP is the balance between the Virginia tobaccos and the English/Orientals.  This balance is non-existent in C&D Good Morning.  I found the blend to be very Virginia forward with the Latakia and Oriental tobaccos having minimal if any presence.  On top of this, the Virginias were very dry tasting, reminding me of burning dead leaves and cigarette smoke (which I am NOT a fan of).  The pipe had to be sipped slowly to avoid tongue bite and the tobacco burned very quickly.  In my opinion, this blend is nothing short of a hoax.  I will not be purchasing it in the future and would not recommend it to any pipe smoker I call a friend.      

 Ken Byron Ventures (KBV) Sakura

Info & Overview

Brand: Ken Byron Ventures (KBV)

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Black Cavendish; Oriental; Virginia

Flavorings: Cherry 

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 2oz pouch

Price: $15.00 USD

Tasting Notes: I was introduced to Ken Byron Ventures (KBV) tobaccos this year and must admit I’m on the fence about their blends.  There are several I have enjoyed such as Goblin Mixture and King’s Ransom, however, at $15.00 USD per 2oz, my expectation for quality is of the utmost level, as yours should be.  I have yet to have a KBV blend that met its $15 worth/value.  Yes, Goblin Mixture and King’s Ransom are good, but not $15 good.  Therefore, you can image when I smoked the Sakura aromatic blend, and it tasted like a mix between wet dog and cherry cough drops, I about lost it.  To be fair, I don’t smoke aromatics as much as I used to, but I still make time and space in my rotation to appease my aromatic desires.  With that being said, there is an art to creating a quality, enjoyable aromatic tobacco; Sakura does not adhere to those guidelines.  The tobacco not only tasted bad, the burn was hot and harsh with the topping leaving a lingering essence in the pipe after being smoked (my second bowl I tried in a cob and still disliked the tobacco).  On top of all this, I paid $15 just to have this monstrous disaster fill a good mason jar and ghost one of my briars.  Now, on the upper hand, KBV does have a lot of positives going for them such as their packaging, quickness of shipping, and shipping cost (free).  So, that does make up for a little of the $15 price tag, but I’d rather have a quality tobacco that gave me a good memorable smoking experience than unique packaging.  If you’ve ever considered purchasing from KBV I encourage you to support their small business (it’s the right thing to do during these difficult times); however, stay away from Sakura.  You can thank me later for the heads up.

Again, thank you for visiting The Pipe Professor website.  I hope you have enjoyed my Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2020 and please stay tuned for more reviews and exciting content in the upcoming year.  As always, I hope each of you have a blessed new year and until next time, cheers!

* All tobacco/tin pictures and blend information (excluding tobacco notes) were taken from tobaccoreviews.com, boswellpipes.com, and smokingpipes.com.  The writer of this post is not the owner of the above photos/blend information related to each tobacco and does not take credit for their creation.  

Pipe Tobacco Review

Cornell & Diehl Good Morning

In response to the famous Dunhill (now Peterson) Early Morning Pipe, Cornell & Diehl released their own version of EMP at the Chicagoland Pipe Show “several years back” (Tobacco Reviews, 2020).  Blended by Craig Tarler and Bill Runowski, the Good Morning blend is said to be a spot-on match to EMP.  Some of you may have seen my ‘Pop-the-Top’ review of this blend on The Pipe Professor YouTube Channel a few weeks back.  If not, feel free to watch the first impressions review of C&D Good Morning here.  After smoking through ¾ of the tin, I feel I now have enough experience with the blend to give it a fair and just assessment.  So, let’s go ahead and jump right in.      

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl 

Category: English

Blend Components: Virginia, Latakia, Orientals

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $10.41 USD

Tin Date: 05/2020

On to the review…  

From the Tin: Keen observers will note from my original impressions video review, that I had difficulty pinpointing specific descriptive attributes from the tobacco straight out of the tin.  My hope was that as the tobacco had time to air out in the tin, something more would develop; and to my surprise, it did.  After revisiting the blend over the course of a week, the tin note showed characteristics of heavy oak, burnt/charred wood, walnut, and dry hay.  The tobacco is said to be ribbon cut; however, I was able to find chucks of flake tobacco throughout the ribbons.  From the visual perspective, I would argue the blend is heavy on the Virginias when compared to its Latakia and Oriental counterparts.   

Tasting Notes: Being hopeful that the tasting department for the tobacco would experience a similar positive uptick that the tin note did, I smoked C&D Good Morning in four different briar pipes and one cob.  Unfortunately, the taste of the tobacco was overall dry and flat.  As I stated in my YouTube review, the blend is nothing like Dunhill’s EMP.  C&D Good Morning is very much a Virginia forward blend.  In fact, there were several times I questioned if Latakia or Orientals were even present in the blend at all.  The tobacco did show tasting notes of dry grasses, herbs, and smokey/burnt leaves with the overall strength of the blend being mild to medium.  The room note was just “so so” and similar to the taste, reminded me of cigarette smoke, which I’m not a huge fan of.  The tobacco did perform well, burning down to a nice grey/white ash.  Overall, I enjoyed the blend the most in my Missouri Meerschaum Mark Twain as the corncob pipe added a nice supporting sweetness to the tobacco’s tasting profile.   

