Pipe Tobacco Review

Presbyterian Mixture

Presbyterian Mixture Picture

Recently, a batch of Presbyterian Mixture hit the online markets after a long-standing drought.  Similar to other hard-to-find tobaccos, within a matter of days, the availability of this tobacco was no more.  We are once again forced to stare at the dreaded Out of Stockmessage that fills our spirts with hope that one day, we may again have the opportunity to aggressively purchase more tins of this ‘rare’ tobacco than we will ever need or consume.

In all honesty, I feel I had ample time to purchase more tins of Presbyterian Mixture, however, wanted to make sure I enjoyed it enough before doing so (I know…logic actually prevailed, shocking isn’t it).  Thus, a deep dive into the farthest corners of my tobacco cellar rewarded my daring excursion with a tin of Presbyterian Mixture from 2016.  With a few years of age, my interests were even further piqued and now it was time to see what all the hustle was about.

Info & Overview

Brand: Planta

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon/Course

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $10.00 USD

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: Initial nose on the tin proved the blend to contain Latakia.  Smokey campfire accompanied by natural dark fruit and woodsy walnut notes dominated the smell from the tin.  The tobacco was almost spot on in the moisture department only requiring 10 minutes of air time to dry.  Overall, the tobacco mixture is medium dark with light Virginia flakes interspersed throughout.

Tasting Notes: Unless you are a pipe and tobacco enthusiast that’s been living under some rock the past 10 years, you will note the great debate of whether or not the blend actually contains any Perique, even though it is not listed in the blend components.  After smoking several bowls of Presbyterian Mixture, I would have a hard time defending the argument that it doesn’t contain Perique.  In fact, I would almost certainly bet there is a reasonable amount of Perique in this blend.  Throughout each smoking experience I was greeted by a hefty dose of spice and pepper.  Certainly, a characteristic of Perique.  In most cases when the spicy pepper appeared it was not balanced well with the other components/tastes which was somewhat shocking to me as the tin had already accumulated 2 years of age.  I noted tastes of burnt toast, nutmeg, and dry wood while smoking and the room note was remanence of an antique sweet perfumed fragrance.  The tobacco burned well and was medium bodied throughout.  Strength of the tobacco was also a straight forward medium proving to not be overpowering in the nicotine department.  The tobacco burned down to a nice white ash each time leaving little to no dottle remaining in the bowl.

Overall Impression: It may be hard to believe based upon the tasting notes above, however, Presbyterian Mixture was just ‘ok’ in my opinion.  I experienced nothing that would cause me to speak negatively of this tobacco, but on the flip side, the ‘wow’ factor was also far from present.  I am sure there are lots of pipe smokers who enjoy this medium English blend, but for me, it’s nothing to jump up and down about. In fact, based upon my smoking experience with this cellared tin, I chose not to purchase any additional tins while still available.  If you enjoy an exclusive, medium Latakia forward smoke, pick a few tins up next time it becomes available.  For me, I think I will pass on the Presbyterian.

Tobacco Score:

3 Pipes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

Dunhill Nightcap

Dunhill Nightcap Pic

In February of this year, I reviewed Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture and discussed the unfortunate circumstance of Dunhill pipe tobacco coming to an end.  Currently, Dunhill blends are available at several online and B&M retailers, however, nobody truly knows how long the current stock will last.  I have heard opposing rumors from both ends of the spectrum regarding Dunhill pipe tobaccos.  *WARNING RUMOR ALERT*  Rumor #1, once the online and local B&M retailers run out of stock, it will not be replaced.  Rumor #2, there are warehouses full of Dunhill tobaccos that will last for at least another year, if not more.

No matter what the case may be, I think we all learned our lesson with McClelland.  If you like it, stock up!  I hope to smoke and review my way through most of the Dunhill portfolio before the end of the year, thus, giving you, the reader, a full analysis of the various blends before you decide to buy and/or stock-up for your own enjoyment.

Info & Overview

Brand: Dunhill

Category: English

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

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $12.45 USD

Tin Date: October 2017

On to the review…

From the Tin: The tobacco is beautifully packed and is comprised of a mix between dark latakia tobacco, dark chestnut Orientals, and medium brown Virginias.  Tin smell is an overwhelming campfire smokiness with minor hints of a dark fruit sweetness.  Moister level is almost perfect straight out of the tin, requiring minimal, if any, drying time.

Tasting Notes: Dunhill nightcap is a completely full-body, full-flavor smoking experience…period. The tobacco burns great and provides a thick white smoke whose aromatic characteristic would be classified by most non-smokers as offensive.  Tastes included essences of damp forest floor, smoked meats, burnt/charred wood, and rich black coffee.  The vitamin N was certainly noticeable which required me to slow my smoking cadence and enjoy the bold profile this tobacco possessed.  Even when I did test the waters by smoking the blend hot and fast, it never gave me tongue bite or dried my palate.

Overall Impression: First and foremost, I would not recommend this tobacco to a novice pipe smoker, even if they are transitioning from other tobacco usage methods.  Further, I would recommend smoking Dunhill Nightcap on a full stomach, as the nicotine level is most evident.  This tobacco is certainly something special and should be treated accordingly. I very much enjoyed smoking through several bowls of this blend and highly recommend it to pipe smokers who love a full-bodied English blend.  Although Latakia is said to mellow from aging, I am certain this blend will only get better with time.  You can bet I will be stocking my cellar with Dunhill Nightcap for enjoyment in the very near future.

Tobacco Score:

5 Pipes

My parting thoughts on this blend are nothing but positive.  Without a doubt, Dunhill pipe tobaccos are something special (at least to me) and Dunhill Nightcap upholds my expectations for providing a most enjoyable smoking experience.  If you are a lover of latakia or strong, full-bodied tobaccos, this blend is a must try. Further, if you are one of the many tobacco coinsurers that are transitioning from cigars to pipe tobacco, this blend may be for you.  Pick a tin or two up and enjoy the gifts we have been given before it is gone.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Cornell & Diehl Star of the East Flake

Star of the East Flake

C&D Star of the East Flake Pic

Before coming across Kyle Weiss’s review of this blend on the Pipes Magazine Radio Show webpage, I had never heard of this tobacco.  After reading his review, my interest was certainly piqued, but what caught my attention more than anything was his reference to Star of the East Flake as having the potential to be a very close substitute for Esoterica’s Penzance.  Now, being the Penzance junky I am, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to give this blend a try.  After all, if it even came close to the coveted, but hard to obtain Penzance, then maybe the ludicrous lucky hunt for my Esoterica favorite would no longer have to exist.  So, is it truly a Penzance replica?  Let’s find out.

Info & Overview

Brand: Cornell & Diehl

Category: English

Blend Components: Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 2oz tin (or) 8oz tin

Price: $9.77 USD (or) $29.33

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: This tobacco has a very intriguing tin note that will lure any lover of latakia into its memorizing grasp. The smell from the tin offers a burnt, smoky, campfire essence with deep, dark fruits, and rich tobacco notes. The presentation of long dark broken flake cuts is very appealing.  The tobacco is easily rubbed out or brittle enough to be folded and stuffed (larger bowl pipes only).  The tobacco’s moister level is a tad more than I like it, however, minimal drying time is required in order to enjoy this blend.

Tasting Notes: Boom!  Right from the start the aroma and taste let you know latakia is present.  However, let me be clear.  This is one excellent tasting tobacco.  Thick, creamy white smoke that lend itself to a figgy, natural sweet fruit taste.  There was also a minor floral, earth note that appeared halfway through the smoking experience.  The smoke is cool and dry offering a room note that is reminisce of an antique rustic book store.  The strength of the tobacco is medium while the body medium-full.  The tobacco burns extremely well leaving a nice white ash. One of the most enjoyable characteristics this tobacco offered me was the lasting aftertaste experienced long after the bowl was finished.  The taste lingers beyond the completion of smoking, continuing to provide enjoyment throughout the day.  A true sign of a quality tobacco.

Overall Impression: Is this tobacco a replacement for Penzance?  In my opinion, no.  It very well may be better than Penzance!  Don’t get me wrong, Esoterica Penzance is an excellent tobacco, however, one must take into consideration its limited availability and extreme cost and ask themselves, “Is this really worth it?”  With excellent blends such as Star of the East Flake on the market, that by the way, is a 1/3 of the price and regularly available, pipe smokers would be crazy not to give this one a go.  If you enjoy a rich, bold, complex smoking experience, Star of the East Flake is a must try.  This tobacco is very much a contender for my 2018 Top 5 list, and who knows, maybe the #1 tobacco of the year.

Tobacco Score:

5 Pipes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture

Dunhill Elizabethan Mixture Pic

Are we seeing the beginning of the end?  Will pipe smokers of the future ever get to experience the Dunhill blends of today?  Do you need to go overboard and stock up on Dunhill blends before they are all gone?  I can only answer each of these questions with…maybe.

In late 2016, the pipe smoking world was put into panic at the announcement that Dunhill would be discontinuing production on its pipe tobacco blends.  At the time, the pipe community was left in limbo, as details pertaining to the discontinuation were minimal at best.  Well, we have finally been given some clarification as to the future of Dunhill pipe tobaccos.