Overall Impression: You may have guessed it, but this blend is not for me.  When honestly reflecting on everything, I did have preconceived high hopes for the blend as it was supposed to be a Dunhill EMP match. Seeing as EMP is one of my all-time favorite tobacco blends (and I have smoked a lot of it), I can confidently say the current run/production of C&D’s Good Morning, is not even close to an EMP match.  I’m not sure if something has changed with the blend over the years, but I will for sure not be purchasing any more in the future.   

Tobacco Score:

Rating Chart Score Breakdowns can be found here.

Pipe Tobacco Review

Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader with Perique

Samuel Gawith tobacco company is one of the oldest and most well know producers of pipe tobacco, cigars, and snuff.  Established in 1792, the company operates out of the United Kingdom.  The specific tobacco we are discussing for this review, Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader with Perique, was re-introduced to the pipe smoking market in 2015 with a special release of 2000 tins from Smokingpipes.com (SPC).  Since then, SPC has had two consecutive releases of this limited edition tobacco; 2018 where they produced and sold 3000 tins, and 2019 where 4500 tins were provided to the pipe smoking consumer base.  I am hopeful we will see a 2020 production with 5000+ tins, however, with the current worldwide pandemic, things may not turn out in our favor.  Only time will tell…  

Info & Overview

Brand: Samuel Gawith

Category: English

Blend Components: Virginia, Latakia, Orientals, Perique

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $13.75 USD

On to the review…

From the Tin: Interesting combination in the tin.  The tobacco shows lots of light and dark brown leaves.  The dark black latakia and perique leaf is certainly viable and present.  The tin note is heavy latakia with the synonymous campfire/burn wood scent.  There is also a naturally sweet, similar to honeysuckle, undertone in the tobacco tin smell.   

Tasting Notes: I still recall the first time I tried this tobacco.  Just to be straightforward, from the first bowl, I was hooked.  This is a wonderfully made tobacco that I find extremely tasteful and satisfying.  From the tin, the tobacco yields a good moisture level, however, as I enjoy smoking my blends a little on the drier side, I allowed the tobacco to sit out for 20-30 minutes prior to loading the pipe and smoking.  Consistently, this tobacco offers tastes of wood cedar chips, dry grasses/hay, campfire, and burnt wood notes.  There were times I noted a spicey pepper essence, however, this typically dissipated quickly after the start of the bowl.  The tobacco burns down to a fine white ash leaving little dottle in the bottom of the pipe.  The smoke is a cool, thick, and white with a room note that is what you would expect from a heavy latakia or oriental blend.  Not spouse approved.  Overall body of the smoke I would rate as medium/full while the strength of the tobacco is full.   

Overall Impression: As I stated in the opening, this tobacco is exceptional.  My only issue regarding the blend has to do with the production and availability, not the tobacco itself.  As a limited/special run, this blend is very hard to acquire and not in regular supply.  It could, however, be argued that most of the Samuel Gawith blends are currently difficult to purchase, making this tobacco just a normal for us in the States.  If you are ever provided the opportunity to purchase Samuel Gawith’s Squadron Leader with Perique, I highly recommend you do so.  Keep an eye open on the Smokingpipes.com website for their “hopeful” annual release of this blend as you will be highly rewarded for your wait.  

Tobacco Score:

Interested in seeing the video review for this blend? Visit The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/XJz61yRApko for video review of this tobacco.

Be well,

April/May Pipefuls Community Review

Cornell & Diehl Smokingpipes 20th Anniversary XX Flake

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*The above photo was taken from the smokingpipes.com website. The author of this post is not the owner of the above photo.

For those readers who also listen to the Pipefuls podcast, I recently made a request for anyone wishing to review Cornell & Diehl’s Smokingpipes 20th Anniversary Blend XX Flake to post their review under the comments on The Pipe Professor webpage.  This is the post that was referenced during the podcast and available for anyone wishing to contribute to the community review of SPC 20th Anniversary XX Flake (regular not the dark flake).

Below you will find the information and blend details.  If you would like to participate, please write your review of this month’s blend below in the comments of this post.  As the Pipefuls podcast works to build up community participation, I will be selecting reviews posted below to be read aloud on the Pipefuls podcast Episode 6 premiering May 10, 2020.

If you would like to participate in the Pipefuls community review, please write your thoughts, experiences, like/dislike, or other information you have noted about the SPC 20th Anniversary XX Flake below in the comments.  Anyone wishing to participate has from April 12th through May 8th to post comments or reviews about the blend.

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: Virginia

Blend Components: Perique, Oriental, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 2 oz tin

Price: $12.00 USD

Link to Pipefuls Episode 4 on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pipefuls-episode-4-interview-with-chad-yarbrough/id1501977611?i=1000471231456

As always, thank you for visiting the website and supporting the Pipefuls podcast and YouTube videocast.  I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these trying times.  As always, be well and cheers!

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