Two weeks ago, the Briar Report (http://www.briarreport.com) reached out to British American Tobacco (BAT) to inquire about the status of Dunhill pipe tobacco production.  The following is the response they received from BAT which can be found on their website:

“Thank you for getting in touch about this. At the end of 2016 we announced that we would be ceasing supply of Dunhill cigars and pipe tobacco by the end of 2017. Like many companies, we continually review and refine our global strategy to ensure the sustainability of our business for the future. These products make up a very small part of our overall business – the rest of the Dunhill portfolio is not affected by this decision. While we appreciate that this may be disappointing news for some consumers and industry partners, these decisions help us to remain focused on, and investing in, the right parts of our business to ensure our longevity and profitability for the future. When asked to confirm if the actual production of Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos and Dunhill Cigars has already ended they reaffirmed that they are no longer in production.”

Like many pipe smokers, I had already been preparing for the worst by stocking my cellar ever so gradually with my favorite Dunhill blends.  Therefore, when the end was announced, I wouldn’t be scrambling to find what remains of these buried treasures.  Just to be transparent, the tobacco sampled for this review was from 2013 and reflects a semi-aged tobacco, not a fresh tin.

Info & Overview

Brand: Dunhill

Category: VaPer (Virginia Perique)

Blend Components: Virginia, Perique

Flavorings: None

Cut Type: Ribbon

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $9.87 USD

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: This is your typical Dunhill ribbon cut that is always easy to prep and pack.  Visually, the cut shows several shades of light and dark brown Virginia tobaccos with the occasional black leaf making an appearance.  The smell from the tin provides a rich sweet hay accompanied by plumy, fig, raisin notes.  The tobacco has a perfect moisture content needing no dry time, however, you will want to jar this one up upon opening, as it will dry out quickly if left unattended.

Tasting Notes: Dunhill Elizabethan is one of the simplest tobaccos I have ever smoked.  It lights easily, behaves throughout needing very few relights, and only improves as you progress through the smoking experience.  The initial tastes were remanence of a fresh batch of yeasty dough.  Although perique is associated with a spicy smoke, I did not find that to be the case with this blend.  Yes, there was an initial faint peppery, spice, however, it dissipated quickly not overpowering other flavors.  Halfway through the bowl, a creamy, almost vanilla, note appeared continuing in intensity until the end of the bowl.  Other tastes I noted throughout the smoking experience were a dark fruit character and a bright grassy likeness.  I found the room note to be extremely pleasant and welcoming, reminding me of the lingering scent one may note just before entering their favorite B&M.  Tobacco burned down to a solid white ash each smoke leaving little to no dottle in the bottom of the bowl.

Overall Impression: In my opinion, there are tobacco blends that come along during one’s smoking journey that make such an impression they are placed on a higher pedestal than other tobaccos.  Dunhill Elizabethan mixture is one of those blends.  This tobacco is refined, delicate, and certainly something ever pipe smoker should have the chance to experience.  If you haven’t already purchased this blend, please do yourself a favor and buy some before it’s gone.  I promise you will not be sorry you did.

Tobacco Score:

5 Pipes

To leave you with some parting thoughts, we know for a fact that the Dunhill pipe tobacco blends, as they are currently produced, are running on borrowed time.  If you enjoy, or think you may enjoy, any of these blends in the future, now is the time to stock up.  No, you don’t have to go haywire about purchasing, however, once these staple blends are gone, they are gone.  Although I have well stocked my favorite blends, I am still tempted to purchase a few of the mixtures I am not as familiar with.  Why you may ask?  Because I don’t’ want to look back in 15-20 years and say, “I wish I had.”  Until next time, be blessed and cheers.

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

L.J. Peretti Thanksgiving Day

IMG_4046

Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the U.S. who are celebrating with family, friends, and good food.  Although easily overshadowed by both Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving has always been one of my personal favorites when it comes to holidays.

Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the L.J. Peretti Company has a well-earned reputation in the pipe tobacco world.  With an extensive portfolio of tobacco blends ranging from Burleys and Latakia to Black Cavendish and Virginias, Peretti tobaccos have something to offer every pipe smoker.  To help celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holiday, the L.J. Peretti Company has created its Thanksgiving Day blend using a time-honored formula and unique press method to marry the tobaccos for a special smoking experience.  Being both seasonal and limited in availability, the Thanksgiving Day blend has become a staple for many pipe smokers during the Thanksgiving season. For more information on the L.J. Peretti Company and their tobacco offerings visit their website at: http://www.ljperetti.com

Info & Overview

Brand: L.J. Peretti

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Burley, Virginia

Flavorings: Fruit, Citrus, Rum

Cut Type: Krumble Kake

Available Packaging: 4 oz. cake

Price: $20.00 USD

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: When looking for visual examples of tobacco blending masterpieces, the L.J. Peretti Thanksgiving Day cake is certainly nothing short of perfection.  This visually appealing cake has wonderful aromas of dried fruits, alcohol, hay, straw, and herbs.  The cake is easily torn apart for ease of rubbing out and packing.  The moister level of the tobacco is spot on and requires little to no drying time before packing and smoking.

Tasting Notes:  Over the past week and a half I have smoked several bowls of the 2017 Thanksgiving Day blend.  The best way to summarize the experience, no matter what type of pipe used (i.e., briar, cob, meerschaum) is unique.  The primary aroma of the blend is a mix of a musty perfume anise mixed with an herbal/floral spice.  Tastes consists of sweet alcohol, fruits, nuts, cloves, and mild cocoa.  The blend burns well and is mild to medium in both body and strength.

Overall Impression:  In all honesty, I have mixed emotions with this blend.  Although I have had several enjoyable bowls, mostly in cobs, each time I smoke this blend in one of my briar pipes it’s just ok.  Going back to my original description above, this blend is best summarized as unique.  I’m glad I get to enjoy it during this special time of year, but it is not a blend I will smoke on a regular or consistent basis.  In fact, I will probably have plenty left for Thanksgiving 2018.  No doubt, the presentation and history of this blend is worth giving it a try, but the end result was less than desirable for my own palate.  Maybe I will revisit the 2017 Thanksgiving Day blend next Thanksgiving.  Who knows how a year in a jar will affect this tobacco?  For only time will tell.

Tobacco Score:

3 Pipes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Pipe Tobacco Review

John Aylesbury Dragon Flake

Dragon Flake Picture

Before seeing this blend pop-up on a smokingpipes.com weekly update, I was not familiar with Dragon Flake or the John Aylesbury company.  As I do enjoy a quality aromatic tobacco, the description offered on the Dragon Flake certainly peaked my interest.  From the tobacco reviews website:

“An excellent aromatic flake, consisting of dark and golden Virginias, double-fermented Black Cavendish and a touch of Burley, flavored with the sweetish-sweet notes of maple syrup, caramel, and vanilla.  A gentle smoke flavor with cooling properties.” 

I’m not sure about those “sweetish-sweet notes,” however, everything else sounds quite delightful and it comes in flake form…interesting.  Let’s take a look at the blend breakdown.

Info & Overview

Brand: John Aylesbury

Category: Aromatic

Blend Components: Virginia, Black Cavendish, Burley

Flavorings: Vanilla, Carmel, Maple Syrup

Cut Type: Flake

Available Packaging: 50g tin

Price: $13.52 USD

 

On to the review…

 

From the Tin: Absolutely top-notch presentation from the tin.  Beautiful, thin medium brown flakes with gorgeous light Virginia and Black Cavendish sprinkled throughout.  The aroma from the tin is nothing short of amazing.  Sweet fruits, plums, figs, vanilla, light cocoa, hints of cinnamon spice, and a distant light hay note are all present.  Flakes are a bit moist and do require about 25-30 minutes of dry time.  Once ready, flakes are easily rubbed out, or in my case, folded and stuffed.

Tasting Notes: Let me start by saying this tobacco is truly a treat.  The tobacco burned well delivering a memorizing room note of sweet fruits and vanilla cream, not to mention tasted great.  Flavors noted during the initial opening of the bowl mimicked that of the room note, sweet fruits and vanilla.  Halfway through the bowl, more complex chocolate and wood tastes tingled the palate and added an interesting layer to the profile.  Nicotine level is low and body is mild to medium.  Although this is not a formal ‘Christmas Blend’ it will certainly become one I reach for during the holiday season as it contains a nice cozy/warming characteristic.

Overall Impression: I must be honest in saying Dragon Flake exceeded my expectations.  I approached this tobacco with hesitation as I wasn’t sure an aromatic flake would be able to prove itself worthy.  Time to own up and eat some crow.  This is an outstanding tobacco that I will most certainly include in my rotation going forward.  After multiple bowls of Dragon Flake, I am still entranced by its amazing aroma and tastes.  I do not think this is a tobacco that will cellar well, however, when it’s this good, there’s no need to put it away.  Grab a tin for yourself and enjoy!

Tobacco Score:

4 Pipes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature